Many different mechanisms can be used to obtain legal permanent residency in the U.S., and one of the more commonly-used methods is the green card.
EB-1 Priority Workers
An individual may apply for an EB-1 Priority Worker visa if he or she is deemed to have an extraordinary ability, is an outstanding professor or researcher or is a multi-national executive or manager.
In the extraordinary ability category, these individuals must be able to demonstrate that they have extraordinary abilities in arts, science, business, education or athletics through “sustained national or international acclaim” with achievements recognized in that person's specific field with extensive documentation.
To qualify in the outstanding professor or researcher field (EB-1B), the applicant must be able to show that he or she has international recognition for outstanding achievements in a particular academic field.
He or she must have at least three years of experience in teaching or in research in that academic area and must be coming to the U.S. to either pursue a tenure or tenured track teaching position or a comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education.
Lastly, to qualify for an EB-1 Priority Worker visa as a multi-national executive or manager (EB-1C), the applicant must have been employed outside of the U.S. in the three years immediately preceding the application for at least one year by a corporation or firm. The applicant also must be looking to come to the U.S. to continue working for that firm or organization.
The applicant's employment outside of the U.S. must have been in a managerial or executive capacity and must be with the same company or an affiliate or subsidiary of that employer in the U.S.
EB-2 Second Preference
The EB-2 classification allows the great majority of foreign workers in the U.S. workforce the ability to apply for an immigrant visa.
Just like the EB-1 category, the EB-2 one is broken up into different classes of workers, but these applications do require PERM applications or labor certifications before the visa will be issued, unless the labor certification requirement has been waived.
One category of EB-2 worker involves workers who possess an advanced degree or an equivalent, which means usually a baccalaureate degree and at least five years of work in his or her field, and an employment offer for a position that requires an advanced degree.
Another EB-2 category is for individuals who have demonstrated that they have an exceptional ability in the arts, business field or science. Applicants in this category must provide documentation that they have at least three of the listed criteria, including ten years of experience in the field, professional certification or licensure, high remuneration, a membership in professional associations, and recognition for achievements.
An additional EB-2 category is for individuals who have an advanced degree and currently are working in an industry that has a substantial national interest to the country. These individuals can request a waiver of the PERM application under a national interest waiver.
EB-3 Third Preference
Another category of green card is an EB-3 Third Preference green card, which is for professionals, including skilled and unskilled workers in an industry.
Similar to an EB-2 classification, a labor certification or PERM application must first be submitted and certified before an immigrant visa will be issued.
Those who are considered skilled workers must have at least two years of job experience or training in their specific field of expertise, along with a U.S. job offer.
Professionals who have a bachelor's degree and are performing in a professional occupation may also apply for an EB-3 green card, so long as the occupation requires a bachelor's degree and the foreign applicant has a U.S. job offer.
EB-4 Fourth Preference
The EB-4 visa/green card category is available for immigrants who are in a special category for religious workers, returning residents, and court dependents. Individuals in this category are referred to as “special immigrants.”
These individuals do not necessarily have a connection to employment or work per se but are more in categories for ministers or religious workers who have received job offers from U.S. religious organizations.
EB-4 green cards also cover foreign medical graduates, former U.S. government workers, children who are a part of the U.S. juvenile court system and international broadcasters.
EB-5 Fifth Preference
Lastly, individuals who are included in the EB-5 classification are immigrant investors or persons who invest money in the U.S. and create or maintain employment for at least 10 U.S. workers.
The Eb-5 visa has two separate components. The “regular program” which requires a minimum investment of $1,000,000 or the Regional Center Program which requires an investment of $500,000.
The EB-5 is a particularly complicated visa process and requires extreme documentation of the source of funds and the path of funds i.e. how you earned the income, and how the investment amount was transferred to the US in order to be used in your investment.
The current EB-5 Regional Center Program has been extended through September 30, 2018 with no changes to the minimum investment amount that is required of $500,000.
It should be noted that the government is seeking to increase the minimum investment required or eliminate the program altogether.
These are particularly complex visas that require expertise on the part of the attorneys. Please contact us if you have questions or are interested in learning more about the EB-5 visa option.
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