Immigrant Visas

Employment Based

Categories of U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Employment Visas

There are five employment-based preference categories (EB-1 through EB-5) through which an individual can obtain residency in the United States. The majority of these categories require an offer of employment and a labor certification approved by the Department of Labor. One hundred forty thousand (140,000) visa are allocated annually for employment-based immigration.

I. EB-1
This category is the priority worker category. It consists of the following classes of individuals:
1. aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, business, education or athletics;
2. outstanding professors and researchers;
3. multinational executives or managers being permanently transferred to the United States from a foreign affiliate.
Forty thousand (40,000) visas are allocated annually to this category plus any visas left over from the fourth and fifth categories. No labor certification is required for priority workers. Aliens of extraordinary ability do not require an offer of employment and may petition for themselves. Outstanding professors and researchers and multinational executives and managers, however, must have an offer of employment in order to obtain residency in this category.

For more information regarding the classes of individuals eligible for this category, click here.

II. EB-2
Forty thousand (40,000) visas are allocated annually to this category plus those left over from the EB-1 category. Included in this category are the following:
1. members of professions holding advanced degrees;
2. aliens of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business.
Labor certification is required for both classes except where a waiver would be in the national interest.

For more information regarding the classes of individuals eligible for this category and the National Interest Waiver, click here.

III. EB-3
Forty thousand (40,000) visas are allocated annually to this category.  Included in this category are the following:
1. members of professions holding at least a bachelor’s degree;
2. skilled workers (workers whose occupations require at least two years of training or experience);
3. unskilled workers (workers whose occupations require little training or experience).
Labor certification is required for each of these classes of workers. A full-time permanent job offer is also necessary. No more than 10,000 visas annually may be allocated to the unskilled worker category.
IV. EB-4
This is the special immigrant category. Its classes are extremely eclectic. Ten thousand (10,000) visas are allocated annually to this category, but rarely are more than 5,000 ever used. Classes in this category include:
1. ministers and other religious workers;
2. employees or retired employees of the U.S. government abroad;
3. certain employees under the Panama Canal Act of 1979;
4. certain foreign medical graduates who entered the United States in H or J status before 1/10/78;
5. officers and employees of international organizations who resided in the United States for requisite periods (includes widow(er)s and unmarried sons and daughters of these officers and employees);
6. dependent juveniles under court protection;
7. certain immigrants who have served in the U.S. armed forces;
8. foreign broadcasters.
This category is mainly used for the religious worker class. For more information on religious workers click here.
V. EB-5
This is the immigrant investor category. No job offer or labor certification is required. The investor must be an individual seeking to invest in a commercial enterprise with a minimum investment of $1,000,000. In targeted employment areas, the investment may be reduced to $500,000. The nature of the investment must be such that it will eventually produce ten (10) full time jobs for those eligible to be employed in the United States, not including the investor and his family. This category has very stringent standards, and out of 10,000 available visas only 1,000 visas are used each year by investors and their families.