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United States Employment-Based Immigration Visa

Employment-Based (EB) petitions can be submitted under a number of “preferences” categories. These classifications are mostly based on precise job descriptions and requirements.

Working in the USA - Employment-Based Immigration

USA Employment-Based Visa Requirements and Application Guidelines

Immigrant visas based on employment are divided into five preference categories. Spouses and children of employment-based immigrants can accompany them or follow them.
The First Steps toward an Immigrant Visa: Labor Certification and Filing a Petition.

An applicant’s prospective employer or agent must first get approval from the Department of Labor to apply for an immigrant visa under some of the employment-based categories below. 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. (Note: People with extraordinary abilities in the Employment First preference category can file petitions.) Fill out the contact form for detailed instructions and requirements for the Immigration Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140.

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Employment-based visa overview

Depending on the type of study you intend to pursue in the U.S., you will require a certain visa.
The American government offers three different types of student visas:

  • F Student Visa: used to study at an accredited U.S. college or university or to study English at an English language institute
  • J Exchange Visa: for participation in an exchange program, including high school and university study
  • M Student Visa: for non-academic or vocational study or training in the U.S.
  • Not enter the country more than 30 days prior to the start of your studies program.
  • When you arrive in the US, get in touch with your authorised school representative.
  • Prior to the program start date indicated on your Form I-20, you should get in touch with the assigned school representative once again.

Our team of business immigration consultants has expertise in helping employers and qualified workers in a range of industries and businesses of all sizes. Fill out the form to discuss your USA immigration-based visa application.

USA employment-based visa categories

There are various US work visa categories depending on your goals and the type of work you intend to operate.
The various categories of temporary work visas for the United States are as follows:

For Priority Workers and Persons of Extraordinary Ability

Within this category, there are three subgroups:

  1. Scientists, artists, educators, business people, and athletes with outstanding abilities. Documentation of sustained national or international recognition and acclaim in the applicant’s field of expertise is required for this category. Such applicants do not need specific job offers as long as they are coming to work in fields in which they have exceptional ability. In such cases, USCIS accepts Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.
  2. Internationally recognized professors and researchers with at least three years of experience in teaching or research. A candidate in this category must be coming to the U.S. to pursue tenure, tenure track teaching, or a comparable research position at a university or other higher education institution. To qualify for an immigrant visa, the prospective employer must provide a job offer and file Form I-140 with the USCIS.
  3. Managers or executives of multinational companies with at least one year of experience working for the overseas affiliate, parent company, subsidiary, or branch of the U.S. employer in the three preceding years. An applicant must have worked in a managerial or executive capacity while outside the United States, and he or she must be coming to work in a managerial or executive capacity while in the United States. To be eligible to apply for an immigrant visa, a prospective employer must provide a job offer and file the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, with the USCIS.

In general, Second Preference applicants must possess a labour certification approved by the Department of Labor. On behalf of the applicant, the U.S. employer must file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140. An exemption, known as a National Interest Waiver, can be requested if the exemption is in the national interest. By filing the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, along with evidence of national interest, the applicant may self-petition. Professionals holding advanced degrees and persons with exceptional abilities receive 28.6 per cent of the yearly worldwide limit of employment-based immigrant visas plus any visas that may be unused under the Employment First Preference category.

Within this category, there are two subgroups:

  • A baccalaureate degree or Advanced degree holder- a level beyond a baccalaureate degree), who possesses at least five years of progressive experience.
  • Scientists, artists, or business people with exceptional abilities have a degree of expertise beyond that typically encountered.

To qualify for Third Preference, you must have an approved Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, filed by your prospective employer. Labour certifications approved by the Department of Labor are generally required for such workers. The Employment First Preference and Second Preference categories, as well as any unused visas from the categories of Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers (Other Workers), provide 28.6 per cent of the annual worldwide limit of employment-based immigrant visas.

There are three subgroups within this category:

  • A skilled worker is someone whose job requires at least two years of training or work experience.
  • A professional is a person who is a member of a profession whose job requires at least a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. university or college or the equivalent degree from another country.
  • Workers classified as unskilled (Other workers) are those who possess less than two years of training or experience but do not hold temporary or seasonal positions.

Applicants seeking the Fourth Preference must be the beneficiaries of a Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant Visa, Form I-360, except for Certain Employees or Former Employees of the U.S. No labour certification is required for Certain Special Immigrants. It is estimated that special immigrants receive 7.1 per cent of the total number of employment-based immigrant visas available throughout the world each year.

Among the subgroups of this category are:

  • S. broadcasters employed by the International Broadcasting Bureau of the Broadcasting Board of Governors or a grantee
  • Religion ministers
  • In the case of certain employees or former employees of the U.S. Government Abroad – It is necessary to use Form DS-1884, Petition to Classify Special Immigrants Under INA 203(b) (4) As Employees Or Former Employees of the U.S. Government Abroad 
  • Former Panama Canal Company or Canal Zone Government employees
  • Several former employees of the United States Government who worked in the Panama Canal Zone
  • Former employees of the Panama Canal Company and Canal Zone Government on April 1, 1979
  • Iraqi and Afghan interpreters and translators who have worked directly for the United States military or under the command of the Chief of Mission for a minimum of 12 months meet the requirements. There is a numeric limit of 50 visas per year for this classification.
  • National of Iraq or Afghanistan who has been employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq for at least one year following March 20, 2003, and before September 30, 2013. If the U.S. government, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), or a successor mission in Afghanistan employed the applicant for not less than one year. Between October 7th, 2001, and December 31, 2023, and have experienced an ongoing serious threat as a result of that employment.
  • Certain Foreign Medical Graduates (Adjustments Only)
  • Certain Retired International Organization Employees
  • Some Unmarried Sons and Daughters of International Organization Employees
  • Certain Surviving Spouses of deceased International Organization Employees
  • Special Immigrant Juveniles (no family member derivatives; Adjustments Only)
  • Persons Recruited Outside of the United States Who Have Served or are Enlisted to Serve in the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Certain retired NATO-6 civilians
  • Some Unmarried Sons and Daughters of NATO-6 civilians
  • Certain Surviving Spouses of deceased NATO-6 civilian employees
  • Persons who are beneficiaries of petitions or labour certification applications filed before September 11th, 2001, if the petition or application has been declared void as a result of a terrorist act on September 11, 2001
  • Certain Religious Workers

Immigrant Investor visa categories are for capital investment by foreign investors in new commercial enterprises in the United States which provide job creation. contact Royal Migration to learn more about this employment-based category

Fees and Visa Application

A petition approved by USCIS is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). After receiving the petition, the NVC assigns a case number. The NVC instructs applicants to complete Form DS-261, Choice of Address and Agent, when their priority date meets the most recent qualifying date. (If you already have an attorney, you will not be asked to complete Form DS-261.) The NVC will instruct the applicant to submit the appropriate fees and begin pre-processing the case. Upon payment of the appropriate fees, the NVC will request that the applicant submit the necessary documents for the immigrant visa application, including the application form and civil documents. To begin the application process, you should contact Royal Migration, a leading immigration visa processing firm with 20 years of experience.

Can my family members also receive immigrant visas?

Your spouse and minor unmarried children younger than 21 may apply for immigrant visas with you if your petition is approved. They must also fill out application forms, obtain civil documents, pay fees, and undergo medical examinations. Same-sex spouses and their minor children who are U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) are now eligible for the same immigration benefits as opposite-sex spouses. The consular officers at the U.S. consulates and embassies will process their immigrant visa applications once USCIS approves an I-130 or I-140 petition.

Numerical limitations

Until the annual numerical limit for each category is reached, employment-based immigrant visas are issued in chronological order. An applicant’s priority date is when the petition was filed immigrant visa can only be issued once the applicant’s priority date has been reached. It may take several years before a priority date becomes available in some heavily oversubscribed categories.

Required documents

It is generally necessary to submit the following documents:

  • You must have a passport valid for six months beyond the intended date of entry into the U.S. unless longer validity is specifically requested by the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your country. 
  • Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application Form DS-260.
  • Biometric information and photographs. Contact Royal Migration for photo specifications.
  • The applicant’s civil documents. Contact us for more specific information about documentation requirements, including which documents may need to be translated. The consular officer may ask you for more information during your visa interview by the consular officer. For your immigrant visa interview, bring your original civil documents (or certified copies), as well as legible photocopies of the original civil documents. You will then receive the original documents and translations.
  • A consular officer will ask you to demonstrate to them during an immigration visa interview that you are not likely to become a public charge in the United States by showing proof of financial support. As an applicant with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR), a family member who has filed the Form I-140 petition or owns a significant interest in the entity that submitted the petition on behalf of the applicant, must complete Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act, on behalf of the applicant.
  • Completed Medical Examination Forms – These are the forms that are provided to you by the panel physician after you have completed your medical examination and vaccinations

Visa interview

After determining that the applicant’s file is complete with all the required documents, the NVC schedules the applicant’s interview appointment once they determine that the file is complete. As a next step, NVC will send the file, which includes the applicant’s petition and all the documents listed above, to the American consulate or embassy where the applicant will be interviewed. Applicants, attorneys, and third-party agents, if applicable, will receive an appointment email or letter (if no email address is available) with the date and time of their visa interview, instructions for medical exams, and appointment information.

Each applicant must bring various documents to the interview, including a valid passport and any other documents that have not already been provided to NVC. To obtain an immigrant visa from the United States, a consular officer will interview the applicant and the consular officer will determine whether the applicant is eligible for an immigrant visa based on U.S. immigration law. An ink-free, digital fingerprint scan will take place on the day of the interview. Typically, when an applicant attends an interview, both the original civil documents and the original translations are provided.

Medical examinations and vaccinations

Before your visa interview, you will need to schedule and complete your medical examination and any required vaccinations. Each applicant for an immigrant visa, regardless of age, must undergo a medical examination by an authorized panel physician before an immigrant visa can be issued. NVC provides applicants with a list of authorized panel physicians regarding medical examinations. 

Vaccination requirements

Following U.S. immigration law, immigrants must obtain certain vaccinations before obtaining a visa.

USA immigration-based work visa processing time

It takes an additional amount of time for employment-based immigrant visa cases to be processed since they are in a numerically limited visa category. It is impossible to predict with any certainty the length of time it will take to resolve an individual case since it varies from case to case. Some cases are delayed due to applicants not following instructions carefully enough. In some cases, visa applications require additional administrative processing, which takes additional time after the consular officer interviews the applicant.

Visa ineligibility

An applicant can be ineligible for a visa due to certain conditions and activities. Drug trafficking, overstaying a previous visa, and submitting fraudulent documents are examples of these ineligibilities. A consular officer will inform you if you do not qualify for a visa as soon as possible and tell you how you can waive your ineligibility.

Misrepresentation of material facts or fraud

You may become permanently ineligible for a U.S. visa or entry into the country if you willfully misrepresent a material fact or commit fraud. If you would like to thoroughly check your material facts, fill out the contact form and get in touch with an immigration expert with 22 years of experience at Royal Migration.

What immigrant visa holders should know

If you are granted an immigrant visa, the consular officer will give you your passport, which contains your immigrant visa, and a sealed packet containing the documents that you provided to the consular officer. It is crucial not to open the sealed packet as soon as you receive it. When you enter the United States, this packet should be opened by an official from the U.S. immigration system. You must enter the United States before your visa expires. Travelling to the United States requires the primary applicant (or principal applicant) to enter the country before or simultaneously with visa-holding family members.

USCIS Immigrant Fee – You must pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) once you have received your immigrant visa and before you travel to the United States. (SI-1, SI-2, SI-3, SQ-1, SQ-2, and SQ-3 visa holders will not pay the fee.) 
You must pay the immigrant fee before USCIS issues your Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551 or Green Card).

Entering the United States: Port-of-Entry

An entry visa is a document that allows a foreign national to travel to the U.S. port-of-entry and request permission to enter the country. It is important to remember that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States for applicants. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have the authority to permit or deny admission to the United States. If you need more information about admission requirements and entry requirements into the USA, please contact Royal Migration. 
The Permanent Resident Card, Form I-551 (formerly known as the Alien Registration Card, also known as a Green Card), will be mailed to you after you’ve paid the USCIS immigrant fee.

How to apply for a social security number card

Your Social Security Number Card will be mailed to the U.S. address you designated on your application form if you selected to receive it upon admission to the United States as an immigrant. Your card should arrive approximately six weeks after your admission. After arriving in the United States, you will need to apply for a Social Security Number Card if you did not elect to receive one. 

When you become a US permanent resident

It is essential that, before moving to the United States, you find out more about your status as a lawful permanent resident and make sure that you review information about living in the United States before making your final decision.

Know more

It is essential for immigrants who are applying for an immigrant visa not to make any final travel arrangements, dispose of property, or quit their jobs until their visas have been granted. Some visa applications require additional administrative processing after the visa applicant’s interview. From the date of issuance, an immigrant visa is generally valid for six months.

Questions? You’re covered

No. Only your employer can sponsor you.

You may not enter the United States until 10 days before your initial employment start date, as noted on your Form or your offer of employment letter.

No. No visa covers casual work. All applicants who plan to work in the United States must have an approved petition before their visa appointment.

USA Employment-Based Immigration Visa Eligibility Check

Are you eligible for the USA employment-based immigration visa?

Our team of business immigration consultants has expertise in helping employers and qualified workers in a range of industries and businesses of all sizes. Fill out the form to discuss your USA immigration-based visa application.

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