Business Based Employment
Business Based Employment

There is a wide range of employment-based (EB) immigration options to gain U.S. permanent residence (green card). The different employment-based immigration categories are based on a foreign worker’s particular occupation and skills. The employment-based categories consists of five preference categories that are subject to annual visa limits. Available visas are issued to beneficiaries in order of their priority date (the date of filing of the labor certification, if one is necessary, or the date of filing the I-140 petition). The Department of State (DOS) publishes a monthly list of the priority dates that are current.

To see the applicable priority dates for each employment-based category, check out the DOL's current Visa Bulletin.

The First Preference (EB-1)

The first preference category consists of persons of extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational executives and managers. The first preference category does not require filing of a labor certification application (LCA) because this type of applicant is not required to establish that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the proposed position.

Persons of extraordinary ability must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics and must meet 3 out of the 10 listed criteria below to prove extraordinary ability in the field:

  • Evidence of receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence

  • Evidence of your membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members

  • Evidence of published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media

  • Evidence that you have been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel

  • Evidence of your original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field

  • Evidence of your authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media

  • Evidence that your work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases

  • Evidence of your performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations

  • Evidence that you command a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field

  • Evidence of your commercial successes in the performing arts

Outstanding professors and researchers must be internationally recognized as outstanding in their specific academic area, have a minimum of three years of experience in teaching or research in the area, and be entering the U.S. in a tenure or tenure track teaching or comparable research position at an institution of higher education.

Multinational executives and managers must have been employed as a manager or executive outside the United States for the same U.S. employer, subsidiary, or affiliate of the U.S. employer for at least one year within the last three. They must also be entering the United States to work as a manager or executive of the U.S. employer.

The Second Preference (EB-2)

The second preference category includes members of the professions holding advanced degrees (eg., Masters Degree or Ph.D) and foreign workers who, because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, will substantially benefit the national economy, cultural, or educational interests or welfare of the United States.

To qualify as a member of the professions the alien must have an advanced degree (degree above that of a baccalaureate or a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in the field).

Employment-based, second-preference petitions must generally be accompanied by an approved LCA from the Department of Labor.

To qualify as an alien of exceptional ability for the purpose of second preference classification, the individual must have a degree of expertise in the sciences, arts, or business significantly above the ordinary as shown by evidence satisfying at least three of the following criteria:

  • Official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to your area of exceptional ability

  • Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation

  • A license to practice your profession or certification for your profession or occupation

  • Evidence that you have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability

  • Membership in a professional association(s)

  • Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations

  • Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable.

Under the second preference category, the foreign worker must have a job offer and obtain a labor certification for the proposed position. The employer may request a waiver of this requirement in the national interest when the petition is filed with USCIS. Because a succesful national interest waiver waives the job offer, you do not need to demonstrate an employer’s ability to pay a wage.

However, the alien may seek an exemption from the labor certification if it can be shown that the alien’s admission would be in the national interest. Then the alien may self-petition and may file the labor certification directly with USCIS along with the Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.

Spouse and children under the age of 21of the alien may be admitted to the United States. Alien’s spouse is eligible to file for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

The Third Preference (EB-3)

The third preference consists of skilled workers, professionals, and “other workers”. Skilled workers are those whose positions require a minimum of two years of training or experience. Professionals must possess a bachelor’s degree in the field and must establish that a bachelor’s degree is the normal requirement for entry into the profession. The final category of “other workers” means essentially unskilled workers.

Third preference workers must have a job offer and obtain a LCA before filing the immigration application.

Spouse and children under the age of 21of the alien may be admitted to the United States. Alien’s spouse is eligible to file for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

The Fourth Preference (EB-4)

The fourth preference category includes special immigrants:

  • Religious Worker

  • Special Immigrant Juveniles

  • Broadcasters

  • G-4 International Organization or NATO-6 Employees and Their Family Members

  • International Employees of the U.S. Government Abroad

  • Armed Forces Members

  • Panama Canal Zone Employees

  • Certain Physicians

  • Afghan and Iraqi Translators

  • Afghan and Iraqi Nationals Who Have Provided Faith Service in Support of U.S.

  • Operations

U.S. Flag
U.S. Flag

EB-5 Visa

Permanent Residency path to U.S. Citizenship

If you wish to become a U.S. citizen, your two years as a conditional permanent resident is credited towards the five-year lawful permanent residency requirement for U.S. citizenship. You may apply for U.S. citizenship after this five year period.

EB-5 Visa Flexibility

The flexibility of the EB-5 Visa means you can live and work anywhere in the United States. As an EB-5 investor, you may return to your country of origin for personal or business purposes as long as you maintain U.S. residency.

Immense Investor Opportunity

The EB-5 Visa allows you the opportunity to invest capital that builds a future for yourself and your family. As an investor, you can bring your spouse and children under 21 years old to the United States. There are even admission advantages and reduced tuition costs available for you and your family at universities.

EB-5 Visa Flexibility
EB-5 Visa Flexibility
EB5 Immense Investor Opportunity
EB5 Immense Investor Opportunity

The Fifth Preference

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

Foreign investors must meet specific USCIS requirements to obtain their permanent residency through the EB-5 visa program. In general, the investor must make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States; and plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.

EB-5 visa applicants are typically required to make either a $900,000 or $1.8 million capital investment amount into a U.S. commercial enterprise. The EB-5 investment can take the form of cash, inventory, equipment, secured indebtedness, tangible property, or cash equivalents.

EB-5 visa applicants, their spouse, and their children under 21 will obtain their permanent residency green card once all requirements have been successfully met and approved by the U.S. CIS.

While each person’s legal situation is different, there are times when you really should consult with a lawyer you trust.


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