Employment-Based Immigration

There are five major categories of Employment-Based (EB) immigrant visas for US permanent residency and each category has its own eligibility requirements. Every year, approximately 140,000 permanent resident visas (and Green Cards) are issued through these Employment-Based programs. Some of these US immigration visas require that the foreign worker first receive a genuine offer of employment in the United States (i.e., to be sponsored by an employer in the USA), while others do not require a US job offer in advance. In some cases, the employer may need to get a labor certification from the United States Department of Labor before they file the petition for US immigration on behalf of the foreign worker they want to sponsor. The labor certification confirms that there are not enough qualified US workers available and willing to fill the job opening and also states that the wages and working conditions of US workers in that occupation will not be negatively affected by hiring a foreign worker.

The five Employment-Based (EB) US immigration visa categories are as follows:

1. EB-1 Visa (First Preference) – This US immigration visa is for qualified individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts, athletics, business, education and the sciences; outstanding researchers and professors; and multinational managers and other executives.

2. EB-2 Visa (Second Preference) – This US visa type is available to certain professionals with advanced university degrees (i.e., beyond a Bachelor’s Degree or having a Bachelor’s Degree combined with five years of relevant work experience); or individuals who have exceptional ability in the arts, business or sciences.

3. EB-3 Visa (Third Preference) – Qualified skilled workers whose occupations require at least two years of training or work experience, professionals whose jobs require at least a Bachelor’s Degree, and certain unskilled workers whose occupations require less than two years of training or work experience, may be able to apply for this US immigration visa.

4. EB-4 Visa (Fourth Preference) – “Special immigrants” (such as certain international broadcasters, ministers of religion, religious workers, or other specific types of immigrants) may be able to apply for immigration to the United States through this Employment-Based US visa category.

5. EB-5 Visa (Fifth Preference) – Foreign investors who make a substantial investment in a new business enterprise in the United States which will create a minimum of 10 full-time jobs for American workers within two years, may be able to receive a Green Card through this US immigration visa category.


If you are approved for a Green Card through one of these Employment-Based US immigration programs, you and your eligible family members (i.e., spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age) could live and work in the USA long-term (i.e., for an unlimited period of time), plus enjoy many other great benefits.

In addition to these Employment-Based US immigration programs, another way to live and work in the USA long-term with a Green Card is through the Diversity Visa Lottery Program. To learn more about the DV-Lottery, click here.