Employment-Based Immigrant Visas For Foreign Nationals
Author: Jameel Manji, Founder, Manji Law, P.C.
Mr. Manji founded Manji Law in 2016 to follow his passion of helping people navigate the complicated immigration system. Mr. Manji graduated from Georgia State University College of Law and received Master of Taxation from the Georgia State’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Published on: July 07, 2021, Last Updated on: August 17, 2021.
Employment-based immigrant visas allow certain foreign nationals to gain permanent residence in the United States based on their skills, education, and work experience. Learn more here.
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What Are Employment-Based Immigrant Visas?
If you are a foreigner who either is looking for a job in the United States or has recently secured one, you will inevitably need to acquire an employed-based immigrant visa to ensure that you can legally live and work in the country.
Technically, immigrant employment-based visas give those who apply a chance to be lawful permanent residents and receive a green card in the United States. With this legal status, you may eventually be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship. This differs from a nonimmigrant visa, which should only be pursued if you are an alien worker who plans to work in the U.S. on a temporary basis.
Below, we outline what foreign workers need to know about employment-based immigrant visas in the United States.
How To Get an Employment-Based Immigrant Visa
If you are interested in being a permanent resident worker, you may be interested in getting an employment-based green card. To obtain this permit, there are several things you need to qualify under as listed below.
The employment category is divided into five preferences. Therefore, you need to be eligible under one of the categories to qualify for an employment-based immigrant visa. If you need assistance, contact an immigration visas lawyer for further consultations.
Employment-Based Immigrant Visa Categories
The United States typically makes approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas available each fiscal year for employment-based immigrants under the provision of U.S. immigration law. However, there are certain qualities that one must possess to be eligible to work in the United States permanently.
The Bureau of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services usually determines whether an individual has qualified under different categories. To be permitted, one should possess the right combination of education, occupation skills, and work experience to be certified for an employed-based immigrant visa. In most cases, you will also need an active job offer that also meets several requirements.
The Different Types Of Employment-Based Immigrant Visas
There are five employment-based visa preference categories that one should qualify for to acquire a green card. The five preference categories include:
EB-1 First Preference: Priority Workers
This is the employment first preference category that is reserved for highly skilled individuals. This includes those with an extraordinary ability for education, arts, sciences, and even athletics and whose achievements have gained national or international acclaim through extensive documentation, such as winning an award like a Nobel prize or an Olympic medal. It also includes outstanding professors and researchers as well as multinational professionals working in a managerial or executive capacity.
EB-2 Second Preference: Professionals With Advanced Degrees Or Persons With Exceptional Ability
The second category is for individuals who hold an advanced degree or a baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree, exceptional ability in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, and aliens seeking a national interest waiver.
Under the employment second preference, petitions must be accompanied by a verified individual labor certification from the Department of Labor unless they can obtain a national interest waiver. For foreigners seeking national interest waivers, the USCIS office requires evidence that the contributions of these individuals would impact the national economy or cultural or educational interests of the nation.
EB-3 Third Preference: Skilled Workers, Professionals, Or Other Workers
This is the employment third preference category, which is reserved for those individuals who are skilled workers or professionals in particular fields and other workers. One can acquire a permanent residency in the third preference if the U.S. has approved their labor certification.
For this third preference, the requirements are a bit stricter than the first and the second preference. When completing their visa petition, the petitioning employer must display the ability to pay the offered wage as of the visa priority date.
EB-4 Fourth Preference: Special Immigrants
The employment fourth preference category comprises two groups: a lawful permanent resident coming back for permanent residence in the United States after some authorized stay abroad and those individuals who are reacquiring U.S. citizenship.
EB-5 Fifth Preference: Investor Visa
This is mainly designated for foreign investors. For EB-5 applicants, an individual must make a huge capital investment of almost over a million dollars in a U.S. business entity. However, the compulsory capital requirement relies on where the U.S. company receiving the investment is located. Other requirements apply for both the foreign national investor as well as the investment.
How To Apply For Employment-Based Visa
If you want to immigrate to the U.S. on the basis of employment, there are various processes that you need to follow. Below are the steps you need to follow when applying for a visa:
Know Your Visa Type
Before filing your application, you should be well-informed on the type of visa you qualify for to ensure that you complete the right type of application. USCIS has an in-depth guide to the qualifications for each type of visa on its website. However, this information can be overwhelming, nuanced, and difficult to understand for many, so it may be a good idea to consult a legal professional to be certain that you qualify for your desired type of employment-based immigration visa.
Complete Your Application
Complete the application process by strictly following the guidelines and ensuring all the information you have provided is accurate and correct. If you need assistance with this, be sure to consult an immigration lawyer. In any case, the help of a legal professional can greatly reduce the odds of a mistake or misunderstanding delaying the processing of your application.
Pay Your Visa Fees
Once you are done with the two above processes, you must pay your visa fees, referring to the visa fee page of your application or the USCIS website for guidelines.
Submit Your Application
It’s crucial to know where to submit your application. To ensure that it is safely and accurately filed, one should submit their employment-based immigration visa application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which will forward the petition to the National Visa Center.
Schedule Your Interview Appointment
There are usually two scheduled appointments—one for visa appointments and the other for a visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate. Be sure to have all the required information on hand, from the passport number to the visa receipt number.
Attend Your Interview
This will require you to have all the documents needed, including your appointment confirmation page, one photograph, and a passport valid to travel to the United States.
Track Your Visa
As soon as your visa is approved, it is usually ready to be collected from the pick-up location.
Employment-Based Immigrant Visa Interview Questions
The interview is particularly the most crucial stage of the process. Usually, the interested foreign national is asked a couple of questions to determine their legitimacy to obtain a green card on an employment basis.
Below is an overview of what questions you are likely to expect:
- Your current residential status
- The company you are going to work for
- The salary, remuneration, and job condition for the new employment
- Your educational background, training, and experience
- Your admissibility, e.g. whether you have any immigration violations or misrepresentations
Employment-Based Immigrant Visas Quota
There is usually a limit to the number of visas issued to prevent an excessive number of immigrants from coming from any specific country. For every fiscal year, the U.S. usually makes approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas available for qualified applicants under the provisions of U.S. immigration law. This is why having a strong application is so important.
If you need an employment-based green card, there are certain qualities you should meet to be eligible for this visa. The employment-based immigrants’ visa is usually granted to qualified applicants who qualify under specific employment-based categories.
For permanent employment, make sure to obtain a lawful immigrant visa to avoid expulsion or deportation. But in case you are going through a deportation process, contact a deportation attorney for migration advice.
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