For individuals seeking employment opportunities in the United States, employment-based visas offer a pathway to live and work in the country legally. These visas accommodate various employment situations and fall into different categories based on employment preference levels.
There are five main types of employment visas available to those looking to live and work in the United States.
1. EB-1 visas
The EB-1 visa is for individuals who have extraordinary abilities in their respective fields. This category includes three subgroups. EB-1A visas are for individuals with extraordinary abilities in fields like the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. EB-1B visas are for outstanding professors and researchers. EB-1C visas are for multinational executives or managers.
2. EB-2 visas
The EB-2 visa is for professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities in their fields. This category includes visas for professionals with advanced degrees or individuals with exceptional abilities in arts, sciences or business.
3. EB-3 visas
The EB-3 visa category is broader and includes visas for skilled workers with at least two years of training or work experience. It also includes visas for professionals with bachelor’s degrees or the foreign equivalent, or for other workers who perform unskilled labor and require less training and experience.
4. EB-4 visas
The EB-4 visa category is for “special” immigrants such as religious workers, special immigrant juveniles and certain international employees of the U.S. government.
5. EB-5 visas
The EB-5 visa is for immigrant investors who invest a substantial amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise that creates jobs for U.S. workers.
Each of these categories has its specific requirements and eligibility criteria, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services makes about 140,000 of these employment-based visas available each year. While the employment-based visa application process can be complex, understanding these categories is the first step in determining which visa might be the most suitable for an individual’s specific circumstances.