To be considered for an immigrant visa under some of the employment-based categories below, your prospective employer or agent must first obtain a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor. Once received, your employer then files an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the appropriate employment-based preference category. The five preference categories are:
Priority Workers (E1)
Priority Workers receive 28.6 percent of the yearly limit. There are three groups in this category:
- Persons with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.
- Outstanding professors and researchers with at least three years experience in teaching or research, who are recognized internationally.
- Multinational managers or executives who have been employed for at least one of the three preceding years by the overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of the U.S. employer.
Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability (E2)
Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability receive 28.6 percent of the yearly limit, plus any unused visas from the first preference category. There are two groups in this category:
- Professionals holding an advanced degree (beyond a baccalaureate degree), or a baccalaureate degree and at least five years progressive experience in the profession.
- Persons with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability means having a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business
Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers (Other Workers) (E3)
Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers receive 28.6 percent of the yearly employment-based immigrant visas, plus any unused visas from the first and second preference categories.
There are three groups within this category:
- Skilled workers are persons whose jobs require a minimum of 2 years training or work experience that are not temporary or seasonal.
- Professionals are members of the professions whose jobs require at least a baccalaureate degree from a U.S. university or college or its foreign equivalent degree.
- Unskilled workers (Other workers) are persons capable of filling positions that require less than two years training or experience that are not temporary or seasonal.
Certain Special Immigrants (E4)
Special Immigrants receive 7.1 percent of the yearly limit. There are many subgroups within this category. For more information on these subgroups, follow this link: E4 subgroups.
Immigrant Investors (E5)
Immigrant Investor visa categories are for capital investment by foreign investors in new commercial enterprises in the United States which provide job creation.