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: December 21, 2021.
Employment-based immigrant visas allow certain foreign nationals to gain permanent residence in the United States. Learn more here.
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What Are Employment-Based Immigrant Visas?
If you are a foreigner looking for a job in the United States or have 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.
You may eventually be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship with this legal status. 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. temporarily.
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-based preference category is divided into five. 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 meets several requirements.
You must have the appropriate qualifications that match your occupation. For example, if you are an accountant or engineer, you should have the essential education and/or experience required to qualify for an employment-based immigrant visa.
The U.S. employer must also petition for the foreign national worker and prove that no U.S. citizen worker can fill the position in question. The employer should also show that you can perform the job duties in question with or without reasonable accommodations.
This process can sometimes take several weeks or months, so we recommend that you start the application process as soon as possible.
The Different Types Of Employment-Based Immigrant Visas
There are five employment-based visa preference categories to qualify for a green card. The five preference categories include:
EB-1 First Preference: Priority Workers
This is the employment first preference category 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, researchers, and multinational professionals working in a managerial or executive capacity.
EB-2 Second Preference: Professionals With Advanced Degrees Or Persons With Exceptional Ability
The second employment-based preference 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 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (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 reserved for skilled workers or professionals in particular fields and other workers.
To acquire permanent residency status in the third preference, one must have a labor certification approved by the United States Department of Labor.
For this third preference, the requirements are a bit stricter than the first and the second preference. When completing an immigrant visa petition, the prospective 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 immigrant visa application, applicants 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 conditions apply for both the foreign national investor and the investment.
How To Apply For Employment-Based Visa
If you want to immigrate to the U.S. based on 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 challenging to understand for many. So it may be a good idea to consult a legal professional to ensure that you qualify for your desired type of immigrant visa application.
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 significantly 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 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 immigrant visa 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 solid 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 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.
Do You Want to Schedule a Consultation?
The legal permanent resident status is a complicated and nuanced topic that can be hard to understand.
While the above are just some of the most fundamentals of what you need to know, scheduling a consultation with an immigration attorney can be enormously helpful. They can help you figure out what specific steps you need to take in order to submit a successful application.
If you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our immigration attorneys, please complete the form on this page or give us a call. We will be happy to help you through the process and answer any questions.
Contact us now, and let us put our experience to work for you.
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