Obtaining a Green Card via Employment-Based Immigration
It is possible to procure a green card, which grants you lawful permanent residency, through a sponsoring employee. However, the United States only grants a limited number of employment-based green cards per year, making the process extremely competitive. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines the allocation of immigrant work visas through a descending, preferential scale. Understanding how this system works and how best to leverage it can be the difference between obtaining and not obtaining a green card.
USCIS grants immigrant work visas in the following 5 preferential categories:
- EB-1: Priority Workers, Including Those of “Extraordinary Ability.” The first preference category targets those who can demonstrate “extraordinary” ability in their field. Those who qualify under “extraordinary” conditions do not need a sponsoring employer. EB-1 visas can also be granted to executives or managers who seek to transfer into the United States via an international corporation. 40,000 visas are initially reserved for this category, and any excess applicants get prioritized should there be deficiencies in other categories.
- EB-2: Advanced Degree Professionals. Workers with a Master’s degree, Juris Doctor, medical degree, or similarly advanced foreign degree can qualify for this second preference category. They will need to be sponsored by an employer for a position that requires the skills of the advanced degree. Applicants with a Bachelor’s degree can sometimes also qualify if they can 5 years of progressive experience in the relevant profession. 40,000 visas are reserved for this category.
EB-3: Professionals, Skilled Workers, and Unskilled Workers. The third preference category encompasses workers with Bachelor’s degrees (and without 5 years of progressive experience), workers without a degree but at least 2 years of relevant work experience, or those able to fill a full-time, “unskilled” job that is not seasonal or temporary. Regardless, EB-3 visa applicants will need an employer to sponsor them. 40,000 visas are set aside for this category, with 10,000 of that specifically earmarked for unskilled workers.
- EB-4: Miscellaneous. The fourth preference category covers several types of “special” immigrant cases. These can include longtime U.S. government workers, religious clergy, and retirees of certain international organizations. We can advise you on whether you might qualify for an EB-4 subcategory.
- EB-5: Investors. The fifth and final preference category requires a financial investment on the part of the applicant. As of 2020, an EB-5 applicant must invest a minimum $900,000 into a United States business in which they take an active role. 10,000 visas are allocated for this category, but only a limited number can be given to applicants from any given country. In recent years, applicants from China, Vietnam, and India have exceeded the individual country threshold and necessitated the creation of a wait list.
There is almost always a tremendously high demand for employment-based green cards, meaning your placement on the preferential category system could be critical in whether you receive a visa. Our Manhattan employment immigration attorney understands how to best position applications to give our clients optimal odds of success.
Employment-based immigration can be a challenging, overwhelming process. Call (212) 227-8020or contact us online to learn how our team can work to make the process easier. Reach out to John Nicelli & Associates today.