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Immigrate to the United States with an Employment-Based Green Card

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If you meet specific requirements set forth by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), obtaining an employment-based green card allows you to permanently live and work in the United States.

Employment-Based Green Cards

There are two ways to immigrate to the US if you don’t already have a US passport and wish to do so to become a citizen: family-based immigration or employment-based immigration. If you’re a talented foreign worker, employment-based green card immigration can be your best choice. Let’s say you have the experience and skills in demand in the US. Then, if you meet specific requirements, you might be eligible for an employment-based green card, which would allow you to apply for permanent residency and obtain your green card.

The first requirement for this kind of green card is that you have a willing employer that would sponsor your application for a green card through the U.S. Department of Labor. Your employer must demonstrate that they searched for and failed to find an American employee with an equivalent level of qualification for the position before they can file Form I-140 on your behalf with the U.S.

Contrary to popular belief, obtaining a green card based on a job is much simpler than most people think. However, the process can still be daunting if you’re not ready to approach it from all sides. But if you get off to the right start and have a plan, you’ll soon be on your road to U.S. citizenship. Check out this step-by-step guide on obtaining a green card based on the job if you need assistance with this challenging task. So continue reading to learn more about your choices and how to make your dream of living in the United States.

What is an Employment-Based Green Card?

Employment-Based Green Cards are issued based on a determination by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that no American workers can be found to fill a job opening. The principal applicants for Employment-Based Green Cards are employers, who must file petitions for individuals they wish to hire. A work authorization will also be automatically given upon filing an employer’s petition for a foreign employee, at which point immigration approval will follow shortly after.

After receiving a labor certification from the Department of Labor, the employer should submit Form I-140 and supporting evidence such as academic degrees and job experience. After waiting for 18 months or more, depending on eligibility factors such as country of origin or level of education, it’s time to get another application called Petition for Alien Worker, which needs to be filed within 18 months after approval of Form I-140.

Types of Employment-Based Green Cards

Here’s the list of employment-based subcategories and the types of jobs that fall under them. “EB” stands for “employment-based,” and each number following “EB” notes the preference of each category:

  • EB-1 is the first preference
  • EB-2 is the second preference
  • EB-3 is the third preference

There are also EB-4 and EB-5 categories, yet these do not fall under the preference system of the first three employment-based categories. However, within the employment-based green card category, multiple subcategories of workers can apply for permanent residence. Sometimes, their spouses and children may also qualify for a green card. These are the different employment categories to gain a green card sponsorship.

EB-1 Visa for Priority Workers

Although only a small number of applicants meet this requirement, those that do often have the quickest application turnaround times for green cards. EB-1 priority workers possess unique and remarkable science, art, education, business, athletics, or sports skills. This group also includes academics and researchers. This category emphasizes qualification for those who have achieved widespread recognition for their field contributions. Certain managers and executives from international firms may apply for a Green Card based on employment in this category.

Meanwhile, there are three sub-groups within this category:

  • Persons with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.
  • Outstanding professors and researchers with at least three years of experience in teaching or research are recognized internationally.
  • Multinational managers or executives have been employed by the overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of the U.S. employer for at least one of the three preceding years.

EB-2 Visa for Professionals With Advanced Degrees or Persons With Exceptional Ability

This category is for people with extraordinary or exceptional abilities who can benefit the nation with educational or cultural-related activities. People in the fields of science, art, and business are also included in this group. Learned professionals with five years of work experience and advanced degrees can apply through this category.


Moreover, there are two subgroups within this category:

  • Professionals holding an advanced degree (beyond a baccalaureate degree) or a baccalaureate degree with at least five years of progressive professional experience.
  • 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.

EB-3 Visa for Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers (Other Workers)

The third preference category is for those with jobs that don’t apply to the first two categories. For each of these worker categories, the work performed must be one of which there are not enough qualified workers already available in the United States. People who apply through the EB-3 category need two years of training experience. It also includes people from abroad with an undergraduate degree or vocational training. The great thing about this category is that it also provides an opportunity for the immigration of unskilled workers with sufficient experience in fields that aren’t abundant in the U.S.

EB-4 Visa for Special Immigrants

This category predominantly tends to receive applications from religious workers representing a nonprofit organization in the U.S., employees and former employees of the U.S. government from abroad, and translators for the U.S. Armed Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

EB-5 Visa for Investors (Employment Creation)

These foreign nationals are all investors and entrepreneurs intending to invest more than $1,000,000 into the U.S. economy. They will create or preserve more than ten permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers. This preference category is also known as the Immigrant Investor Program. In certain instances, the requirements may be lowered to an investment of $500,000, creating five new full-time jobs.

Required Documentation for Employment-Based Green Card

The following are the essential documents required for an employment-based green card application.

  • Passport(s) valid for six months beyond the intended date of entry into the United States
  • Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application.
  • Two passport-style photographs.
  • Civil Documents for the applicant
  • Financial Support
  • Completed Medical Examination Forms

How to Apply for Employment-Based Green Cards

There are specific steps to follow for a U.S. employer to successfully petition a foreign worker to become a permanent U.S. resident.

1. Employer or agent obtains labor certification approval

For most employment categories, the sponsoring employer must get a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor, which certifies that no qualified U.S. workers are available or willing to do the job the immigrant will be hired.

2. Employer files a petition with USCIS

If the labor certification is approved, the employer must file Form I-140, the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the appropriate employment-based preference category. Individuals from the E-B1 category have the opportunity to file their petitions.

3. USCIS sends a petition to the National Visa Center

Once USCIS approves the petition, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC), which will begin pre-processing the applicant’s case.

4. Immigrant applies for an immigrant visa or Green Card

The applicant’s prospective employer or agent must obtain labor certification approval from the Department of Labor. Once received (if required), the employer 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. However, if the applicant is already in the U.S., he or she could apply for an Adjustment of Status. Otherwise, the applicant would go through the process of getting a visa through an embassy or consulate.

How Long Does It Take?

Employment-based immigrant visa cases take additional time because they are in numerically limited visa categories. The length of time varies from case to case and cannot be predicted for individual cases accurately.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, foreign nationals without immediate family members in the U.S. can get an employment-based Green Card. We touched on five categories of people eligible for an employment-based Green Card. They need to comply with the requirements and submit the necessary paperwork. Make sure you work fast and accurately. Only a few people are allowed to immigrate to the U.S. annually. If you plan to live in the United States, a green card is your best solution to gaining permanent resident status.

Nevertheless, the length of the green card application procedure might vary significantly based on your eligibility status and the nation you are applying from. Follow this link to learn more about the specifications and instructions for applying for an employment-based Green Card in the United States.


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