Employment-Based Green Card Petitions
There are many types of employment-based green card petitions. These types of petitions are divided into “preference categories” as explained below.
- The First Employment-based Preference for “priority workers”(EB-1)
All EB-1 workers, or their U.S. employers if they are required to have an offer of employment from a U.S. company, must file a Form I-140 Petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
There are three sub-groups in this category:
- EB-1(a) – Workers who have demonstrated “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, education, business, and athletics: To prove that a foreign worker possesses extraordinary ability, applicants must provide USCIS with extensive documentation that shows the applicant has sustained national or international acclaim and recognition in their field of expertise. EB-1(a) workers do not have to obtain a job offer from a U.S. employer. Rather, they can file the Form I-140 Petition to USCIS on their own (through a process called self-sponsorship).
- EB-1(b) – Outstanding Professors and Researchers: To prove that a foreign national qualifies as an Outstanding Professor/Researcher, the applicant must prove that he/she (a) possesses least three years of experience in teaching or research; (b) has an offer of permanent employment from a research institution, university, or similar employer; and (c) has a proven outstanding record in his/her field of endeavor. As stated, EB-1(b) workers do require a job offer from a U.S. employer, but they can skip the lengthy labor certification step in the green card process and immediately file the Form I-140 Petition with USCIS.
- EB-1(c)- Executives and managers of multinational corporations: To qualify for this category, the applicant must have worked, for at least one of the three preceding years, with an overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of a U.S. business. Similar to the EB-1(b) category, multinational executives and managers can also skip the labor certification step, and proceed immediately file the Form I-140 Petition with USCIS.
For a detailed discussion about qualifying for permanent residence (a U.S. green card) in the first employment-based preference, please see EB-1.
- The Second Employment-Based preference (EB-2)
There are two subgroups within this category:
A) Professionals holding an advanced degree (which means Master’s degree or higher) or a bachelor’s degree and at least five years’ progressive, post-bachelor’s experience in the profession. The PERM Labor Certification and a job offer are required for this category.
B) Professionals with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business. Immigration law defines exceptional ability as having a degree of expertise that is significantly above that ordinarily encountered within the field. A PERM Labor Certification and a job offer are typically required for this category unless the job offer requirement is waived by USCIS because USCIS finds that the worker’s exceptional ability is in the national interest.
- If the labor certification requirement cannot be waived, the U.S. employer must complete this process before filing the Form I-140 Petition. For details on this process, please see the discussion on Perm Labor Certification.
- For requests to USCIS for a national interest waiver (NIW), the foreign national can file the I-140 Petition without an employer through self-sponsorship.
- The Third Employment-Based Preference (EB-3)
This category includes “Skilled Workers, Professionals Holding Baccalaureate Degrees and Other Workers.”All EB-3 applicants require a job offer from a U.S. employer and a PERM labor certification. The three sub-categories have their own requirements:
- Skilled workers: workers in a job position that requires at least two years of training or employment experience
- Professionals with a bachelor’s degree: workers in a job position that requires at least a university bachelor’s degree
- Other workers: workers in a job position that requires less than two years of training or experience
The labor certification process is discussed in details under PERM Labor Certification.
- The Fourth Employment-Based Preference (EB-4)
Most EB-4 workers are employed in a religious capacity and require a job offer from a U.S. employer. They do not need to complete the PERM labor certification process or the Form I-140 Petition. Instead, employers must file a Form I-360, Petition for Special Immigrant.
In addition to religious workers, the following types of foreign nationals can also qualify for the EB-4 category
- Certain overseas employees of the U.S. Government;
- Former employees of the Panama Canal Company;
- Retired employees of international organizations;
- Certain dependents of international organization employees; and
- Certain members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
- The Fifth Employment-Based Preference (EB-5)
It may seem strange but the investment-based green card, often referred to as an EB-5 green card, is actually considered an employment-based green card. This is because foreign investors who receive the EB-5 green card must create employment opportunities for 10 U.S. workers. All foreign investors must file the Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by an Alien Entrepreneur. To qualify, an alien must invest a minimum of either U.S. $500,000 or $1,000,000 (depending on the current employment rate in the geographical area that receives the investment).
For more information on the EB-5 green card, please click here.
At the Callan Law Firm, P.C., our experienced attorneys can help you create your own individualized immigration strategy that is best suited to your qualifications and needs. Contact our office today to get started on your case!