Employment-based immigrant visas are divided into five preference categories. The following are the details of employment-based immigration from the first preference to the third preference. The fourth preference for religious workers and fifth preference for immigrant investors will be explained on different pages.

People qualifying in the EB-1 categories are called priority workers. The EB-1 sets certain requirements which may be difficult to achieve, but if all the requirements are met, the application for the EB-1 will be quickly processed and the applicants for the EB-1 will have a green card within a short amount of time. The EB-1 is divided into three groups: aliens of extraordinary ability, outstanding researchers or professors, and multinational executives or managers.

Aliens of extraordinary ability

To qualify for an alien of extraordinary ability for the EB-1A, the applicant must have national or international acclaim in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. The applicant must continue working in the U.S. in the field specified in the filed EB-1A, and the applicant must have a capacity to contribute to U.S. society. Self-petition is allowed for an alien of extraordinary ability without a petition from employer and a labor certification is not required. Thus, the applicant must provide evidence of his or her extraordinary ability. Acclaims can be shown by receipt of an internationally recognized award such as Nobel Prize. If the applicant has no record of receiving an award, the applicant must provide at least three of the following evidences:

– Receipt of a national or international prize or award

– Membership in an association in the field for which the classification is sought

– Published material about the applicant’s work in major media publications

– The applicant’s participation as a judge

– Evidence of original contributions of major significance in the applicant’s fields

– Scholarly articles in professional journals

– Exhibitions of the applicant’s work

– Receipt of a higher salary

– Commercial success in the performing arts


Outstanding researchers or professors

To qualify for an outstanding researcher or professor for the EB-1B, the applicant must have been internationally recognized as outstanding in a particular scholarly field and must have three years of experience as a professor or researcher. To be qualified as an outstanding researcher or professor, the applicant must provide at least two of the following criteria:

– Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement

– Membership in associations in the academic field that require members to have

outstanding achievements

– Published material in professional publications written by others about the

applicant’s work in the field

– The applicant’s participation as a judge

– Evidence of the applicant’s original scientific or scholarly research

– The applicant’s authorship of scholarly books or articles in the academic field

To file a petition as an outstanding researcher or professor, a labor certification is not required, but the applicant must have sponsorship of an employer. A tenured or tenure-track position from a university can qualify. A research position at the academic institution with at least three full-time researchers may also qualify.

Multinational Executives or Managers

To qualify for the EB-1C, the applicant must have been continually employed in a managerial or executive capacity for at least one of the three years prior to filing the petition. The applicant may be a person expecting to be sent to a subsidiary in the U.S. or a person who already has been employed at a subsidiary in the U.S. No labor certification is required, but there must be sponsorship by the employer. The qualifications of the EB-1C are similar to the qualifications of the L-1A visa.

The EB-2 is applicable for the professions with advanced degrees or foreign nationals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business.

Professions with Advanced Degrees

The foreign professions with advanced degrees for the EB-2 are individuals who possess a master’s or higher degree. Both a U.S. advanced degree and the foreign equivalent of a U.S. advanced degree are acknowledged. The EB-2 is also applicable to the applicant with a Bachelor’s degree if the applicant has 5 years experience in the professional field. To qualify for an advanced degree, a sponsoring employer is required. The applicant must receive a labor certification before filing the I-140 with the USCIS.


Aliens of exceptional ability

Aliens of exceptional ability are foreign nationals with exceptional ability in the fields of sciences, arts or business. Athletes and entertainers are included in the field of arts. To be qualified as an alien of exceptional ability, the applicant must provide three of the following criteria.

– Official academic record showing the exceptional ability

– Letters documenting from former or current employers at least 10 years of

full-time experience in the field

– A license to practice in the field of profession

– Higher salary demonstrating the exceptional ability

– Membership in a professional association

– Recognition of the applicant’s achievements and significant contributions to the

field of profession.

– Other comparable evidence of eligibility


National interest waiver

The EB-2 NIW allows a permanent resident to become an applicant whose admission will be in the national interest of the U.S. The following are criteria considered by the USCIS:

– The existence of substantial intrinsic merit of the proposed profession

– The proposed benefit must be national in scope.

– Evidence that depriving the prospective employer of the services from the

applicant is contrary to national interest.

Self-petition is available for the EB-2 NIW. The NIW applicant is eligible to apply for the I-140 without labor certification.

The EB-3 is divided into professional workers holding a bachelor’s degree, skilled workers with at least two years of experience, and other unskilled workers with less than two years of higher education or experience. The waiting time for the EB-3 applicant varies depending on the circumstances.

Labor Certification

Applicants for certain employment-based immigration are required to get a labor certification issued from the Department of Labor. Many people assume that they are eligible to work in the U.S. once they receive the labor certifications. However, this assumption is incorrect since the labor certification does not permit one to start work. The labor certification is one of the required documents for the immigration procedures. The labor certification proceeds through the Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) to prove that there is no eligible candidate in the U.S. labor market for the proposed position except a hired foreign national applicant.


Filing the I-140

Once the labor certification is approved, the applicant is eligible to file the I-140 with the USCIS. At this stage, the USCIS examines whether the employer has a financial capability to pay the prevailing wage based on the tax return of the employer. If financial capability is met, the I-140 of the applicant may be approved.


Filing the I-485

Once the I-140 is approved, the applicant is eligible to file the I-485 with the USCIS. However, the priority date is determined as the date when a PERM labor certification is filed. The applicant must wait to file the I-485 until the priority date of the applicant is current. When the applicant is able to file the I-485, he or she can also file the I-765 and I-131.