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Employment Green Cards

Among the employment-based green card category options, some allow for self-petitioning, others require a U.S. employer who sponsors a qualified applicant either directly or after the applicant's "Labor Certification" has been approved. Below please find information about the following:

Multinational Manager Green Card EB-1

If you own a business in your home country, you can establish a U.S. affiliate company, and after it has been in operation for at least one year, you can apply for a green card in the EB-1 Multinational Executive and Manager green card category (Employment-based, first category). Likewise, if you are an executive or managerial employee of a multinational company, and are being transferred to an affiliate located in the U.S., you can apply for a green card in this EB-1 category.

In order to qualify, the following requirements must be met:

  • the foreign business must be a parent, subsidiary or affiliate of the U.S. business. This is achieved through joint-ownership: one business owns the other, the same individual has a controlling interest in both businesses, or the same group of individuals jointly hold a controlling interest in both businesses;
  • the executive or manager must supervise multiple levels of workers, supervise professional workers, or manage an essential function in the U.S. company;
  • the executive or manager must have worked at least one complete, continuous year out of the previous three years for the foreign business prior to his transfer to the U.S.

The greatest advantage of qualifying for the green card in the EB-1 category is that it is not necessary to obtain a labor certification. A labor certification is the process in which the intending green card applicant must prove that he is not displacing a U.S. worker.

Extraordinary Ability Green Card EB-1

People with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, can qualify for a green card in order to come to the U.S. to work in their field of expertise.

In this green card category, no job offer is necessary. Nor is it necessary in this category to obtain a labor certification in order to prove that the person is not displacing a U.S. worker.

To qualify in the EB-1 green card category for aliens with extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics, it is necessary to show that the alien is among the small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field, either at the national or international level.

An alien must present proof either of a receipt of a major, internationally recognized award such as the Nobel Prize or at least three of the following forms of documentation:

  • receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
  • membership in associations in the field that require outstanding achievements of their members;
  • published materials in professional or major trade publications or major media about the alien concerning the alien's work in the field;
  • participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the field;
  • scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
  • authorship of scholarly articles in the field in professional journals or other major media;
  • employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation;
  • high salary or other remuneration commanded by the alien for services; or
  • other comparable evidence (this typically includes recommendation letters from experts in the field).

The greatest advantage of qualifying for the green card in the EB-1 category is that labor certification is not required. A labor certification is the process in which the intending green card applicant must prove that he is not displacing a U.S. worker.

Outstanding Professor/Researcher EB-1

There is a special green card category available to outstanding professors and researchers who have at least three years of experience in teaching or research in their field, and who have received international recognition for their work.

A person can qualify as an outstanding professor or researcher if:

  • The person is recognized internationally as outstanding in a specific academic field;
  • The person has at least three years of experience in teaching or research in the academic field; and
  • The person is offered a tenured or tenure-track teaching or research position at a university, or a comparable research position with a private employer, if the employer has at least three full-time researchers and documented accomplishments in the research field.

For the applicant to qualify as internationally recognized as outstanding in his academic field, he/she must show at least two of the following:

  • Documentation of the person’s receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievements in the academic field;
  • Documentation of the alien’s membership in associations in the academic field, which require outstanding achievements of their members;
  • Published material, in any language, provided it is translated into English, in professional publications written by others about the alien’s work in the academic field. This documentation must include the title, date, and author of the material;
  • Evidence of the alien’s participation, either individually or on a panel, as the judge of the work of others in the same, or an allied, academic field;
  • Evidence of the alien’s original scientific or scholarly research contributions to the academic field; or
  • Evidence of the alien’s authorship of scholarly books or articles, in scholarly journals with international circulation, in the academic field.

Additional advantages of qualifying for the green card in the EB-1 category:

The greatest advantage of qualifying for the green card in the EB-1 category is that labor certification is not required. A labor certification is the process in which the intending green card applicant must prove that he/she is not displacing a U.S. worker.

Exceptional Ability Green Card EB-2

People who cannot satisfy the requirements of the EB-1 extraordinary alien green card category, but who have exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, can qualify in the EB-2 green card category for aliens of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. People in this category must, however, obtain a labor certification. An immigrant in this category must also have a "sponsor," a U.S. business, non-profit organization, or educational institution, which petitions for the immigrant.

Once the person obtains the labor certification, the sponsor must file a petition to qualify the immigrant in the EB-2 green card category for aliens of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.

To qualify, the alien must present at least three of the following forms of evidence:

  • An official academic record showing that the alien has a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning;
  • Letter(s) from current or former employer(s) showing that the alien has at least ten years of full-time experience in the occupation;
  • A license to practice the profession or certification for a particular profession or occupation;
  • Command of a salary, or other remuneration for services, which demonstrates exceptional ability;
  • Membership in professional associations; or
  • Recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by peers, governmental entities, or professional or business organizations.
  • The regulations also provide that "If the above standards do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence." Such evidence can often take the form of letters from experts in the field who can speak with authority regarding the applicant’s standing and level of recognition in the field.

Additional requirements are:

(a) Evidence that the job requires an alien with exceptional ability.
(b) An approved labor certification.

Exemption from the labor certification requirement can be obtained by aliens with exception ability in the sciences or arts (not business or the performing arts) who satisfy a series of established requirements. The labor certification process also can be avoided in this category through qualification for a so-called " National Interest Waiver." Please see specific requirements below.

Scientists and artists can obtain exemption from the labor certification if they qualify in the so-called Schedule A, Group II subsection of the EB-2 category. Please see specific requirements below.

Additional advantages of qualifying for the green card in the EB-2 category:

In the EB-2 category there are fewer backlogs for obtaining a green card than in the EB-3 category, which has the same number of green cards available, i.e., 40,000, but far more immigrants vying for those green cards.

Professionals with an Advanced Degree EB-2

People who cannot satisfy the requirements of the EB-1 extraordinary alien green card category, but who are professionals with advanced degrees, can qualify in the EB-2 professionals with advanced degrees green card category. People in this category must, however, obtain a labor certification. An immigrant in this category must also have a U.S. business, non-profit organization, or educational institution, which petitions for the immigrant.

Once the person obtains the labor certification, the sponsor must file a petition to qualify the immigrant in the EB-2 professional with advanced degree green card category.

To qualify, the alien must present the following evidence:

  • An official academic record (diploma, transcript, certificate, etc.) showing that the alien has a U.S. advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree; or
  • An official academic record showing that the alien has a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree, and letter(s) from current or former employer(s) showing that the alien has at least five years of progressive post-baccalaureate experience in the specialty.
  • Evidence (at least a statement with detailed explanation in the employer’s letter, but preferably more objective documentation) that the job offered requires an advanced degree. The employer should show that the advanced degree is the industry’s, or at least the employer’s, normal requirement for the position, or that the specific duties of this position are unusually complex.

The labor certification process can be avoided in this category also through qualification for a so-called " National Interest Waiver." Scientists and artists can obtain exemption from the labor certification if they qualify in the so-called Schedule A, Group II category.

Additional advantages of qualifying for the green card in the EB-2 category:

The greatest advantage of qualifying for the green card in the EB-2 category is that there are fewer backlogs for obtaining a green card in this category than in the EB-3 category which has the same number of green cards available, i.e., 40,000, but far more immigrants vying for those green cards.

Note: In the labor certification process for jobs in this category, it is less likely that qualified U.S. workers will apply for the job, since there are, in the population at large, fewer people with advanced degrees than with a bachelor's degree or less.

Professionals and Skilled Workers EB-3

Professionals and skilled workers can qualify in the EB-3 green card category for professionals and skilled workers. People in this category must, however, obtain a

Labor Certification. An immigrant in this category must also have a so-called "sponsor," a U.S. business, non-profit organization, or educational institution, which petitions for the immigrant.

Once the person obtains the labor certification, the sponsor must file a petition to qualify the immigrant in the EB-3 green card category for professionals and skilled workers.

The sponsor must prove:

that it has adequate income or assets to pay the immigrant the so-called prevailing wage, which is the average wage paid to workers in the same or a similar field in the region where the sponsor is located.

The immigrant must prove:

that he/she is sufficiently qualified for the position. To qualify as a "professional," the person must hold a baccalaureate degree in the same or similar field, or for a skilled-worker position, the person must have at least 2 years of practical experience in the same or similar field, or more years of experience, depending on the skill level required by the position.

Note: This green card category is a realistic option only for workers who are already in the U.S. with a long-term renewable work visa, because the waiting times to obtain the green card in this category are very long due to the great number of immigrant workers and their family members waiting out the quota backlog.

Labor Certification

To qualify for the green card in the EB-2 or EB-3 green card categories, the immigrant worker must obtain approval of a labor certification for the job he/she is being offered by a U.S. employer.

Labor certification is the process by which the intending immigrant attempts to show that he will not displace a U.S. worker by accepting the job which is being offered by a sponsoring U.S. business, non-profit organization, or educational institution. The job opening must be advertised locally, and the employer must show that there is no U.S. worker in the local community sufficiently qualified or available to accept the job.

In this process, it must be shown that the immigrant’s acceptance of the job would not serve to lower local wages. The sponsor must offer the job at what is called the "prevailing wage," which is the average wage paid to workers in the same or similar jobs in the sponsor’s local region, based on the statistics of the Department of Labor.

Under some conditions, certain occupations or certain individuals, based on their specialized skills or experience, are exempt from the labor certification requirement.

Two occupations which can qualify in the EB-3 category without labor certification are:

  1. Physical Therapists - who possess all the qualifications necessary to take the physical therapist licensing examination in the state in which they propose to practice physical therapy; and
  2. Professional Nurses, who have: (i) passed the Commission on Graduates in Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) Examination; or (ii) who hold a full and unrestricted license to practice professional nursing in the state of intended employment.

Scientists and artists can obtain exemption from the labor certification if they qualify in the so-called Schedule A, Group II category.

National Interest Waiver

USCIS can make an exception (or "waiver") from the requirement that applicants in the EB-2 category must obtain approval of a labor certification. USCIS grants such an exception if the applicant can prove that it is strongly in the national interest of the U.S. for the applicant to work in his or her field of expertise in the U.S. In order to qualify for the national interest waiver the applicant must satisfy the following three-part test:

Part One - The field in which the alien will work has "substantial intrinsic merit." Such fields include the following:

  • improving the U.S. economy;
  • improving wages and working conditions of U.S. workers;
  • improving education and training programs for U.S. children and under-qualified workers;
    improving health care;
  • providing more affordable housing for young and/or older, poorer U.S. residents;
  • improving the U.S. environment and making more productive use of natural resources; or
  • involving a request from an interested U.S. governmental agency.

Part Two - The benefit of the alien’s proposed activity "will be national in scope."

Part Three - The alien will serve the national interest to a substantially greater degree than would an available U.S. worker having the same minimum qualifications.

Schedule A, Group II of the EB-2 Category

Exemption from the labor certification requirement can be obtained by aliens with exceptional ability in the sciences or the arts (not business or sports) who satisfy the requirements stated in the Schedule A, Group II.

In order to qualify in Schedule A, Group II, the alien must show:

  • the alien has received widespread acclaim and international recognition by recognized experts in his field;
  • the alien’s work in the field during the past year did, and the alien’s intended work in the U.S. will, require exceptional ability; and evidence from at least two of the following groups:
    • Internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence;
    • Membership in international associations requiring outstanding achievement as judged by recognized international experts;
    • Published material in professional publications about the alien (including title, date, and author);
    • Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field;
    • Original scientific or scholarly research contributions of major significance;
    • Authorship of published scientific or scholarly articles in journals with an international circulation; or
    • Display of work at artistic exhibitions in more than one country.