Employment Immigration Visas

One of the most widely used methods to obtain lawful permanent residence (LPR) in the U.S. is through an employment-based immigrant visa petition, which allows for five classifications commonly referred to as preferences. To speak with an experienced lawyer about your employment immigration concerns, please call HBM Law Office at (312) 857-5402.

EB-1 Visa – 1st Preference
: Priority Workers

The first employment-based preference is available to foreign nationals with “extraordinary ability” in arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics, outstanding professors or researchers, or multinational managers and executives subject to transfer to an affiliate U.S. office who have worked outside the U.S. for at least 1 year within the 3-year period immediately preceding the proposed admission.  Each occupational category has certain requirements that must be met.  The employer is not required to file a labor certification under the first employment-based preference category.

EB-2 – 2nd Preference
: Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Persons with Exceptional Ability

The visa is for foreign nationals who have “exceptional ability” in the arts, sciences or business and for foreign nationals with advanced degrees or its equivalent.  The employer is generally required to file an approved labor certification under the second employment-based preference category, unless it is waived by USCIS in accordance with the “national interest” of the U.S.

EB-3 – 3rd Preference
: Skilled or Professional Workers

Foreign nationals may be eligible for this visa if they are a skilled worker, professional, or other worker.  “Skilled workers” are persons whose job requires a minimum of 2 years training or work experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature; “Professionals” are persons whose job requires at least a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent and are a member of the professions; and the “other workers” subcategory is for persons performing unskilled labor requiring less than 2 years training or experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature.  A labor certification is always required under the third employment-based preference category.

EB-4 – 4th Preference
: Special Immigrants

Enables special groups of foreign nationals to permanently work and live in the U.S. These groups include religious workers and former overseas employees.  Among the types of individuals who qualify under this preference are:

Religious Workers

Individuals must have been a paid member of a bona fide nonprofit, religious organization in the U.S. for the immediate 2 years before petitioning for an immigrant visa. The individual must also intend to continue to carry out their religious vocation.

Other Special Immigrants

The list of special immigrants groups include media broadcasters, Iraqi/Afghan translators, Iraqis who have assisted the U.S., international organization employees, physicians licensed to practice in the U.S. since 1978 in H or J status, members of the Armed Forces, and retirees of the NATO-6 and their spouses and children.

EB-5 – 5th Preference
: Immigrant Investor

The EB-5 investor visa allows individuals who are interested in investing a substantial amount in a U.S. based enterprise or business to seek permanent residence in the U.S. Accompanying spouses and children are permitted to immigrate with the primary investor individual.

The EB-5 investment visa must be made for a new business or enterprise that is for profit. The investor must be actively involved in the operations of the business. Capital investments must be at least $1 million (or $500,000 in certain designated areas through approved regional centers), which can be in cash, equipment, inventory, etc. The business must directly create at least 10 new jobs for U.S. workers (or indirectly create 10 new jobs if approved through a regional center) within two years of the investment.

Permanent residence based on EB-5 investments is granted by USCIS on a two-year conditional basis. After the two-year period is over, the EB-5 investor must demonstrate that all conditions continue to be met in order for conditional residence to be removed.

EB-5 investment visas are highly complex. For assistance or for questions about this category, please contact our office.

To see how the rate at which employment-based petitions for permanent residence are currently being processed, check the Department of State’s Current Visa Bulletin