Employment Based Green Cards

First Preference EB-1

Employment based first preference immigrant visa is designed for aliens of extraordinary abilities (EB-1A), outstanding professors or researchers (EB-1B) or multinational executives or managers (EB-1C). This type of immigrant visa does not require a Labor Certification (PERM) or a job offer from a U.S. employer. Applicants for EB-1 category may file a petition on their own behalf.
The first preference category is allotted 40,000 annual immigrant visas. Unlike some other categories, the visa numbers in this classification are almost always current. It means that the alien does not have to wait for a visa number to become available in order to apply for adjustment of status and receive a green card in the U.S.



• EB-1A visas are available to aliens who are at the very top of their area of expertise. Such areas may include sciences, arts, education, business or athletics and the extraordinary ability must be demonstrated through sustained national or international acclaim. The alien’s acclaim can be shown by a receipt of a major internationally recognized award, similar to a Nobel Prize or Oscars. Alternatively, the alien can demonstrate his/her extraordinary ability by submitted evidence supporting three of the following ten requirements:

1. Receipt of any lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the area of expertise.
2. Membership in associations that require outstanding achievements of their members as judged by recognized national or international experts in their fields.
3. Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about you which relates to your field.
4. Participation on a panel or individually as a judge of the work of others in the same or in an allied area of expertise.
5. Original significant scientific, scholarly or business contributions.
6. Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major sources.
7. Displays of your art at large exhibitions or showcases?
8. A leading or critical role in an organization with a distinguished reputation.
9. A high salary or other compensation for your services in comparison to others in your area of expertise.
10. Commercial successes in the performing arts.
• The alien must submit sufficient documentation to show that he/she intends to come to the United States to continue working in the chosen field.


EB-1B visas are available to professors or researchers who are internationally recognized as “outstanding” in a specific scientific or scholarly field. Unlike EB-1A visas, this category requires a U.S. employer to offer a permanent employment position to the alien and file a petition with the USCIS.

• You must demonstrate international recognition of your outstanding ability in your area of expertise. Such evidence must include at least two of the following:
1. Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement.
2. Membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement.
3. Published material in professional publications written by others about your work in your area of expertise.
4. Participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field.
5. Original scientific or scholarly research contributions.
6. Authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in your area of expertise.

• You must have at least three years of research or teaching experience which is supported by letters of employers describing your duties and years of experience.

• You must have a permanent job offer for a research or a tenured or tenure-track teaching position at a U.S. university or academic institution. In certain circumstances a job offer from a private company is appropriate.


Multinational companies may utilize EB-1C visa category to transfer their top level managers or executives from their offices abroad to their U.S. office on a permanent basis. This visa category is similar to L-1 transfer, except L-1 visa transfers are temporary.

• Your petitioning U.S. employer must have been doing business for at least a year as an affiliate, subsidiary or branch of your foreign employer.

• You must have been employed by the foreign company for at least one year within the three years preceding the filing of the petition on your behalf and must intend to continue working for the same company in the U.S.

• Your employment must be in a managerial or executive capacity.


Second Preference EB-2

Second preference EB-2 category is available to aliens who are employed in positions requiring an advanced degree or possess exceptional ability in science, arts or business. Unlike the first preference category, EB-2 visa requires a job offer from a U.S. employer and a Labor Certification issued by the Department of Labor. Labor Certification process ensures that foreign professionals do not displace qualified U.S. workers. The U.S. employer must demonstrate that there is a legitimate employment position open and available to qualified U.S. workers. Labor
Certification is not allowed for self-employment. If the alien qualifies under National Interest Waiver, he/she may bypass a job offer and Labor certification requirement and self-petition.


EB-2 Advanced Degree Professional

• You must possess an advanced degree (U.S. Master’s degree or its equivalent) in your profession or a Bachelor’s degree and at least five years of progressively responsible experience in your field.

• Your advanced degree must be related to your professional field in which you will be working in the U.S.
EB-2 Exceptional Ability

• You must possess exceptional ability in science, arts or business. In order to show exceptional ability you should be able to qualify under at least three of these six requirements:

1. A degree or diploma from an academic institution relating to the field of exceptional ability.
2. At least ten years of full-time experience in your field.
3. A license or certification to practice in your profession or occupation.
4. A high salary or other compensation for your services, which demonstrates your exceptional ability.
5. Membership in professional associations.
6. Recognition for achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field.

• You must show that you will substantially benefit U.S. economy, U.S. cultural interests, U.S. educational interests, or U.S. welfare. This showing can be made by documenting your past achievements and explaining how they will translate into future achievements benefitting the United States.

National Interest Waiver

If the alien of exceptional ability does not have a U.S. job offer, he/she may request for a waiver of the job offer requirement and the Labor Certification requirement by showing that such waiver is in the “national interest” of the United States. There is a three-prong test for evaluating National Interest Waiver requests.


• You must be planning to work in the U.S. in the field of “substantial intrinsic merit.”

• You must establish that the benefit from your work is national in scope and is not just limited to the local geographical area of your employment.

• You must show that the waiver of the labor certification requirements will be in the United States national interest. Generally, the labor certification process ensures that the working conditions and salaries of the U.S. workers employed in the same professional field are not adversely affected. In evaluating your request for a national interest waiver the USCIS will have to be persuaded that the merit of your work is so high that US national interest in protecting U.S. labor conditions will be outweighed by the benefits you offer. In short, you must show that your qualifications or professional degree of influence is distinguishable from your colleagues.


Third Preference EB-3

Third preference EB-3 immigrant visas are available to skilled workers, professionals and unskilled (other) workers. Third preference petition must generally be accompanied by a Labor Certification (PERM) approved by the Department of Labor. Even though the requirements for third preference category are less stringent than EB-1 and EB-2, there is a significant backlog for third preference visas. See Department of State Visa Bulletin.


Skilled Workers

• You must have at least two years of job experience or training.

• There are no qualifying workers available for the job you will be performing in the U.S.

• Your employer must have a permanent job offer for you and an approved labor certification.


• You must have a U.S. Bachelor’s degree or equivalent which is a requirement for your profession. The Bachelor’s degree may not be substituted with education and experience.

• There are no qualifying workers available for the job you will be performing in the U.S.

• Your employer must have a permanent job offer for you and an approved labor certification.

Unskilled (Other) Workers

• You must be able to perform unskilled labor that requires less than two years of training or experience.

• Unskilled labor must not be temporary or seasonal in nature.

• There are no qualifying workers available for the job you will be performing in the U.S.

• Your employer must have a permanent job offer for you and an approved labor certification.


Fourth Preference EB-4

Fourth preference category is available for special immigrants including the following:

• Religious Workers

• Broadcasters

• Iraqi/Afghan Translators

• Iraqis Who Have Assisted the United States

• International Organization Employees

• Physicians

• Armed Forces Members

• Panama Canal Zone Employees

• Retired NATO-6 employees

• Spouses and Children of Deceased NATO-6 employees

Employment based forth preference applicants have to have an employer who will file a petition for them. Certain other types of applicants may self-petition.


Fifth Preference EB-5

EB-5 visa was created for immigrant investors who invest one million dollars in a new commercial enterprise that employs ten of more U.S. citizen or legal immigrant workers. If the investment is in a rural area or an area of high unemployment, an investment of $500,000 is required. EB-5 investors can obtain legal permanent residency on a conditional basis for two years. After two years the conditions can be removed.


• The investment must be made in a new commercial enterprise.

• The business activity of the enterprise must be ongoing and for-profit.

• The enterprise must create or preserve at least 10 full time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years of the immigrant being admitted to the United States under this visa category.

• The minimum qualifying investment in the U.S. is 1,000,000 dollars or 500,000 dollars in a high unemployment or rural area.

• The capital cannot be procured through criminal means and the source of funds must be properly documented.