Employment Based Green Card (Permanent Residency)

This section will provide an overview of the employment-based immigration process, the requirements to qualify for employment sponsorship, and the application and adjudication process.  If a person wants to become an immigrant based on the fact that they have a permanent employment opportunity in the United States, they must go through a multi-step process.  To qualify for permanent residency through employment, an employee must qualify less than one of the five employment-based preference categories, which are tiered according to level of experience and education.

Preference Categories

First Employment-Based Preference: Priority Workers (EB-1)

  1. Foreign nationals of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics (No offer of employment required).
  2. Foreign national that are outstanding professors or researchers
  3. Foreign nationals that are managers and executives subject to international transfer to the United States

NOTE: Labor Certification is not required.

Second Employment-Based Preference: Professionals with advanced degrees or persons with exceptional ability (EB-2)

  1. Foreign nationals of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business
  2. Foreign nationals that are advanced degree professionals
  3. Qualified alien physicians who will practice medicine in an area of the U.S. which is underserved

NOTE:  For EB-2 a labor certification and job offer are required.  If the job offer is waived by the USCIS in the national interest, the foreign national is not subject to the labor certification requirement.

Third Employment-Based Preference: Skilled or professional workers (EB-3)

  1. Foreign national professionals with bachelor’s degrees (not qualifying for a higher preference category)
  2. Foreign national skilled workers (minimum two years training and experience)
  3. Foreign national unskilled workers (worker who can perform labor for which qualified workers are not available in the United States.)

Visa Numbers

The Department of State is responsible for providing visa numbers to foreign nationals interested in immigrating to the United States.  To find out more about the Department of State’s visa process visit the Department of State or USCIS for specific information on how to get an immigrant visa number.

To check the status of a visa number you can review the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin

Numerical Limits

The yearly numerical limitations in the preference categories are as follows.

  1. First Preference: 28.6% of worldwide limit (37,520) plus unused 4th and 5th preference.
  2. Second Preference: 28.6% of worldwide limit (37,520) plus unused 1st preference
  3. Third Preference: 28.6% of worldwide limit (37,520) plus unused 1st or 2nd preference.

Department of State’s Visa Bulletin