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Оксана Колосовська
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U.S. Employment Immigration: A Step-by-Step Guide for Skilled Professionals

U.S. Employment-Based Immigration refers to the various visa categories and programs that allow foreign nationals to come to the United States for the purpose of employment. These programs are designed to meet the needs of U.S. employers who are unable to find qualified workers domestically and to promote economic growth and competitiveness. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) administer these visa categories.

There are several employment-based immigrant visa categories, which are typically divided into preference categories based on the immigrant's qualifications, the type of job they will be doing, and the demand for their skills in the United States. The main employment-based immigrant visa categories are:

  • EB-1 Priority Workers: These are for individuals with extraordinary abilities in their field, outstanding professors or researchers, and multinational managers or executives. They don't require a specific job offer.

  • EB-2 Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability: This category is for individuals with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities in their field. They usually require a specific job offer and a labor certification (unless a National Interest Waiver is granted).

  • EB-3 Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers: This category includes skilled workers (with at least two years of training or experience), professionals with bachelor's degrees, and unskilled workers (requiring less than two years of training or experience). It also typically requires a specific job offer and labor certification.

  • EB-4 Special Immigrants: This category includes religious workers, certain foreign medical graduates, and other special categories of immigrants.

  • EB-5 Immigrant Investors: This program is for foreign investors who invest a specified amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise that creates jobs for U.S. workers. If the investment meets certain requirements, the investor and their immediate family may obtain conditional green cards.

What is an EB-1 visa?

The EB-1 visa is an immigrant visa category within the United States' employment-based immigration system. It is designed for individuals who possess extraordinary abilities or have achieved outstanding accomplishments in their respective fields. The EB-1 visa is often referred to as the "Priority Workers" category because it prioritizes individuals with exceptional qualifications. There are three subcategories within the EB-1 visa category:

  • EB-1A: Extraordinary Ability: This subcategory is for individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary ability or expertise in their field, such as the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. To qualify for an EB-1A visa, applicants must provide evidence of sustained national or international acclaim and recognition in their area of expertise. This can be demonstrated through awards, publications, scholarly contributions, and other forms of recognition. Importantly, EB-1A applicants do not need a specific job offer or labor certification, making it a self-petitioning category.

  • EB-1B: Outstanding Professors and Researchers: This subcategory is for outstanding professors and researchers who have a job offer from a U.S. employer. To be eligible, applicants must have at least three years of experience in teaching or research and must demonstrate international recognition for their work in their academic field. They also need to provide evidence of a permanent job offer from a qualifying U.S. institution.

  • EB-1C: Multinational Managers and Executives: This subcategory is for multinational managers and executives who have been employed by a qualifying international company and are transferring to a related U.S. office or affiliate. To be eligible, applicants must have been employed in a managerial or executive capacity for at least one of the three years preceding their application and must be coming to the U.S. to work in a managerial or executive role for the same company or a subsidiary or affiliate.

The EB-1 visa is known for its relative expediency in the U.S. immigration process. Visa holders in this category are typically eligible for lawful permanent resident status (green card) upon approval of their petition. Additionally, unlike many other employment-based immigrant visa categories, EB-1 applicants do not need to go through the labor certification process, which can be time-consuming and complex.

What is an EB-2 visa?

The EB-2 visa is an immigrant visa category within the United States' employment-based immigration system. It is designed for individuals with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities in their respective fields. The EB-2 visa is intended to attract highly skilled professionals to the United States. There are two main subcategories within the EB-2 visa category:

  • EB-2(A): Advanced Degree Professionals: This subcategory is for individuals who have earned an advanced degree (master's degree or higher) and have a specific job offer from a U.S. employer. The job they are offered must be in their area of expertise. Additionally, the U.S. employer is typically required to obtain a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (unless a National Interest Waiver is granted) to demonstrate that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the position.

  • EB-2(B): Exceptional Ability: This subcategory is for individuals who have exceptional ability in their field, which can include the sciences, arts, business, or athletics. To qualify for an EB-2(B) visa, applicants must provide evidence of their extraordinary skill or expertise. This can include significant achievements, awards, publications, and contributions to their field. They must also have a specific job offer from a U.S. employer, and in most cases, a labor certification is required unless they qualify for a National Interest Waiver.

National Interest Waiver (NIW): The National Interest Waiver is a provision that allows some EB-2 applicants to bypass the labor certification process. It is available to individuals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability who can demonstrate that their work is of "national interest" to the United States. This typically involves showing that their work benefits the U.S. economy, educational or research institutions, or other areas of national importance.

EB-2 visa holders are eligible for lawful permanent resident status (green card) upon approval of their immigrant petition. The application process for an EB-2 visa is generally complex and requires careful documentation of qualifications, achievements, and the specific job offer. As with other employment-based immigrant visa categories, it's advisable to seek the guidance of an experienced immigration attorney when applying for an EB-2 visa to ensure that all requirements are met and the application is prepared properly.

 

What is an EB-3 visa?

The EB-3 visa is an immigrant visa category within the United States' employment-based immigration system. It is designed for foreign nationals who wish to come to the United States for the purpose of employment in positions that require varying levels of skill or education. The EB-3 category includes three main subcategories:

  • EB-3(A): Skilled Workers: This subcategory is for individuals with a minimum of two years of job experience or training that is not of a temporary or seasonal nature. Skilled workers are typically required to have a specific job offer from a U.S. employer, and the employer must obtain a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor to demonstrate that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the position.

  • EB-3(B): Professionals with Bachelor's Degrees: This subcategory is for foreign nationals with a bachelor's degree or its foreign equivalent and a specific job offer for a position that requires a bachelor's degree in a related field. Like skilled workers, professionals must have a labor certification obtained by the U.S. employer.

  • EB-3(C): Unskilled Workers (Other Workers): This subcategory is for individuals with less than two years of job experience or training and who will be employed in positions that are not of a temporary or seasonal nature. These positions are often in lower-skilled industries. As with the other subcategories, a specific job offer and labor certification are generally required.

It's important to note that the EB-3 visa category has an annual numerical limit, and there is typically significant demand for these visas, especially in the EB-3(A) and EB-3(B) subcategories. As a result, there may be waiting periods for visa availability, particularly for individuals from countries with high demand for U.S. visas.

EB-3 visa holders are eligible for lawful permanent resident status (green card) upon approval of their immigrant petition. The application process for an EB-3 visa can be complex, and it requires the cooperation of the sponsoring U.S. employer to complete the labor certification process.

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U.S. Employment Immigration.

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