EMPLOYMENT-BASED PERMANENT RESIDENCE
First Preference: Priority Workers EB-1
This is the first preference category for employment-based visas. An EB-1 visa is designated for the following types of foreign aliens:
- Persons of Extraordinary Ability in the areas of sciences, arts, education, business or athletics;
- Outstanding Professors and Researchers; and,
- Multinational Executives and Managers
Persons of extraordinary ability need to show national or international acclaim and demonstrate that their achievements have been recognized through extensive documentation. The person of extraordinary ability also needs to demonstrate the intent to continue to work in the extraordinary field once they enter the U.S., and that their entry will substantially, and prospectively, benefit the U.S. The person of extraordinary ability does not need to show an offer of employment from a U.S. employer
Outstanding professors and researchers need to show they are internationally recognized as outstanding in a specific academic area. The outstanding professor or researcher will also need to provide proof of at least 3-years’ experience in the academic area and that he or she is offered a tenured or permanent teaching position at an approved academic institution.
Multinational executives and managers need to show that he or she was employed abroad for at least one year, in the last 3 years, by a firm, corporation, or other legal entity, or an affiliate, or subsidiary of a U.S. company.
Second Preference: Members of Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Aliens of Exceptional Ability EB-2
If you qualify for an EB-2 visa you will also qualify for an EB-3 professional or skilled worker classification. However, the advantage of applying for an EB-2 visa is that you will not have to put up with the long waiting list and back-log that the EB-3 carries. EB-2 may also get the labor certification waived if granted a national interest waiver.
An EB-2 visa invites members of the professions holding an advanced degree or the equivalent, or who because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business will substantially and prospectively benefit the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the U.S. and whose services are sought after by U.S. employers.
Third Preference: Professionals, Skilled and Other Workers EB-3
There are three subcategories to the EB-3 visa: 1. Professionals, 2. Skilled Workers, and 3. Other (Unskilled) Workers.
Each EB-3 visa subcategory requires that the person secure a full-time job from a U.S. employer who has obtained an approved Labor Certification issued by the U.S. Department of Labor. The Labor Certification confirms that the U.S. employer has attempted to recruit U.S. workers for the job position that is being offered to the applicant but no U.S. worker is willing, able, or qualified to fill in the position.
In order for a person to qualify for the professional subcategory of the EB-3, he or she must have a U.S. baccalaureate degree (or foreign university equivalent) or higher. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) specifies professionals to include architects, engineers, lawyers, physicians, surgeons, and teachers in elementary or secondary schools, colleges, academies, or seminaries. Aside from the professions that are specified in the INA, one may still qualify for the professional subcategory if they possess a baccalaureate degree and work in their field of expertise.
A person will qualify for the skilled worker subcategory of the EB-3 if he or she has a full-time permanent job offer from a U.S. employer and has at least 2 years training or work experience. Relevant college or university education may be considered as training.
Finally, the other worker, or unskilled worker, subcategory of the EB-3 is for foreign nationals with less than 2 years of training and work experience who is offered a full time job by a U.S. employer. The major shortcoming for this visa is the number of visas available for this subcategory (10,000) and the backlog of applications the USCIS receives each year. One will have to wait many years until they get an a decision on their application in this subcategory.
Fourth Preference: Special Immigrants EB-4
Special Immigrant visas may petition on Form I-360 without a U.S. employer sponsor. Special Immigrant visas are available to the following individuals:
- Religious workers working full time in a compensated position. The person needs to demonstrate that he or she is a member of a religious denomination and also must work for a bona fide, nonprofit religious organization in the U.S. or its affiliate in the U.S.
- Commuters from the Canadian and Mexican border. A legal permanent resident may live in Canada or Mexico and commute to his or her employment in the U.S. The person must demonstrate that he or she has not been unemployed in the U.S. for 6 continuous months or has worked a minimum of 3 months in the last year.
- Special Immigrant Juveniles. Applies to children who have been declared a dependent by a juvenile court in the U.S. and that reunification with his or her parent(s) is not feasible due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment. If all these conditions are met, the Special Immigrant Juvenile must remain unmarried and file a petition to adjust his or her status prior to reaching the age of 21.
Fifth Preference: Employment Creation or Investors Visa EB-5
The investor visa allows a foreign investor who has either $1,000,000, or under certain circumstances, $500,000, to apply for a conditional green card.
If the foreign national chooses to invest, or is actively in the process of investing, $1,000,000 through the EB-5 category, the investment has to be made into a new commercial enterprise that will employ a minimum of 10 U.S. citizens or authorized immigrant workers on a full-time basis. The investor must also engage in the business he or she is investing in through day-to-day management or policy formation. If the foreign investor manages to satisfy these conditions for 2 years, and still maintain a minimum of 10 U.S. workers at the end of 2 years, then he or she can apply to remove the conditions on the green card and become a permanent residence.
If you do not have $1,000,000 to invest, you may still qualify for the EB-5 if you invest, or can show that you are in the process of investing, $500,000 in a targeted employment area. The USICS defines a targeted employment area as one that is which a rural area of less than 20,000 people or an area which has experienced an unemployment of at least 150% of the national average.
The third EB-5 investor visa option is to invest $500,000 in a Regional Center Pilot Program. A regional center is any economic unit, public or private, engaged in the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation and increased domestic capital investment. This may be appealing to foreign investors who do not wish to be actively involved in the day-to-day management or policy formation of the commercial enterprise they are investing in. Regional centers are already approved by the USCIS through a rigorous application process and offer a framework within which the foreign investor can satisfy the EB-5 eligibility requirements and the qualifying EB-5 jobs by investing the $500,000 into the program. Regional centers are found throughout the U.S. each offering its own unique program to the foreign investor. The huge advantage in investing in a Regional Center Pilot Program is that you may live, travel, study, work at another job, without the worrying about running the business you invest into.
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