EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCE CATEGORIES
(EB-1 THROUGH EB-3)
The Immigration and Nationality Act provides a yearly maximum of 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas which are divided into preference categories.
EMPLOYMENT-BASED FIRST PREFERENCE (EB-1)
Priority workers receive 28.6 percent of the yearly worldwide limit. All priority workers must be the beneficiaries of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Foreign Worker, which is filed with USCIS.
Within this preference there are three sub-groups:
- Persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. Applicants in this category must have extensive documentation showing sustained national or international acclaim and recognition in the field of expertise. This category is reserved for those individuals who have risen to the very top of their field. No labor certification is required for this classification. Applicants in the extraordinary ability category are not required to have a specific job offer so long as they are entering the U.S. to continue work in the field in which they have extraordinary ability.
- Outstanding professors and researchers with at least three years of experience teaching or conducting research, who are recognized internationally. No labor certification is required for this classification, but the prospective employer must provide a job offer and file an I-140 petition with USCIS.
- Certain executives and managers who have been employed abroad for at least one of the past three years prior to entering the U.S. by the overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of the U.S. employer. The applicant must be coming to work in a managerial or executive capacity. No labor certification is required for this classification, but the prospective employer must provide a job offer and file an I-140 petition with USCIS.
EMPLOYMENT-BASED SECOND PREFERENCE (EB-2)
Professionals holding advanced degrees, or individuals of exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business receive 28.6 percent of the yearly worldwide limit, plus any unused employment-based first preference category visas. Generally, applicants in this category must have a labor certification approved by the DOL, or Schedule A designation, or establish that they qualify for one of the shortage occupations in the Labor Market Information Pilot Program. Generally, a job offer is required and the U.S. employer must file an I-140 petition on behalf of the applicant. There are two subgroups within this category:
- Professionals whose positions require an advanced degree (beyond a baccalaureate degree), or whose positions require a baccalaureate degree and at least five years progressive experience in the profession.
- Individuals with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business. Exceptional ability means having a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered within the field.
National Interest Wavier
Foreign nationals may apply for a waiver of the job offer and labor certification requirement if the individual’s work would be in the U.S. national interest. In these cases, individuals may file their own petition, Form I-140, along with evidence demonstrating how their work serves the national interest of the United States.
EMPLOYMENT-BASED THIRD PREFERENCE (EB-3)
Skilled workers, professionals holding baccalaureate degrees, and other workers receive 28.6 percent of the yearly worldwide limit, plus any unused employment-based first and second preference category visas. All third preference applicants require an approved I-140 petition filed by the prospective employer. All such workers require a labor certification, or Schedule A designation, or evidence that they qualify for one of the shortage occupations in the Labor Market Information Pilot Program.
There are two subgroups within this category professionals workers with a bachelor’s degree; and skilled workers who are performing a job that requires at least two years’ of training or experience.