Employment-based Permanent Residence ("Green Card")
Foreign nationals may apply for permanent residence (green card) in the United States based on their employment status. Each fiscal year, approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas (green cards) are made available to qualified foreign nationals. These visas are divided into five preference categories denominated EB-1 through EB-5.
For some of the preference categories (categories EB-2 and EB-3), the foreign national’s prospective employer must obtain a labor certification from the Department of Labor. Pursuant to this certification process, the employer must establish, among other things, that there are insufficient minimally qualified U.S. workers to fill the applicant’s position at the prevailing wage for that position, and that employment of the foreign worker will not have an adverse effect on the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. Once certification is obtained, the employer, or in limited cases, the applicant, must file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”).
How We Can Help
We have significant experience working with international clients on the green card process. We take the time to understand each of our clients’ qualifications and recommend a course of action which will maximize the chances of a successful permanent residence application. Our multi-disciplinary background in engineering and business is a significant asset, enabling us to fully comprehend and accurately describe the background and qualifications of our technical and investor clients. In addition to our legal expertise, our language skills in Spanish and Portuguese make us particularly helpful to our Latin American, Spanish, and Portuguese clients.
We help our clients with the following employment-based immigrant visas:
Family-based Immigration (Permanent Residency)
Employment First Preference (EB-1): Priority Workers
First preference (EB-1) applicants are entitled to 28.6 percent of the yearly worldwide limit of employment-based immigrant visas. There are three first preference (EB-1) sub-categories of applicants:
Persons with extraordinary ability – Must demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.These persons need not have specific job offers in the U.S. if they are entering the country to continue work in their fields of extraordinary ability.Such applicants can file their own Form I-140 petition.
Outstanding professors and researchers – Must have at least three years teaching or research experience and be recognized internationally. For these applicants, the prospective employer must provide a job offer and file a Form I-140 with USCIS.
Multinational managers or executives – Must have been employed abroad by a company in a control relationship with the U.S. employer for at least one of the three preceding years. For these applicants, the prospective employer must provide a job offer and file a Form I-140 with USCIS.
Employment Second Preference (EB-2): Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability
Second preference (EB-2) applicants receive 28.6 percent of the yearly worldwide limit of employment-based immigrant visas plus any unused visas from the first preference (EB-1) category. These applicants must generally have labor certification, a job offer, and a Form I-140 filed by the prospective U.S. employer on behalf of the applicant. Applicants may apply for an exemption from the job offer and labor certification requirements if such an exemption would be in the national interest. Second preference (EB-2) visas are available to:
Professionals holding an advanced degree – Must be a higher level degree than a baccalaureate degree or a baccalaureate degree and at least five years of progressive experience in the profession; and
Persons with exceptional ability in sciences, arts or business.
Employment Third Preference (EB-3): Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers
Third preference (EB-3) applicants receive 28.6 percent of the yearly worldwide limit of employment-based immigrant visas, plus any unused visas from the first preference (EB-1) and second preference (EB-2) categories. These applicants must generally have labor certification, a job offer, and a Form I-140 filed by the prospective U.S. employer on behalf of the applicant. Third preference (EB-3) visas are available to:
Skilled workers - persons whose jobs require a minimum of 2 years non-temporary training or work experience;
Professionals – persons whose jobs require at least a baccalaureate degree from a U.S. university or college or its foreign equivalent degree; and
Unskilled workers - persons who can fill positions that require less than two years training or experience.
Employment Fourth Preference (EB-4): Certain Special Immigrants
Fourth preference (EB-4) applicants receive 7.1 percent of the yearly worldwide limit of employment-based immigrant visas. This preference category encompasses a broad array of applicants, including certain foreign reporters, certain religious workers, certain former employees of the U.S. government in the Panama Canal Zone, certain Iraqi and Afghan nationals who have assisted the U.S. government, certain physicians, and certain retired international organization employees. With limited exceptions, fourth preference (EB-4) applicants must be the beneficiaries of an approved Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, Form I-360. Labor certification is not required for fourth preference (EB-4) applicants.
Employment Fifth Preference (EB-5): Investor Visas
Fifth preference (EB-5) investors receive up to 7.1 percent of the yearly worldwide limit of employment-based immigrant visas. This preference category is available to those foreign nationals who invest, without borrowing, the following minimum amounts in a qualifying commercial enterprise:
$1,000,000 (U.S.); or
$500,000 (U.S.) in a high-unemployment or rural area, considered a targeted employment area.
Within two years, a qualifying investment must create full-time jobs for at least 10 U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, or other immigrants authorized to work in the United States, not including the investor and the investor’s spouse or children. Qualifying investors will be given conditional residency and must petition for unconditional residency within two years of receiving conditional residency.