One of the most common ways for foreign nationals to seek permanent residence in the United States is through employment-based visas. Both permanent and temporary work visas give workers options for seeking residency.
The process of applying for an employment-based green card or even a temporary work visa is complicated. To help avoid mistakes that lead to delays or denials, many applicants choose to work with a skilled immigration attorney from the Law Office of Luis F. Hess, PLLC. We have the experience to help you find your best options for immigration and work hand in hand with you to achieve your goals.
Employment-Based Green Cards
Employment-based permanent visas are available for workers in four categories, as well as for business investors. Ordered by preference, these employment-based immigrant visas enable workers to gain a green card identifying them as permanent residents eligible to live and work permanently in the U.S. and to sponsor close family members for immigration.
Each of the five categories has different requirements, and it is important to demonstrate that you meet all of the qualifications. For many employment visas, a U.S. employer must obtain certification from the U.S. Department of Labor, offer you a job, and effectively serve as your sponsor.
Because errors or inconsistencies in your forms and supporting documentation can lead to rejection and delays, it is helpful to work with an experienced immigration lawyer who can guide you through each step in the application process.
Preference Categories for Permanent Employment Visas
The four categories for an employment-based immigration visas for workers include:
- First preference (EB-1): This category is available to workers with “extraordinary ability” in the arts, education, the sciences, athletics, or business. It also applies to researchers, professors, executives, and managers who meet certain requirements.
- Second preference(EB-2): This category is for workers who have advanced degrees or have demonstrated exceptional ability. Workers with the right skills can apply for a National Interest Waiver so they do not need a petition from an employer or Labor Certification.
- Third preference(EB-3): This category applies to professionals, skilled workers, and “other” workers. Different qualifications apply to each sub-category, but all workers must have an offer of employment and Labor Certification.
- Fourth preference(EB-4): This final category is for “special immigrants” which includes employees who worked in U.S. foreign service, certain religious workers, and others.
The final preference category for employment-based visas (EB-5) is for investors who supply significant funding for new commercial enterprises. At present, investors must provide between $500,000 to $1 million and produce at least 10 jobs to qualify, but these requirements are subject to change at any time.
Workers coming to the U.S. to complete a project or job within a limited timeframe can receive temporary, nonimmigrant employment visas. The most common visa of this type is the H-1B, which allows a foreign national with specialized experience or skills to come into the country to work, along with their immediate family.
Another example of a nonimmigrant visa is the TN visa. Created shortly after the signing of the NAFTA agreement, the TN applies to people who are already citizens of either Mexico or Canada. You can potentially have your TN extended indefinitely.
The TN visa has stricter requirements than the H-1B, and all applicants must have certain degrees to qualify. Along with degree requirements, the TN visa only lists 63 qualifying jobs or industries within which an applicant can work. This includes designers, managers, medical professionals, teachers, and similar job types. Unfortunately, “unskilled workers” are not eligible for TN visas.
Additional temporary employment visas, many of which can be renewed to allow for long-term residence in the U.S., include:
- L1 visas for managers and executives
- E-1 treaty trader visas for supervising employees of certain multinational companies
- E-2 treaty investor visas for business owners starting or acquiring U.S. companies
- O-1 visas for individuals with extraordinary ability in the arts, athletics, business, education, or science
- P-1 visas for athletes and entertainers
- H-2B visas for temporary non-specialty employment
Because these employment visas are highly-desirable, it’s a good idea to work with an immigration lawyer to ensure your documentation is accurate and has no mistakes that could cause your application to be set aside in favor of others.
Employment-Based Visas for Students
Immigration laws also offer employment-based visas for students. This visa category is open to students who either want to take vocational studies or be at full-time status. There’s also a category for exchange students.
In the below visa types, “J” generally applies to exchange students, “M” applies to vocational students, and “F” applies to academic students:
- J-1 Exchange visitor
- J-2 Spouse or child of a J-1 student
- M-1 Vocational student
- M-2 Spouse or child of an M-1 student
- M-3 Mexican or Canadian national vocational student who commutes for school
- F-1 Academic student
- F-2 Spouse or child of an F-1 student
- F-3 Mexican or Canadian national academic student who commutes for school
Luis F. Hess, PLLC in Texas Can Help
When you’re seeking an employment-based immigration solution, you want to know that the attorney you’ve chosen cares and that they can help. As the son of immigrant parents, attorney Luis F. Hess understands your concerns and he and his team have the experience and skills to help. When you need an immigration lawyer, call the law firm of Luis F. Hess, PLLC., in Texas today at (281) 626-5359 to learn more about how we can help.