Overview of the Employment Based (“EB”) Green Card Options
It is possible to obtain a green card based on employment or if you plan to invest a significant sum of money in the United States. This page will provide a basic overview of these options, and links to a more detailed overview of these various options. Although employment based immigration branches off into five categories, since there are three EB1 categories and two EB2 categories, there are actually a total of eight employment based categories that one may fit under.
Click on any of the topics on the right to read a more detailed overview and to find additional articles, resources, case studies and more.
EB Categories List:
- EB1A – Aliens of Extraordinary Ability: This category, like all other EB1 category cases is considered the fastest path to a green card. No employer is required. To qualify, whether you are an athlete, entertainer, engineer, architect, graphic designer, etc., you need to prove that you are among the very top of your field of endeavor. USCIS has outlined ten criteria, and applicants must meet at least three out of ten of these criteria.
- EB1B – Outstanding Researchers and Professors: A sponsoring employer is required for this petition. Normally the employer is a university or a research organization. USCIS evaluates both the employer’s eligibility, and the employee’s qualifications. If the position is for a professor, the university must offer a tenure track position. There is a three-year experience requirement and the beneficiary needs to have at least two out of a list of six criteria to prove that they are outstanding.
- EB1C – Multinational Executives or Managers: To qualify for the EB1C category, the employer must be a multinational company and the employee must have worked as an executive or manager for at least one of the past three years (with a certain exception if the worker is already in the US for the employer on H1B, or an L1 status), and must have an offer to continue in such a capacity for the US branch of the company. There are strict guidelines as to what nature of work qualifies as “executive” or “managerial.”
- EB2 – National Interest Waiver (NIW): The EB2 category is normally a faster path to a green card, but also requires a labor certification and an employer, unless the candidate can qualify for a national interest waiver to waive the labor certification requirement and waive the requirement of a sponsoring employer. To qualify, the candidate should show they will (i) work in the US in an area of substantial intrinsic merit, (ii) that the impact of the work is national in scope, and (iii) that the worker’s work in the area justifies the waiver since the worker’s ability to serve the interest would be difficult to find in the labor market. Ability is gauged more on achievements as opposed to having a diverse skill set.
- EB2 – Advanced Degree Worker: To qualify for EB2 as an advanced degree worker, the employer must be sponsoring a position where the candidate has at least the equivalent of a Masters degree, which may also be established by possessing a Bachelor’s degree and five years of progressive experience. The employer must test the labor market and fail in their recruitment of a qualified US Citizen/Resident.
- EB3 – Professional or Skilled Worker: To qualify for EB3 as a professional or skilled worker the petitioner should either require a bachelor’s degree or an associates degree for the position, respectively. Similar to an EB2 petition, the employer must test the labor market and fail in their recruitment of a qualified US Citizen/Resident. The wait times for when such a petition will allow the beneficiary to apply for a green card subsequently are lengthy, and can be ascertained by referring to the visa bulletin.
- EB4 – Religious Workers: This category is for those who will work at a qualifying non-profit 501(c)(3) religious organization where they will work as a minister or in a religious vocation or occupation. The worker must have had at least two years of prior experience working as a qualifying religious worker preceding the filing of the petition. Obtaining a green card in this category is generally as speedy as that of the EB1 category.
- EB5 – Substantial Investors: A foreign investor who invests $1,000,000 into a business which directly supports the employment of ten US Citizen/Resident workers may obtain a conditional green card. The investment may be as low as $500,000 in certain designated economically disadvantaged areas. Additionally, there is also a regional center program where USCIS has pre-approved investments to qualify where the investor may invest $500,000 even where the job creation is indirect.