Employment-Based Visa FAQ

Are you a citizen of a foreign country? Do you want to come to the US for employment reasons? You'll need a visa. The US Department of State provides information on its website about acquiring employment-based immigrant visas. You must pay close attention to all the various requirements. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about employment-based visas.


Q:

How many employment-based immigrant visas are available?



Q:

How are the employment-based immigrant visas divided?


  • A: They're divided into five preference categories:

    • Employment First Preference (E1)
    • Employment Second Preference (E2)
    • Employment Third Preference (E3)
    • Employment Fourth Preference (E4)
    • Employment Fifth Preference (E5)


Q:

What type of applicant is included in the Employment First Preference (E1) category?


  • A: This category contains priority workers who are divided into three sub-groups:

    • Individuals with extraordinary abilities in arts, athletics, business, education and sciences
    • Outstanding internationally recognized professors and researchers with at least three years experience
    • Multinational managers or executives who have worked for at least one year with a branch, affiliate, parent or subsidiary of a US employer


Q:

What type of applicant is included in the Employment Second Preference (E2) category?


  • A:

    This category contains professionals that hold an advanced degree and persons with exceptional ability in business, art or science.


Q:

What type of applicant is included in the Employment Third Preference (E3) category?


  • A: This category contains applicants from three subgroups:

    • Skilled workers with at least two years of work experience or training
    • Professionals with jobs that require at least a baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree
    • Unskilled workers that can fill jobs that require less than two years of work experience or training


Q:

What type of applicant is included in the Employment Fourth Preference (E4) category?


  • A: This category contains many different kinds of special immigrants, including:

    • Broadcasters employed by the International Broadcasting Bureau of the Broadcasting Board of Governors
    • Certain former employees of the Panama Canal Company
    • Ministers of religion
    • Iraqi and Afghan interpreters who helped the US armed forces
    • Certain retired NATO-6 civilians


Q:

What type of applicant is included in the Employment Fifth Preference (E5) category?


  • A:

    This category contains immigrant investors who must invest between $500,000 and $1 million in a US commercial enterprise, which creates at least 10 new full-time jobs.


Q:

How many employment-based visas are in each preference category?


  • A: The visas are divided by these percentages:

    • Employment First Preference (E1) – 28.6 percent
    • Employment Second Preference (E2) – 28.6 percent
    • Employment Third Preference (E3) – 28.6 percent
    • Employment Fourth Preference (E4) – 7.1 percent
    • Employment Fifth Preference (E5) – 7.1 percent


Q:

Does my future employer have to first receive labor certification approval from the US Department of Labor for me to get an immigrant visa?


  • A:

    Your employer must generally obtain labor certification approval for two preference categories: Employment Second Preference (E2) and Employment Third Preference (E3).


Q:

What type of petition must my employer file for me to receive an employment-based immigrant visa?



Q:

How do I know if I'm ineligible to receive an employment-based visa?


  • A:

    A number of different activities and conditions can make you ineligible for a visa even though you fit a preference category. However, this ineligibility can be waived. For more information, visit the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs.


Q:

Am I required to take a medical examination if I want an immigrant visa?


  • A:

    You must undergo a medical examination before an immigrant visa will be issued to you.


Q:

Are there any specific vaccinations I must have before I can receive an immigrant visa?



Q:

Do I have to pay any fees to obtain an employment-based immigrant visa?




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