Per U.S. immigration law, certain foreign nationals can permanently immigrate to the United States on employment-based immigrant visas. Certain spouses and dependents of sponsored foreign nationals are also eligible to apply for immigrant visas as derivative applicants.

Once an immigrant visa petition has been successfully processed, foreign nationals gain a permanent resident card or “green card.” Continuous green card holders can stay in the United States indefinitely and pursue education, employment, or any other lawful activity of their interest.

Applying for a green card is multi-step process, and it begins with understanding the foreign national’s preference category. There are five Preference Categories for employment-based permanent residence, which are ranked based on professional qualifications. For certain preference categories, the foreign national must be sponsored by a US-based employer.

In total, there are 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas per year available for workers, their spouses, and their dependents. Select a preference category below to learn more about eligibility.

Employment-Based Preference Category Who is eligible? Yearly Numerical Cap Application Process
EB-1 Those with “extraordinary ability” in the arts, sciences, business, education, or athletics; outstanding professors or researchers; multinational executives and managers

40,000 or 28.6%

(plus any unused EB-4 & EB-5 visas)

Labor certification is not required; Job offer is required except for persons of extraordinary ability
EB-2 Professionals with advanced degrees; those with exceptional ability in the arts, business, or sciences

40,000 or 28.6%

(plus any unused EB-1 visas)

Permanent job offer & labor certification are required, unless a National Interest Waiver is obtained
EB-3 Professionals, skilled workers, and unskilled/other workers

40,000 or 28.6%

(plus any unused EB-1 & EB-2 visas)

Permanent job offer & labor certification are required (except for special classes)
EB-4 “Special immigrants,” including certain: religious workers, employees of US foreign service posts, Iraqi/Afghan interpreters/translators, and more 10,000 or 7.1% Labor certification not required
EB-5 Investors of $1 million or $500,000 (if invested in a target area), in a new commercial enterprise that employs 10 or more full-time US workers 10,000 or 7.1% Labor certification not required

For help sponsoring an employee on a green card, please contact us at info@chugh.com.

Disclaimer: Please be advised that the information provided in this article is for general purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please speak to an experienced immigration attorney for case-specific questions.

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