An employment visa is designed to permit foreigners to travel to the United States to live and work for a temporary period. Employment visas can also be called work visas, employment-based visas and EB visas.
Obtaining an employment visa would require an employer to petition the U.S. government for a visa on your behalf and sponsor your travel to the United States.
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How to Obtain an Employment Visa
Obtaining an employment visa starts with your employer. Firstly, your employer will obtain a labour certification approval from the US Department of Labor.
When this is done, the employer will file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form-I-140) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) based on the appropriate employment-based preference category.
Employment-Based Preference Category
Foreigners are sponsored based on the following categories;
Employment First Preference:
To be eligible for the employment first preference, foreigners must fall under one of the following categories;
- Foreigners with extraordinary ability in business, education, athletics, arts, or science – the applicant must present extensive documentation showing sustained national or international acclaim and recognition in one of the aforementioned fields of expertise. The applicant doesn’t need a specific job offer provided they are entering the United States to continue work in their field of expertise.
- Outstanding professors and researchers with at least 3 years of experience in research or education, and some form of international recognition – the applicant must be travelling to the United States to pursue tenure, tenure track teaching, or a comparable research position at an accredited university or higher education institution.
- Multinational managers or executives who have been employed for at least 1 of the past 3 years by the employer’s overseas subsidiary, parent, affiliate, or branch – the applicant’s employment abroad must be in a managerial or executive capacity, and the new position must be in a managerial or executive capacity.
Employment Second Preference:
The employment second preference includes foreigners that fall under any of the below categories;
- Professionals with an advanced degree – must be greater than a bachelor’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree and at least 5 years of progressive experience in their profession.
- Persons with exceptional ability in business, arts, or science – in this case, “exceptional ability” refers to a degree of expertise significantly greater than normal.
Employment Third Preference:
The employment third preference includes foreigners that fall under one of the below categories;
- Skilled workers: individuals with at least 2 years of training or work experience (excluding temporary or seasonal work)
- Professionals: individuals whose occupation requires at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, college, or foreign equivalent.
- Unskilled workers: individuals who are capable of filling positions that require less than 2 years of training or experience that are not seasonal or temporary (this group is sometimes referred to as “other workers”).
Employment Fourth Preference:
The employment fourth preference includes foreigners who fall under any of the below categories;
- Broadcasters in the United States who are employed by the International Broadcasting Bureau of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, or a grantee of a comparable organization
- Religious ministers
- Current and former employees of the US government abroad
- Former employees of the Canal Zone Government or Panama Canal Company
- Former employees of the US government in the Panama Canal Zone
- Afghan and Iraqi translators or interpreters who have worked directly with the US armed forces or under Chief of Mission authority as an interpreter or a translator for at least 12 months
- Afghan and Iraqi nationals who have provided valuable and faithful service while employed by or on behalf of the US government in Iraq for at least one year between March 2003 – September 2013, or in Afghanistan for at least one year after October 7, 2001. Qualified applicants must have experienced an ongoing serious threat as a consequence of their employment with the United States
- Foreign medical graduates (adjustments only)
- Retired international organization employees; unmarried sons and daughters; surviving spouses
- Special immigrant juveniles (no family member derivatives—adjustments only)
- Individuals recruited outside the US who have served or are enlisted to serve in the US armed forces
- NATO-6 civilians; unmarried sons and daughters; surviving spouses
- Individuals who are beneficiaries of petitions or labour certification applications filed before September 11, 2001, if the petition or application was rendered void due to a terrorist act on September 11, 2001
- Religious workers
Employment Fifth Preference:
The employment fifth preference is for foreigners who are investors and are intending to create new jobs in the U.S.
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