Visa Categories for Employment-based Immigrant Visa (Green Cards)

Foreign individuals working in the United States can become a lawful permanent resident by obtaining employment-based green card. To receive an employment-based green card, two lucky things need to happen:

  • The worker needs to receive a job offer from a U.S. employer (unless they have exceptional abilities, or their work is in the national interest
  • The employer must (with a few exceptions) be willing to sponsor them for a green card

Steps to Adjust to Permanent Resident Based on Employment

Step: 1

The employer who petitions on behalf of the foreign worker must receive a PERM labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. He or she should establish that no American worker is qualified, willing and available to fill the position at a salary that is greater than or equal to the current wage that is normally paid for said position in a specific location. In other words, a U.S. employer must first obtain Prevailing Wage Determination and PERM application approval from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Step: 2

The I-140 petition must be filed with the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) by the sponsoring employer. In some cases, the immigrants are also allowed to petition for themselves.

Step: 3

Once the employer’s petition is approved, the alien worker can apply for adjustment of status to permanent resident if he or she is already in the US. If the visa category is current, the alien worker may file an adjustment of status application concurrently with employer’s I-140 petition.

If the alien worker is residing abroad at the time of the employer’s petition approval, they and immediate relatives can apply for an immigrant visa at the U.S. consulate when the EB-visa category is current.

Five Categories for Employment-Based Immigrant Green Cards


EB-1 is available for priority workers with extraordinary abilities in athletics, business, science, art, education, and outstanding university professors and researchers. The applicants do not require a labor certification. All other categories EB-2 to EB-4 require PERM labor Certification unless National Interest Waiver applies.


EB-2 is available for foreigners with advanced degrees and persons of exceptional ability in sciences, arts, or business.


EB-3 is available for professional workers with a Bachelor’s Degree, skilled workers and unskilled workers.


EB-4 is available for employment-based workers, also called special immigrants. One of the subcategories is religious workers, which includes ministers and religious professionals. This also includes various miscellaneous subcategories of people, from former U.S. government workers to children dependent on the U.S. foster care system.


The individual who is applying for the fifth preference must be willing to invest $500,000 or $1 million in a new commercial company into a specific Targeted Employment Area (High Unemployment or Rural Area). The EB-5 enterprise must invest the required amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise that will create full-time positions for at least 10 qualified employees.

Talk to your employment-based immigration visa attorney to know more.

For More Information or to Schedule a Free Phone Evaluation

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Unsure about making an appointment?
I offer a free 15-minute phone evaluation to get to know you and your needs.

Olga Vasilyevna GuzhvaClients’ ChoiceAward 2019 Olga Vasilyevna GuzhvaReviewsout of 23 reviews 9.6Olga Vasilyevna Guzhva

View My Avvo Resources