Countless individuals wish to enter the U.S. every year to pursue their passions and careers and earn a living for themselves and their families. Though this may seem straightforward, the process is often complicated and overwhelming. Below, our New York immigration team outlines each of the five types of employment visas and what it takes to obtain one.
Priority Workers: EB-1 Visas
EB-1 visas are available to individuals with extraordinary abilities, professors and researchers, or multinational executives/managers. While there may not be a need for a labor certification, there are certain criteria that need to be met depending on each occupation.
These individuals are able to demonstrate extraordinary skills in areas such as science, fine arts, business, or athletics. The achievements of these applicants must also be nationally or internationally recognized through extensive documentation.
There is also no need for an employment offer, but applicants must prove they are entering the United States to pursue their work within their area of expertise.
Professors and Researchers
These individuals must demonstrate international recognition for their achievements in a particular academic field. They must also have at least three years of experience in teaching or researching and must be entering the United States to pursue tenure, a tenure track teaching, or a comparable research position at an institution of higher education.
This category, however, does require a job offer from a university, institution of higher learning, or institute of a private employer.
Executives and Managers
Applicants must have worked in a managerial or executive capacity for a firm or corporation outside the United States for at least one year. This must also be during the three years before submitting the petition for a visa, and they must seek to enter the United States to continue service for that business.
The applicant’s employment must have been with the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the original employer, and must:
- Be an employer in the United States
- Have been doing business for at least one year as an affiliate, a subsidiary, or as the same corporation or other legal entity that employed the applicant abroad
Professionals with Advanced Degrees: EB-2 Visas
These visas are designated for individuals who hold advanced university degrees or hold exceptional ability in sciences, arts, or business. Individuals in this category are also typically able to gain a green card faster than other applicants due to the small number of people that qualify for the EB-2 visa.
Applicants must have an advanced degree or its equivalent, which is a bachelor’s degree plus five years of progressive work experience in their given field.
Acceptable documentation for this visa includes:
- Official academic records showing a U.S. advanced degree (or foreign equivalent)
- An official academic record showing a U.S. bachelor’s degree (or foreign equivalent) and letters from current or former employers proving at least five years of work experience in a given field after earning the degree.
Applicants under this category must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, which stand to benefit the U.S. economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare in the future. The definition of exceptional ability, in this case, means “a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.”
Professionals, Skilled Workers, & Unskilled Workers: EB-3 Visas
Applicants for these visas are required to hold a permanent, full-time job offer from a U.S. employer. The beginning of the application process falls on the employer by obtaining an approved labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor, to confirm the employer attempted to recruit U.S. workers for the position, but was unable to find a qualified or willing individual. Labor certification is required for all three EB-3 subcategories.
Workers eligible for this visa include:
- Professional workers - such as architects, lawyers, physicians, engineers, and teachers. These are workers holding university degrees no higher than a bachelor’s degree with less than five years of work experience.
- Skilled workers - workers in occupations that do not normally require a college degree, but need at least two years of experience or training. This can include computer and technical workers, cheers, stonemasons, and journalists.
- Unskilled workers - This includes any job not mentioned in the subcategories above. This includes housekeepers, nannies, farmers, custodial workers, garden workers, and nursing aides.
Special Immigrants: EB-4 Visas
Special immigrants are individuals who may be eligible for a Green Card based on specific visa categories that are listed in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Eligibility depends on the requirements for each visa category. Here is a list of eligible categories according to the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services:
- Religious workers
- Panama Canal Company Employees, Canal Zone Government Employees, or U.S. Government in the Canal Zone Employees
- G-4 International Organization Employees or Family Members or NATO-6 employees or family members
- Translators who have worked with United States armed forces
- Iraq nationals who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq
- Afghanistan nationals who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. government or the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan
Foreign Investors: EB-5 Visas
The final preference category of employment visas, EB-5 visas, are designated for immigrant investors. This visa allows these investors to gain permanent residency immediately upon their entry upon making the minimum investment in the U.S. economy.
The minimum investment has fluctuated in the past, but typically sits between $500,000 to $1 million. The U.S.-based enterprise must also create at least 10 full-time jobs for American workers.
Get in Touch with Our Team Today
We know how confusing and complex the process of gaining a visa can be. Through a compassionate and personalized approach, we are committed to helping you every step of the way.
If you would like to learn more about how you can sponsor one of your employees, don’t hesitate to contact us today through our online contact form, or give us a call at (212) 390-1024 today!