EB Visas


Do you have a desire to live permanently in the U.S. based on your employment skills, abilities, training, experience, or field of expertise?

If your answer is “Yes,” then this is a chapter you will want to read, as it covers important information for you to obtain an EB visa! The employment-based permanent resident visa category is most commonly used by people who intend to permanently settle in the U.S. By filing through various employment classifications, through a U.S. employer, or through self- sponsorship, a foreign national may be able to obtain their permanent residency in the U.S.

The Immigration and Nationality Act provides a yearly minimum of 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas (EB visas), which are divided into the five preference categories in the chart below. This chapter will discuss the three major employment-based permanent resident preference categories (i.e., EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 visas).

By the way, it is not unusual for foreign nationals to enter the U.S. on an H-1B visa, an L Visa or an F-1 visa, and later consider one of the employment-based categories below to immigrate to the U.S. In other words, many foreign nationals enter the U.S. as professional workers, students, or managers of corporations. After working in the U.S. for some time or conducting research as a Ph.D. student they consider immigrating to the U.S. under the following categories.

EMPLOYMENT FIRST PREFERENCE (EB-1 VISA): EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY

This category of “priority workers” receive 28.6 percent of the employment-based visa limit. An EB-1 visa is special, as it does not require any labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor, and in some cases, applicants can self-sponsor themselves. The applicants must, however, be the beneficiaries of an approved Immigrant Petition, commonly referred to as the I- 140 petition. Under the EB-1 persons of extraordinary ability, the foreign national can submit the I-140 on his or her own without having a U.S. sponsor. In other cases, an employer in the U.S. must submit the I-140 form on behalf of a foreign worker, so he or she may then become eligible for permanent residence status in the U.S. The subgroups of the EB-1 visa are as follows:

1) Persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. Applicants in this category must have extensive documentation displaying national or international acclaim and recognition in the field of expertise. Such applicants do not have to have a particular job offer, so long as they are entering the U.S. to continue work in the field in which they possess the extraordinary ability. Such applicants can file their own petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), rather than through an employer;

2) Outstanding professors and researchers with at least three years’ experience in teaching or research, who are recognized internationally. No labor certification is required for this classification, but the prospective employer must provide a job offer and file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); and,

3) Certain executives and managers who have been employed at least one of the three preceding years by the overseas affiliate, the parent company, subsidiary, or branch of the U.S. employer. The applicant must be coming to work in a managerial or executive capacity. No labor certification is required for this classification, but the prospective employer must provide a job offer and file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

EMPLOYMENT SECOND PREFERENCE (EB-2 VISA): ADVANCED DEGREE HOLDERS OR EXCEPTIONAL ABILITY

This category also makes up 28.6 percent of the employment-based visa limit, plus any unused Employment-Based First Preference visas. The EB-2 visa is primarily for those foreign nationals with advanced degrees—such as a doctor’s degree or a master’s degree—or a baccalaureate/bachelor’s degree plus five years progressive work experience in that field, or for those with “exceptional ability.” The EB-2 visa requires a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and also requires that a U.S. employer petition for the EB-2 visa applicant, except if they fall under the “national interest exemption” (and are granted a National Interest Waiver), which will be explained in detail later in the chapter. The subgroups of an EB-2 visa are as follows:

1) Professionals holding an advanced degree(beyond a baccalaureate/bachelors degree), or a baccalaureate degree and at least five years of progressive experience in the profession; and,

2) Personswithexceptionalabilityinthearts, sciences, or business.

EMPLOYMENT THIRD PREFERENCE (EB-3 VISA): BACCALAUREATE DEGREE HOLDERS OR SKILLED PERSONS OR OTHER WORKERS

The Employment Third Preference category makes up 28.6 percent of the employment-based visa limit, plus any unused First and Second Preference visas. This category is for those holding baccalaureate/bachelor’s degrees, skilled persons, and other workers. EB-3 visas require an approved I-140 petition from a U.S. employer, as well as a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

The three subgroups of an EB-3 visa are as follows:

1) “Skilled workers” are persons capable of performing a job requiring at least two years’ training or experience;

2) “Professionals with a baccalaureate degree” are members of a profession with at least a university bachelor's degree;

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