What are the Categories of Employment-Based Residency?

Immigration law is a complex area and those wishing to move to the United States to work would benefit from the knowledge and expertise of an immigration attorney, like those who work at Graham Adair.

These experts tell us that there are a few ways of gaining employment-based (EB) residency in the United States. In fact, there are five EB visas that, when granted, mean an individual has permanent residency in the U.S. Below is a brief outline of what each visa is and who is eligible.

EB-1 Visa

The EB-1 visa is granted to those with exceptional ability in a specific field, which could include athletics, education, business, science, or the arts. Within this visa, there are three categories. The EB-1a visa is granted to those with extraordinary ability, the EB-1b visa is for outstanding researchers or professors, and the EB-1c visa is for executives or managers of global companies.

EB-2 Visa

The EB-2 visa is awarded to those with an advanced degree or exceptional ability in their field of specialization. EB-2a visas are for those who hold an advanced degree in their area, EB-2b visas are awarded to those who have demonstrated exceptional ability in their field, and EB-2c visas are awarded to those who do not meet these criteria but the job on offer is in the interest of the United States.

EB-3 Visa

The EB-3 visa is for individuals who are classed as professionals or skilled workers. Skilled workers will have at least two years of training or job experience and the job on offer must be one for which there are not U.S. qualified workers. Professionals must hold a baccalaureate degree or equivalent. The job on offer must be one for which there are no available qualified workers in the U.S. Unskilled workers may also apply for an EB-3 visa. EB-3 visas usually take longer to be processed because the requirements are not as strict as those for EB-1 and EB-2 visas.

EB-4 Visa

The EB-4 visa is designed for special immigrants that do not meet the criteria for the EB-1-3 visas. This includes religious workers, some broadcasters, Iraqi or Afghan interpreters, and Iraqis or Afghans who were employed by the U.S. government.

EB-5 Visa

Wealthy individuals who invest in the United States can gain quick residency for themselves and their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21. The investment must be in a commercial enterprise which will either preserve or create 10 full time jobs for U.S. citizens.

Can Your Family Apply for Permanent Residency?

If you have an approved petition, your spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 can apply for an immigrant visa at the same time as you do. They will have to fill in any required forms, submit the necessary documentation, and will need to pay the relevant fees.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Work Visa?

The length of time it takes for an EB visa to be processed and approved will vary depending on the type of EB visa applied for and whether there are any errors in the application. For example, it can take between 10 months and 2 years for an EB-2 visa to be processed, but for an EB-3 visa, the wait can be much longer. In some categories, particularly those that are heavily oversubscribed, there can be a wait of many years before the applicant’s priority date is reached. Visas are issued in chronological order of when they were filed. The priority date is the date the applicant filed the petition.

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