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Business Immigration

Employment-Based Permanent Residency

Employment-Based Immigrant Visas are Divided Into the Following Categories:


First Preference (EB-1)

The EB-1 category covers:

  • Individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, business or athletics.

  • Outstanding professors or researchers.

  • Managers and executives soon to be transferred to the US.


Individuals with Extraordinary Ability

USCIS defines this category of foreign nationals as “individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation.” Also, the petitioner’s entry into the US based on extraordinary ability must “substantially benefit prospectively the United States.”

To apply for this category you must submit evidence of a one-time achievement such as a major internationally recognized award (such as an Olympic Medal or a Nobel Prize)  or at least three of the following requirements as proof with your completed application to USCIS:

  • Lesser recognized prizes or awards for excellence.

  • Membership in association in your field of expertise which demands outstanding achievement of its members.

  • Articles published about you in major publications and other media.

  • Judgement others’ works as an individual or on a panel.

  • Original contributions to your field.

  • Published articles in your field in major publications and other media.

  • Display of work in exhibitions.

  • A leading or critical role in a distinguished organization.

  • Receipt of high payments for your work in relation to your peers.

  • Commercial success in the performing arts.

Note: Comparable evidence is acceptable in certain situations.

Outstanding Professors and Researchers

To be classified as an outstanding professor or researcher, you must:

  • International recognition in your field;

  • At least three years’ experience in research or teaching in your academic area; and

  • A job offer from an accredited university / institution for higher education to work in a tenure-track teaching / comparable research program. The job offer can also be for a permanent research position at a private institution, provided the department employs at least three full-time researchers and has achieved documented accomplishments in an academic field.

To prove you are “recognized internationally as outstanding in the academic field,” you must provide documentation of at least two of the following:

  • Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement.

  • Membership in associations in your profession, which demands outstanding achievement from their members.

  • Articles about your work that have appeared in major publications.

  • Proof that you have judged others’ work in the same area or allied academic field.

  • Original scientific or scholarly research contributions in your field.

  • Authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in your field.

Multinational Managers and Executives

The EB-1 category allows multinational companies to transfer their executives or managers to the US from their parent and affiliate offices outside the US.

To apply as a multinational manager or executive, you must prove:

  • You have worked as a manager or executive in an overseas office of your US sponsor for at least one out of three years preceding the transfer to the US.

  • You will be joining the sponsoring US company as an executive or manager.

  • The sponsoring US company has a qualifying legal and ownership relationship with the company overseas.

Procedure for Applying for an EB-1 Visa

Individuals with extraordinary ability may self-petition and do not need a sponsoring employer to apply for their visa. They are also exempt from the labor certification process. All other EB-1 visa petitions require a sponsoring employer.


Second Preference (EB-2):

Members of professions holding advanced degrees or who exhibit exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business and who will prospectively benefit the US.

The EB-2 classification is open to:

  • Individuals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business.

  • Professionals with advanced degrees.

  • Physicians intending to practice medicine in under-served areas.

Individuals with Exceptional Ability in the Sciences, Arts or Business

USCIS defines “exceptional ability” in the sciences, arts or business as “a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered.”

Professionals with Advanced Degrees

USCIS defines an advanced degree as “a professional or academic degree, given by a US institution, beyond that of a baccalaureate” (i.e. above a bachelor’s degree).


A foreign degree from an overseas institution is acceptable only if USCIS determines that the degree is equivalent to a US degree.

Qualified Physicians

If you are a qualified physician who will be practicing in a “medically underserved area,” you may apply for an employment-based visa under the EB-2 category along with a national interest waiver.


Third Preference (EB-3)

The EB-3 category includes:

  • Individuals with at least two year experience as a skilled worker.

  • Professionals with a bachelor’s degree.

  • Unskilled laborers who possess less than two years of work experience in a field where US workers are not available.

Documents required for an EB-3 Visa

To apply for EB-3, the following are required:

  • A job offer from your US employer which states that they are hiring you for a job for which you have the requisite training/education.

  • Labor Certification from the US Department of Labor.

Note: Without exception, all EB-3 applications must include both a Labor Certification and a job offer. The job requirements and your background determines whether you are classified as “skilled,” “unskilled,” or “professional.”

To qualify as:

  • Skilled: Provide evidence of capability in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience.

  • Professional: Provide evidence of a US bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) to join the profession. 

  • Other Workers: Provide evidence of the required experience in the job.

How to Apply for an EB-3 Visa:

  • Your employer must obtain an approved Labor Certification which mentions that the position offered requires your level of education, training or experience.

  • After the Labor Certification has been approved, your employer must file Form I-140 (Petition for Alien Workers) on your behalf.


Fourth Preference (EB-4)

A catch-all category including, but not limited to, juveniles declared dependent by a juvenile court, qualified foreign medical graduates, returning residents, U.S government employees, Panama Central Treaty Employees, and foreign nationals practicing in specialized areas including clergy and religious workers. 

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The content of this website is intended to convey general information and not to provide legal opinions or advice.

It is not intended to serve as legal advice.

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