Overview of Employment Based Immigrant Visa Petitions

Congress took many things into account when it enacted and shaped our current laws on visas and immigration. In the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1990, the United States Congress established so-called preference groups for immigration into the United States.

Among the categories of immigrants entitled to preference under the 1990 Act are those petitioning under certain so-called Employment-Based (“EB”) categories. By way of these EB visa categories Congress has provided a way for a relatively speedy entry into the U.S. Use of such preference visa categories can be a pathway to permanent lawful residence status (green cards) in the United States.

A limited number of visas are made available each year to individuals in these EB visa preference categories. There are five employment based, i.e. EB, visa categories:

  • EB-1 Visa for Priority Workers
    • Labor Certifications are not required for EB-1 visa categories, and a job offer to the foreign national is required only for outstanding professors/researchers and multinational managers/executives, i.e. EB 1.2 and EB 1.3.
    • Extraordinary ability in the sciences, business, athletics, education, or arts.
    • Outstanding researchers and professors
    • Certain multinational managers and executives

  • EB-2 Visa for Persons with Exceptional Ability or Professionals with Advanced Degrees
    • Members of certain identified professions who hold advanced degrees or their equivalent
    • Exceptional ability in the sciences, business or arts

  • EB-3 Visa for Professional or Skilled Workers
    • Professionals with a baccalaureate degree (who do not otherwise qualify for a higher category of preference)
    • Certain skilled workers (with a minimum two years training and experience)
    • Other workers (certain circumstances allow for less than two years' experience or training)

  • EB-4 Visa for Special Immigrants
    • Religious workers working with or for a religious organization in the U.S.
    • Current and former employees of the U.S. Government at overseas locations.
    • Retired employees of international organizations

  • EB-5 Visa for Investors Who Create Jobs
    • Employment creation through investment