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Green Card (Permanent Residence) through employment

Overview: Immigration and Nationality Act(Section 201) sets 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas to qualified applicants. Each country is limited to receive 7% of the quota(9,800). Employment based immigrant visas are divided into five preference categories. EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 categories each receive 28.6% of the annaul visa quota, EB-4 and EB-5 each receive 7.1%.

Spouses and unmarried children younger than 21 may accompany or follow-to-join employment-based immigrants.

Employment First Preference (EB-1): Priority Workers
Labor certification is not required. There are three sub-groups within this category:
  • Extraordinary Ability: Persons with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.
  • Outstanding Professors and Researchers: Outstanding professors and researchers with at least three years experience in teaching or research, who are recognized internationally.
  • Multinational Manager or Executive: Multinational managers or executives who have been employed for at least one of the three preceding years by the overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of the U.S. employer.

Application Process:
  1. Extraordinary Ability: applicant may petition for yourself by filing a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.
  2. Outstanding Professors and Researchers: employer must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.
  3. Multinational Manager or Executive: employer must file USCIS Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.


Employment Second Preference (EB-2): Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability
Labor certification is generally required unless applicant can obtain a national interest waiver. Employer or self-petitioner must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. There are three sub-groups within this category:
  • Advanced Degree: The job offer must require an advanced degree and the applicant must possess such a degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in the field).Labor certification from DOL is required.
  • Exceptional Ability: applicant must demonstrate a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.
  • National Interest Waiver: The Labor Certification can be waived because it is in the interest of the United States. National interest waivers are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the national. The applicant could self petition without employer.


Employment Third Preference (EB-3): Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers (Other Workers)
Labor certification and a permanent, full-time job offer required. Employer must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. There are three sub-groups within this category:
  • Skilled workers are persons whose jobs require a minimum of 2 years training or work experience that are not temporary or seasonal.
  • Professionals are members of the professions whose jobs require at least a baccalaureate degree from a U.S. university or college or its foreign equivalent degree.
  • Unskilled workers (Other workers) are persons capable of filling positions that require less than two years training or experience that are not temporary or seasonal.


Employment Fourth Preference (EB-4): Certain Special Immigrants
Labor certification is not required. Applicant must be the beneficiary of an approved Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, Form I-360, with the exception of Certain Employees or Former Employees of the U.S. Government Abroad

There are many sub-groups within this category, including
  • Religious Workers
  • Broadcasters
  • Iraqi/Afghan Translators
  • Iraqis Who Have Assisted the United States
  • International Organization Employees
  • Physicians
  • Armed Forces Members
  • Panama Canal Zone Employees
  • Retired NATO-6 employees
  • Spouses and Children of Deceased NATO-6 employees


Employment Fifth Preference (E5): Immigrant Investors
Labor certification is not required. Generally the minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $1 million. The minimum qualifying investment either within a high-unemployment area or rural area in the United States is $500,000(Targeted Employment Area). The investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States must creates at least 10 new full-time jobs for U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or other lawful immigrants, not including the investor and his or her family.

Applicant must file an Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, Form I-526, with USCIS

Main ways of Employment Green Card:
  • Green Card Through a Job Offer: Most categories require an employer to get a labor certification and then file a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.
  • Green Card Through Investment: investors/entrepreneurs who are making an investment in an enterprise that creates new U.S. jobs.
  • Green Card Through Self Petition: “Aliens of Extraordinary Ability” or certain individuals granted a National Interest Waiver.
  • Green Card Through Special Categories of Jobs: require a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. The jobs include Afghan/Iraqi Translator, Broadcaster, International Organization Employee, Iraqi Who Assisted the U.S. Government, NATO-6 Nonimmigrant, Panama Canal Employee, Physician National Interest Waiver, Religious Worker


Green Card Through a Job Offer Process
  1. The applicant's employer must first obtain a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor.
  2. Once received (if required), the employer then files an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the appropriate employment-based preference category.
  3. If You Are Living Outside the United States You can become a permanent resident through consular processing when living outside the United States. Consular processing is when USCIS works with the Department of State to issue a visa on an approved Form I-140 petition when a visa is available.
  4. f You Are Living in the United States You can become a permanent resident through adjustment of status when living inside the United States. Once the I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, is approved and a visa number is available you can apply on Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to become a permanent resident.


Last Updated: 4/21/2017.


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