EMPLOYMENT BASED GREEN CARD
“I have a company and I want to sponsor John for his green card.”
This is a call that comes every day. Unfortunately, getting a green card through employment is not quite that simple!
Every fiscal year, US immigration law makes approximately 140,000 visas available to qualified employment based immigrants. The 140,000 visas are distributed across five employment categories:
- EB1: Priority workers, including those who possess extraordinary ability
- EB2: Professionals holding advanced degrees and persons of exceptional ability
- EB3: Skilled workers, professionals, and unskilled workers
- EB4: Special immigrant categories including certain broadcasters, employees and former employees of the U.S. government abroad, certain religious workers and others
- EB5: Immigrant investors
Employment Based First Preference: Priority Workers
- EB-1 visas are allocated 28.6% of the annual worldwide limit of employment based immigrant visas. Workers in this category do not need to undergo a labor certification. This category has 3 sub-groups:
- Persons with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, who can demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim and recognition in their fields of expertise. No petitioner is required so long as they are entering the U.S. to continue work in the fields in which they have extraordinary ability.
- Outstanding professors and researchers with at least three (3) years experience in teaching or research, who are recognized internationally and who are coming to the U.S. to pursue tenure, tenure track teaching, or a comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education.
- Multinational managers or executives who have been employed for at least one of the three preceding years by the overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of the U.S. employer in a managerial or executive capacity and who seeks to come to the US to work in a managerial or executive capacity.
Employment Based Second Preference (EB2): Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability
2nd Preference applicants generally require an approved labor certification filed by a US employer. Some individuals may be eligible for an exemption of this requirement, known as a National Interest Waiver, if they can show that it would be in the national interest. This category accounts for 28.6% of the annual worldwide quota.
There are two subgroups within this visa category:
- Professionals holding an advanced degree (beyond a baccalaureate degree), or a baccalaureate degree and a minimum of five years of progressive work experience; or
- Persons with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.
Employment Based Third Preference (EB3): Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers (aka Other Workers)
The 3rd Preference requires an approved labor certification filed by a US Employer. This category accounts for 28.6% percent of the yearly worldwide limit of employment-based immigrant visas. Additionally, any unused visas from the first 2 Employment Based Preferences are also rolled into this category.
There are three subgroups within this category:
- Skilled workers: individuals whose jobs require a minimum of 2 years training or work experience;
- Professionals whose jobs require at least a baccalaureate degree from a U.S. university or college or its foreign equivalent degree.
- Unskilled workers: positions that require less than two years training or experience
In order to be certified by the Department of Labor, the employer must establish that the hiring of the foreign nationals will not deprive local workers of jobs and will not depress wages and/or working conditions for US workers. After certification by the Department of Labor, the employer may file an immigrant petition on behalf of the worker.
Employment Based Fourth Preference (EB4): Certain Special Immigrants
While an approved labor certification is not necessary, with certain exceptions, a 4th preference worker must be the beneficiary of an approved Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, Form I-360. The 4th Preference category receives 7.1% percent of the employment-based immigrant visas annually.
The 4th preference contains several sub-groups:
- Broadcasters in the U.S. employed by the International Broadcasting Bureau of the Broadcasting Board of Governors or a grantee of such organization
- Ministers of Religion
- Certain Employees or Former Employees of the U.S. Government Abroad
- Certain Former Employees of the Panama Canal Company or Canal Zone Government
- Certain Former Employees of the U.S. Government in the Panama Canal Zone
- Certain Former Employees of the Panama Canal Company or Canal Zone Government on April 1st, 1979
- Iraqi and Afghan interpreters/translators who have worked directly with the United States armed forces or under Chief of Mission authority as a translator/interpreter for a period of at least 12 months;
- Iraqi and Afghan nationals who have provided faithful and valuable service while employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq for not less than one year on or after March 20th, 2003 and prior to September 30, 2013, or in Afghanistan for not less than one year after October 7th, 2001, and have experienced an ongoing serious threat as a consequence of that employment.
- Certain Foreign Medical Graduates (Adjustments Only)
- Certain Retired International Organization Employees
- Certain Unmarried Sons and Daughters of International Organization Employees
- Certain Surviving Spouses of deceased International Organization Employees
- Special Immigrant Juveniles
- Persons Recruited Outside of the United States Who Have Served or are Enlisted to Serve in the U.S. Armed Forces
- Certain retired NATO-6 civilians
- Certain Unmarried Sons and Daughters of NATO-6 civilians
- Certain Surviving Spouses of deceased NATO-6 civilian employees
- Persons who are beneficiaries of petitions or labor certification applications filed prior to September 11th, 2001, if the petition or application was rendered void due to a terrorist act on September 11th, 2001
- Certain Religious Workers who have been a member for at least 2 years of the religious denomination having a bona fide nonprofit, religious organization in the United States for which you are coming to work; and Have been continuously carrying out the religious vocation or occupation that you intend to carry out in the United States for the last 2 years.
Employment Based Fifth Preference (EB5): Immigrant Investors/Entrepeneurs aka the Million Dollar Greencard
This category accounts for 7.1% of the annual worldwide employment visas.
Click Here to see where your visa category is for the most recent month!