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What are Employment-Based Green Cards?

Employment-Based Green Cards, also known as EB Green Cards or EB visas, are immigrant visas that allow foreign nationals to live and work permanently in the United States. In most cases, these visas are granted to individuals who have received a specific job offer from a U.S. employer or who possess a certain set of skills, abilities, or education that are in high demand in the current U.S. job market.

Key Takeaways

  • Employment-Based Green Cards are a certain type of immigrant visa that allows foreign nationals to live and work permanently in the United States.
  • There are several categories within the EB green card system, including EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-4 and EB-5.
  • There are annual quotas for EB green cards, which means that there may be waiting periods for certain preference categories with high demand.

Types of Employment-Based Green Cards

There are five preference-based Employment-Based (EB) visas/green cards that grant permanent residency in the United States to individuals. The categories are detailed below:

    • EB-1: The EB-1 visa, falling under the first preference in the employment-based category, is specifically designated for foreign nationals showcasing exceptional expertise within their respective field. This generally includes positions in the arts, sciences, education, business and athletics. EB-1 visas are also given to certain professors and researchers as well as managers or executives of multinational companies. During the application process, the applicant may be asked to demonstrate his or her extraordinary abilities through awards, publications, or prove qualifications by providing evidence.
    • EB-2: EB-2 visas are intended for professionals with advanced degrees or their equivalent with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. The EB-2 category likely includes the most individuals who could potentially qualify for an employment-based green card. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you must be able to provide an “official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to your area of exceptional ability”
    • EB-3: EB-3 visas are designed for skilled workers with at least two years of training or experience, professionals with a bachelor's degree, and in some rare cases, other workers with less than two years of training or experience. The USCIS awards about forty thousand EB-3 visas each year. Your employment offer must also be for full-time employment; seasonal or temporary workers are not eligible for this visa category.
    • E-4: Certain special immigrants, including religious workers, employees of U.S. foreign service posts, and other specific groups may be eligible for E-4 visas. Generally, requirements vary depending on the specific category of special immigrant, but typically involve meeting specific criteria related to the individual's role or status. Only 10,000 EB-4 visas are awarded each year.
  • E-5: This green card category is designed for immigrant investors who invest a certain amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise that creates jobs for U.S. workers. In order to become eligible, the USCIS requires that you invest a specified amount of capital in a qualifying new commercial enterprise and create or preserve a certain number of jobs for at least 10 U.S. workers. As of 2024, the immigrant must have invested at least $1 million (or $500,000 in a high-unemployment or rural area) in order to qualify for an E-5 visa.

Bottom Line

Whether you possess extraordinary abilities and advanced degrees, or seek to explore a new investment opportunity, an employment-based green card may be right for you. For personalized guidance and assistance navigating the EB visa process, consider reaching out to a professional at Attorney At Law.

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