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Employment-Based Immigration (EB - visa)
Each year approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are available for foreign nationals seeking to immigrate to the United States based on their job skills. As there are inevitably more foreign nationals seeking permanent residence than immigrant visas available, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) utilizes a system to allocate visas according to preference categories and countries of birth.
Employment immigration visas are divided into five preference categories:
First Preference (EB-1) Priority Worker
- Persons who have demonstrated extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics may obtain a US Green Card if they have achieved national or international reputation in their area of expertise;
- Outstanding professors and researchers with at least 3 years of experience in teaching or research in the academic area;
- Multinational executives and managers who have been employed for at least 1 year by an affiliate of a US firm abroad.
Applicants for this employment based Green Card must provide evidence of their credentials, achievements and status as a leader in their field.
Second Preference (EB-2) Advanced Degree Holder / Exceptional Ability
- Persons holding advanced degrees or their equivalent if they have a job offer from an employer in the US;
- Persons who have demonstrated exceptional ability in either the sciences, arts or business that will substantially benefit the US, and whose services are sought by an employer in the US, can also come to the United States to live and work permanently.
Applicants for this employment based Green Card must provide evidence of their credentials or demonstrate a degree of expertise in their field that is outstanding rather than ordinary.
Third Preference (EB-3) Profecional / Skilled Worker / Unskilled Worker
- Professionals who hold at least a Bachelor's degree and are members of designated professions can obtain a US Green Card. These applicants can be architects, engineers, lawyers, physicians, surgeons, teachers and many other professional occupations;
- Skilled workers have at least two years training or work experience in the specific field of projected employment;
- Unskilled workers can have less than two years training or work experience in the specific field of projected employment.
All applicants must have a job offer from an employer in the United States.
Fourth Preference (EB-4) Special Immigrant
- Foreign ministers of religion or persons in a professional capacity in a religious vocation can apply to obtain a US Green Card through their employment in the US. Applicants must meet the requirements to be a minister or religious professional with at least two years of experience and must have been a member of their religious denomination for at least two years;
- Employees, or honorably retired former employees, of the United States Government abroad;
- Persons who have previously entered the United States and are or have been Panama Canal or International Organization Employees;
- Persons who have served honorably on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States;
- Persons who seek to enter the United States to work as a broadcaster in the United States for the International Broadcasting Bureau of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
Fifth Preference (EB-5) Employment Creation
Foreign nationals who make a substantial investment in a new commercial venture can come to the United States to live and work in conditional resident status, which can lead to permanent residence. The amount of capital, in some instances, can be as low as US$500,000, but, usually, must be at least US$1,000,000. The investment must be in a new commercial business that employs at least ten US workers or authorized immigrant workers in full-time employment. The applicant must be engaged in the business full-time and must be involved in the actual day-to-day management of the business.