Employment-Based Green Cards
U.S. immigration law provides foreign nationals with several ways to become lawful permanent residents (Green Cards holders) through employment in the United States. EB stands for employment based permanent residence.
I am an employer and would like to hire a foreign national. Who can I hire?
Immigration law allows employers to hire foreign nationals under numerous circumstances. EB visas require employers to act as a “sponsor” for the foreign national’s residence. Employers may sponsor any foreign national under the following Visa categories:
EB1 – This category has 28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any visas not required for fourth and fifth preferences. It is available for:
- Foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics;
- Outstanding professors and researchers; or
- Certain multinational managers and executives
EB2 – This category has 28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any visas not required by first preference. It is for:
- Foreign nationals who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or who have an exceptional ability (including requests for National Interest Waivers)
EB3 – This category has 28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any visas not required by first and second preferences for:
- Skilled workers;
- Professionals; or
- Other workers
EB4 – This category has 7.1% of the worldwide level and is for:
- Religious workers
- Special Immigrant Juveniles
- Other categories of Special Immigrants
EB5 – This category has 7.1% of the worldwide level to be given to:
- Investors who make either a $500,000 or $1,000,000 investment in a commercial enterprise in the U.S.; and
- Plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.
What is the EB-1 employment-based category?
You may be eligible for an EB-1 employment-based visa if you have an extraordinary ability, are an outstanding professor or researcher, or are a multinational executive or manager.
Each occupational category has certain requirements that must be met:
- Extraordinary Ability – You must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. Your achievements must be recognized in your field through extensive documentation. No offer of employment is required and you may self-petition.
- Outstanding professors and researchers – You must demonstrate international recognition for your outstanding achievements in a particular academic field. You must have at least 3 years of experience in teaching or research in that academic area. You must be entering the United States in order to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education.
- Multinational manager or executive – You must have been employed outside the United States in the 3 years preceding the petition for at least 1 year by a firm or corporation and you must be seeking to enter the United States to continue service to that firm or organization. Your employment must have been outside the United States in a managerial or executive capacity and with the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the employer.
Most often, employers need to obtain a certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. The purpose of the certification is for the government to verify that the admission of a foreign employee to the U.S. will not harm job opportunities available to U.S. workers.
What is the EB-1 application process?
- For the Extraordinary Ability employment-based visa, you may petition on your own behalf by filing Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.
- For the Outstanding Professors and Researchers employment-based visa, an employer must file Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.
- For the Multinational Manager or Executive employment-based visa, an employer must file Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.
What is the EB-2 employment-based category?
You may be eligible for an EB-2 employment-based visa if you are a member of the profession that holds an advanced degree or the equivalent, or if you have exceptional ability. Generally, you must have a permanent offer for employment to qualify, and the employer needs to obtain a certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. The purpose of the certification is for the government to verify that the admission of a foreign employee to the U.S. will not harm job opportunities available to U.S. workers.
What are the occupational categories and requirements?
- Advanced Degree – The job you apply for must require an advanced degree, and you must possess such a degree or the equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years of progressive work experience in the field).
- Exceptional Ability – You must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. The exceptional ability means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.
- National Interest Waiver – Aliens seeking a national interest waiver are requesting that the Labor Certification be waived because it is in the interest of the United States. Though the jobs that qualify for a national interest waiver are not defined by statute, national interest waivers are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the nation. Those seeking a national interest waiver may self-petition (they do not need an employer to sponsor them).
Can my family members get a Permanent Residence (Green Card)?
Your spouse and children under the age of 21 may be admitted to the United States in E-21 and E-22 immigrant status, respectively. They may also apply for Employment Authorization Document (EAD) during the permanent residency process.
What documents do I need for the EB-2 Visa?
Some of the documents you will need to include are:
- Your official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to your area of exceptional ability.
- Several letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation.
- A license to practice your profession or certification for your profession or occupation.
- Evidence that you have a salary or other form of remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability.
- Membership in a professional association(s).
- Several letters of recommendation by your peers, government entities, or professional or business organizations, describing your recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your field of expertise.
What is the EB-3 employment-based category?
You may be eligible for this immigrant visa category if you are a skilled worker, professional, or other worker. “Skilled workers” are persons whose job requires a minimum of 2 years of training or work experience and not of a temporary or seasonal nature. “Professionals” are persons whose job requires at least a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent and are members of the professions. The “other workers” subcategory is for persons performing unskilled labor requiring less than 2 years of training or experience and not of a temporary or seasonal nature.
You must have a permanent offer for employment to qualify and the employer needs to obtain a certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. The purpose of the certification is for the government to verify that the admission of a foreign employee to the U.S. will not harm job opportunities available to U.S. workers.
- Skilled Workers – You must be able to demonstrate at least 2 years of job experience or training. You must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the United States.
- Professionals – These are, among others, architects, engineers, lawyers, doctors, surgeons, elementary or secondary teachers, university, academics or seminarians. You must be able to demonstrate that you possess a U.S. baccalaureate degree or foreign degree equivalent and that a baccalaureate degree is the standard required for entry into the occupation. You must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the United States. Education and experience may not be substituted for a baccalaureate degree.
- Unskilled Workers (Other Workers) – You must be capable, at the time the petition is filed on your behalf, of performing unskilled labor (requiring less than 2 years training or experience), that is not of a temporary or seasonal nature, for which qualified workers are not available in the United States.
What is the EB-4 employment-based category?
You may be eligible for this visa preference if you are a Religious Worker. You may immigrate to the U.S. if you are a minister or non-minister in religious vocations and occupations for the purpose of performing religious work in a full-time paid position.
To qualify as a special immigrant religious worker, you must prove:
- That you have been a member of a religious denomination that has a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least 2 years immediately before the filing of a petition for this status with USCIS.
- That you seek to enter the United States to work in a full-time, compensated position in one of the following occupations:
- Solely as a minister of that religious denomination;
- A religious vocation either in a professional or nonprofessional capacity; or
- A religious occupation either in a professional or nonprofessional capacity.
- That you are coming to work for either:
- A bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States; or
- A bona fide organization that is affiliated with the religious denomination in the United States.
- That you have been working in one of the positions described above after the age of 14, either abroad or in the United States, continuously for at least 2 years immediately before the filing of a petition with USCIS. The prior religious work need not to correspond precisely to the type of work to be performed. A break in the continuity of the work during the preceding two years will not affect eligibility so long as:
- The foreign national was still employed as a religious worker;
- The break did not exceed 2 years; and
- The nature of the break was for further religious training or for a sabbatical. However, the foreign national must have been a member of the petitioner’s denomination throughout the 2 years of qualifying employment.
What is the EB-5 employment-based category?
If you are an investor, you can qualify for a U.S. Permanent Residence (Green Card) through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. To do so, you must invest in a commercial enterprise in the United States and create economic movement through ten permanent full-time jobs. You can choose between a $500,000 investment in a “Regional Center” or a $1 million investment of your choice.
Investment through a Regional Center allows you to qualify for a permanent residence without the constraints of having to set up and operate a U.S. business. This option also allows you to live anywhere in the United States, engage in any other activity, work, or retire.
What is a “Regional Center”?
Regional Centers are legal entities, organizations, or municipal or state agencies approved by USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) that allow foreign investors to qualify for a permanent residence through investment. Regional Centers focus on areas in the United States where they seek to promote economic growth through new jobs, economic activity, export sales, and development.
What is the EB-5 application process?
The process begins with our attorneys helping our clients choose a Regional Center. Once the $500,000 investment money is secured, our office prepares a Form I-526 petition, along with the preparation of all the supporting evidence that accompanies the application and submits it to USCIS. It is crucial for the Form I-526 petition approval that the investment funds were legally obtained. The Regional Center is responsible for providing all relevant information regarding the Investment Project to our attorneys.
The adjudication of the Form I-526 petition by USCIS currently takes approximately 12-18 months. The time varies depending on the number of pending applications with USCIS.
Do I get a 2-Year Conditional Permanent Residency?
Yes, once the Form I-526 is approved, investors can adjust their status to permanent residents if the investor is living in the United States in non-immigrant visa status or through the U.S. consulate/Embassy if the investor is living abroad. At the end of one of these two processes, the foreign investor obtains a 2-year conditional permanent residency.
How do I remove the conditions of the Permanent Residency/Green Card?
During the final 90 days of the 2-year conditional residence, the foreign investor must file Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions. Our attorneys will present proof that the foreign investor maintained the investment and that the Regional Center created at least ten jobs per immigrant investor, as presented in the Form I-526 petition. This process is currently taking approximately 18 months.
Do I have to do due diligence?
Yes. Our office encourages foreign investors to conduct their own due diligence prior to making an investment. Foreign investors should understand in great detail how the Regional Center of their choice works. We assist our clients during this entire process to ensure that the investment is managed with the least risk possible.
Terra Immigration can help.