Current U.S. immigration law provides several paths for foreign workers to enter the United States for employment purposes on a temporary or permanent basis. Effective representation is critical in obtaining employment based immigration.
Employment-Based Immigration: EB-1 Priority Workers
This preference is reserved for persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics; outstanding researchers or university professors; and executives or managers of multinational corporations. This category is less costly and takes less time to complete than other classifications. Although this is the fastest way to get an employment-based green card, it is extremely document-heavy and the USCIS reviews this petition with a high level of scrutiny.
Employment-Based Immigration: EB-2 Advanced Workers
There are three types of EB-2 green cards:
- Professionals who hold advanced degrees
- Foreign nationals with exceptional knowledge in the sciences, arts or business
- Professionals whose work benefits the national interest of the U.S.
- This category has several stages that need to be successfully completed prior to green card sponsorship. This proves to be a lengthier and more rigorous process than the EB-1 green card.
Employment-Based Immigration: EB-3 Skilled/Other Workers
This preference is reserved for professionals with a bachelor’s degree (or foreign equivalent); skilled workers, including foreign nationals with at least two years of training or work experience who may or may not hold a degree; and other or unskilled workers filling a job that requires less than two years of training or experience. This category is the most common with a higher number of foreign nationals that qualify under this preference category and has a lengthy average approval waiting period of six to nine years.
Employment-Based Immigration: EB-4 Special Immigrants
This preference is reserved for “special immigrants” which includes certain religious workers, employees of the U.S. foreign service posts, retired employees of international organizations, armed forces members, broadcasters and more. To petition for an employment-based fourth preference immigrant, an employer must file a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. However, there are certain situations where the employee may self-petition.
Employment-Based Immigration: EB-5 Special Investor
This preference is reserved for entrepreneurs (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) who make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States. Applicants for a green card through investment (Employment Fifth Preference or EB-5) must not only invest $1 million in a new, restructured, or expanded U.S. business (or $500,000 if it’s in an economically disadvantaged area), they must take an active role in that business. They do not, however, need to actually control the business. The business can be located anywhere in the U.S., so long as you maintain your investment for at least three years and are actively engaged with it. It doesn’t matter where you get the money for the investment. Gifts and inheritances, for example, are fine—so long as you obtained it lawfully. You may even use borrowed funds as long as you remain personally liable in the event of a default, and the loan is adequately secured (and not by assets of the business you are buying). The business must employ at least ten full-time workers, produce a service or product, and benefit the U.S. economy. Full-time employment is defined as requiring at least 35 hours of service per week. As the investor, you do not need any particular business training or experience. Nor does it matter which country you come from.