Permanent Residency based on Employment

Employment based green cards generally requires demonstration of one of the following: 1) That a foreign national is one of the best in the field; 2)  That there are no qualified U.S. workers available to fill the position; or 3) The foreign national will invest in a new commercial enterprise creating a certain amount of jobs. Employment-based immigration is divided into preference categories. The preference categories are as follows:


Priority Workers (EB-1).

1) Foreign Nationals with Extraordinary ability:

Foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletic, demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim may petition for permanent residence in the U.S. The law does not require a specific job offer to qualify for classification in this subcategory as long as he/she is entering the U.S. to continue work in his/her field. The USCIS requires the petitioner to present extensive documentation to establish his/her extraordinary ability.

2) Outstanding Professors & Researchers:

Foreign outstanding professors and researchers who have at least three years experience in teaching or research in their field and who have received international recognition for their work may be sponsored by U.S. employers for permanent residence in the U.S. The outstanding professor or researcher must be coming to the U.S. to conduct teaching or research at a university in a tenured, tenure-track, or comparable position, or to fill a similar high-level research position with a private employer.

3) International Executives and Managers.

This subcategory covers multinational executives and managers. To qualify as a multinational company, the USCIS requires that the employer must be conducting business in two or more countries, one of which is the United States, either directly or through affiliates or subsidiaries. In order for the employer to be able to sponsor an executive or manager for permanent residency in the U.S., he/she must have been employed in a managerial or executive capacity for at least one continuous year in the preceding three years by the overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of a U.S. employer, and must be coming to work in the U.S. in a managerial or executive capacity.


Exceptional-Ability Foreign Nationals and Advanced-Degree Professionals (National Interest Visa) (EB-2).

This category of employment-based immigration covers foreign nationals with advanced degrees in professional fields and foreign nationals of exceptional ability in the sciences, business, and arts (includes athletes). Inclusion in the exceptional ability group requires that the individual have a degree of expertise above that ordinarily encountered in his/her field.

In most cases, an offer of employment in the U.S. is required and a Labor Certification must be approved by the U.S. Department of Labor before the employer could file the employment-based permanent residence petition on behalf of the foreign national. Some foreign nationals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business and some advanced-degree professionals may qualify for the EB-2 without an offer of employment based on a waiver from the Attorney General premised on the national interest. This allows the individual to file for employment-based permanent residence on his/her own behalf and is exempted from the Labor Certification requirement.


Skilled Workers, Professionals, and other Workers (EB-3).

This category consists of professionals with bachelor’s degree in their fields, skill workers capable of performing a job requiring at least two years of experience or training, and other workers who are unskilled and capable of performing jobs requiring less than two years of experience (“unskilled workers”).

In every case, a foreign national must have a job offer from a U.S. employer and the employer must receive an approved Labor Certification from the United States Department of Labor before filing an employment-based petition on behalf of the individual.


Special Immigrants (EB-4).

This category covers religious workers, persons under protection of a juvenile court in the U.S., certain medical doctors, and employees of the U.S. mission in Hong Kong.

In order to qualify as a religious worker, the foreign national must have been a member of a religious denomination which has had a legitimate nonprofit religious organization in the U.S. for at least two years immediately preceding the date of filing the petition for special immigrant classification. The individual must also have worked in the religious vocation during this two-year period. Further the individual must be seeking entry to the U.S. solely for the purpose of carrying on a religious vocation or occupation. The petition for special immigrant religious worker may be filed by the foreign national him/herself or by a religious organization on behalf of the individual.


Foreign National Investors (EB-5).

This category allows foreign nationals who invests in new commercial enterprises in the United States to petition for permanent residence in the U.S. To establish a new commercial enterprise, the individual must make a capital investment of $500,000 or $1,000,000 in a “targeted employment area” and the investment must benefit the U.S. economy and create full-time employment for at least ten qualified employees.

DISCLAIMER: The information given in this website is intended as general information only and is not a substitute for the services of an immigration attorney in your specific case.