Citizenship Through Employment

U.S. Citizenship Process via Employment

Every year, the United States issues about 140,000 immigrant visas to non-citizens who wish to apply based on their professional skills. There are five categories based on preference of Employment Based Immigration applicants and they are outlined at the bottom of the page.

Some immigration preferences require a Labor Certification which is issued by the U.S. Department of Labor. This certification verifies that there are not enough U.S. citizens with the right qualifications and willingness to fill a role at the offered salary and that hiring an alien will not hurt the wages or working conditions of a comparable U.S. worker. The categories that do require a Labor Certification are ones where the employer is the sponsor and has already extended an employment offer to the non-citizen.

First Preference EB-1 (Does not require Labor Certification)

  • For individuals with extraordinary abilities specializing in arts, business, science, education, or athletics; distinguished professors or researchers; multinational executives or managers

Second Preference EB-2 (Yes, unless applicant has National Interest Waiver)

  • For individuals with advanced degrees or have shown extraordinary abilities in arts, science, or business

Third Preference EB-3 (Yes, requires Labor Certification)

  • For professionals, skilled workers, and other workers

Fourth Preference EB-4 (Does not require Labor Certification)

  • For “special immigrants” such as religious workers, employees of foreign service posts, retired employees of international organizations, and other classes of aliens

Fifth Preference EB-5 (Does not require Labor Certification)

  • For foreign investors who invest $500,000 in a targeted employment area of $1 million in other areas that employs at least 10 full-time U.S. employees

Basic Steps of Applying for an Immigrant Visa under Employment

  1. Obtain a Labor Certification and File Petition Form I-140
  2. After USCIS approves of the Petition, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) where it will assign a case number to the Petition
    • Complete Form DS-261: Choice of Address and Agent Online unless you already have an attorney
    • Pay fees
    • Submit other application forms and documents that the NVC requests
  3. Gather required documents:
    • Passport
    • Form DS-260: Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application
    • Two 2×2 photographs
    • Civil documents for the applicant
    • Evidence of financial independence or financial support
      • If a U.S citizen or Permanent Resident has significant ownership or filed Form I-140 on your behalf, they must complete Form I-864 Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act
    • Completed Medical Examination Forms
      • Complete medical examinations and required vaccinations BEFORE the scheduled visa interview
  4. Visa Interview
  5. If you are issued a visa, you will be returned your passport with the immigration visa and a sealed envelope only to be opened by a U.S. immigration official.
  6. Pay the USCIS Immigration fee
  7. Enter the United States before the expiration date printed on your visa
    • Please note that you are not guaranteed entry into the U.S. with a visa as customs officials may deny entry
  8. Once you have paid the immigration fee and are admitted as a U.S. permanent resident, you will be mailed a Permanent Resident Card, Form I-551, also known as a green card.