There are 4 types of USA immigrant visa and is based on what kind of immigration visa you want. These are the following:
- Diversity Visas, for low rates of immigration to the U.S
- Returning Resident Visa, for someone who has a U.S immigrant visa and wants to return to the country again.
- Family-based Immigrant Visa, for those who wish to reunite with their family
- Employment-Based Immigrant Visa, for those who have found jobs in the U.S
This article focuses more on the Employment-based Immigrant Visa.
What Are Employment-Based Immigrant Visas?
Employment-based immigration visa is specifically for those workers who have found jobs in the U.S. The employers are responsible for sponsoring the employee to process their documents and stay in the U.S and work in their company.
You can work without an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) if you have an immigrant work visa. The EAD is designed only for those who are working in the U.S with non-immigrant work visas like the H-1b visa or similar ones.
The demand for this kind of visa is high considering all its benefits like living and working in the U.S permanently. The U.S government made a cap on how many visas each year are going to be processed, they will only process 140,000 visas. Workers will have to wait and it might take a long time. The U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will process the following year if the pending visas for that year will reach 140,000.
Types of Immigrant Work Visas
EB-1 Visa for First Priority Workers
- Outstanding performances by professors and researchers
- Workers that excel in science, art, athletics, business or education
- Executive managers who have worked for 3 years at a foreign branch of a U.S company
EB-2 Visa for Second Priority Workers
- Professionals that have advanced degree
- People who excel in art, science, or business
EB-3 Visa for Third Priority Workers
- Skilled workers with 2 or more years of experience
- Unskilled workers under less than 2 years of experience
- Workers that have higher degrees
The third group gets EW-3 visas, which is a subgroup of the EB-3 visa for unskilled workers.
EB-4 Visa for Fourth Priority Workers
- Workers in religious organizations
- Works in the public or governmental sector
- Works in international organizations
EB-5 Visa for Fifth Priority Workers
EB-5 visa is specifically for those who are willing to invest in the U.S economy. The investments must reach between $500K to $1 million. They are required to create jobs and help boost economic development. The EB-5 visa has subcategories and is divided into four:
- R-5 visa for investors who participate in an Investor Pilot Program, not in a target area
- I-5 visa for investors who participate in an Investor Pilot Program in a targeted area
- C-5 visa for investors who create jobs outside of target areas
- T-5 visa for investors who create jobs in targeted rural or high unemployment areas
EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 will each get 28.6% of the 140,000 yearly employment visas. 40,000 people get each visa every year. 7.1% each of the total, or around 10,000 per type of visa for EB-4 and EB-5.
Requirements of Employment Visas
Each visa has different requirements needed to comply. You will get rejected if you fail to comply with the necessary documents because of tight competition.
- EB-1 visa is the most difficult to comply with. Since the visa is for special people with extraordinary abilities, some of the requirements include:
- Proof that you evaluated other people’s work as an individual or in a panel;
- Proof that you wrote articles that were published in trade journals or the media
- Proof that you have received international or national awards for your achievement;
- Proof that you have published papers or contributed with high-quality research recognized by the media;
You can look for more requirements for EB-1 visa in a separate article.
- For EB-2 visa qualification you must prove that:
- One must have an advanced educational degree (Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree, etc.);
- One must have 5 years of experience in your field of study
- Earn awards, diplomas, or certificates in your field;
- One must have licenses or certifications that show you have excelled in your field, etc.
You can look for more requirements for EB-2 visa in a separate article.
- For the EB-3 and EB-4 visas, the requirements are as follows:
- A full-time job offer from a U.S employer;
- You must be qualified for the job based on your education and experience.
The employer must also meet the necessary requirements to sponsor you for the EB-3 visa and EB-4 visa. These are the following:
- They must prove that they could not find a U.S worker for a specific position;
- They must be financially steady to sponsor the worker and pay the salary.
- For the EB-5 visa the requirements are:
- Invest between $500K and $1M in the company.
- Invest in a company established on or before November 29th, 1990;
- Increase the company net worth by 40% or the number of employees by at least 10 people in 2 years;
How to Apply for Employment-Based Immigrant Visas?
The application process for all types of employment visas has some similarities, including the employer and the employee. Except for the EB-5 visa because the application process is started by the employer. These are the steps to follow:
U.S employers must show that they cannot find the right U.S worker for the job in order for them to hire a foreign worker. The employers must file the Form ETA750 to the Department of Labor. This type of form will prove that they will pay a non-discriminating salary for the foreign worker. The EB-5 visa is excluded in this step.
File the Petition
The employer will file the petition after receiving the labor certification. The employer completes the Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker to USCIS. The petition informs USCIS that the employer wants to sponsor a specific employee if they fulfill the criteria. The EB-5 investors file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur.
The USCIS informs the employer and the employee on their decision. If the application is approved, the National Visa Center (NVC) will be the one to take care of the case. They will give a case number as well as an invoice ID number.
Lastly, the NVC will send you a package filled with instructions after processing. The employee must follow every instruction for this application.
Filing of Form DS-260 or 261
Filing the Form DS-260/261, these are the official visa application forms for immigrants.
Complete Medical Examination and Vaccination
The NVC will send you a list of medical check-ups and vaccinations. Records should have a signature by a licensed doctor.
Compiling All Supporting Documents
Documents should be filed and stored by the NVC, depending on what type of immigrant visa you are applying. These are the following documents:
- A passport that is valid for more than 6 months after you leave for the U.S;
- Offer from the U.S employer;
- Completed and approved labor certification;
- The approved petition;
- Complete Form DS-260/261 confirmation page;
- Medical examination and vaccination with the signature of a licensed doctor
- Academic awards or achievements
- Two photographs that meet the photo requirements.
Attending the Interview
They will schedule an interview for you after the process is completed. The interview will be held at the U.S Embassy where you applied. The interviewer will ask questions about your background and why you applied. The U.S Embassy will be the one to make a decision if you can work permanently in the U.S.
Receive NVC package and travel to the U.S
The NVC will give you a package when you travel. Under any circumstance, it should not be opened by you. The immigration officer will be the one to open the package and determines whether they should let you in or not.
Fees for Employment-Based Immigrant Visa
The employer and the employee will have to pay these following fees:
For the employee:
- Form DS-260/261 processing fee – 230$
- Medical examination fee
- Fees for supporting documents
- Translation fees from Foreign language to English
For the employer:
- DOL Labor Certification fee
- USCIS Form I-140 petition filing fee – 700$
- USCIS Form I-526 petition filing fee (for EB-5) 3,675$
Immigrant Work Visa Processing Time
The processing time will take too long since there is a limited number of slots of employment given each year. It also depends on how many pending visas they processed before you. It ranges from a few months to 3 years. Workers will have to wait for the priority date to become current.