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These types of Visas are usually based on occupational qualifications or investment in a U.S. business. Usually, employer petitions for the alien employee.


Once the immigrant visa petition is filed and the applicant receives a visa number, the applicant is placed in a “preference category” which determines her place on wait-list. Preference category determines how long she must wait for her visa to be processed so she can immigrate.




1st Preference (EB-1)

  • Extraordinary ability

  • Multinational Executives/Managers

  • May self-petition

    • Do not need an employer to petition for them

    • But must prove intent to work in the field in which they gained acclaim

  • Labor certification is not required


2nd Preference (EB-2)

  • Professionals with advanced degrees (Masters or Bachelor plus 5 years work experience) and individuals with “exceptional ability.”

  • Persons of exceptional ability in science, art, business.

    • “Exceptional Ability” = Expertise significantly above the norm in arts, science, business. Need degree + other evidence.

  • Applicants for these visas must have a job offer unless they qualify for a” National Interest Waiver”


3rd Preference (EB-3) [PERM REQUIRED]

  • Professionals, skilled workers (2 years experience), and other workers


4th Preference (EB-4)

  • Special immigrant juveniles, religious workers


5th Preference (EB-5) Immigrant Investor

  • Investment of $1,000,000 in a new commercial enterprise (formed after 11-29-90) that substantially creates at least 10 full-time jobs USCs or authorized immigrant workers.

    • Must engage in day-to-day management or policy formation of the commercial enterprise.

    • In return, USCIS may grant conditional permanent residence to the individual.

  • Investment of at least $500,000 in target employment area

    • Either a rural area or an area of high unemployment at the time of the capital investment or at the time of filing I-526

      • Rural area: an area outside a metropolitan statistical area and outside of a city or town having a population of 20,000 or more

      • High Unemployment area: an area which has experienced unemployment of at least 150% of the national average.

  • Evidence that the new commercial enterprise will create at least 10 full-time positions—not including yourself and family

    • Must show the jobs will be created within 2 years

    • Exception: Regional center-affiliated cases must show that the capital investment was made in accordance with the regional center’s business plan in order to be credited with the creation of indirect jobs.


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