Countless immigrants wish to enter the U.S. every year to pursue their careers and earn a living for themselves and their families. Though this may seem as straightforward as applying for a visa and entering the country, the process is often far more complex and overwhelming than anticipated. Below, our Washington D.C. immigration team outlines each type of employment visa and how to obtain one.
EB-1 visas are available to individuals with extraordinary abilities, professors and researchers, or multinational executives/managers, otherwise known as priority workers. While there is not a need for labor certification, there are certain standards that need to be met depending on one’s occupation.
Executives and Managers
These applicants must have held a managerial or executive position for a firm or corporation outside the United States for at least one year. This period also must immediately precede the three years prior to submitting the application for this visa.
The applicant’s employment must have been with the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of their original employer abroad, or an employer in the United States.
Professors and Researchers
These individuals must also hold international recognition for their achievements in a particular field of academics. They must also have at least three years of teaching or researching experience and must be entering the U.S. to pursue tenure, a tenure track teaching, or a similar research position at an institution of higher education.
This visa does, however, require an offer of employment from a university, institution of higher education, or institute of a private employer.
These are individuals with extraordinary skills in fields such as the sciences, fine arts, business, or athletics. These applicants must hold achievements that have been nationally or internationally recognized through extensive documentation in order to qualify for this visa.
Unlike other visas, there is no need for an offer of employment, but applicants must prove they are entering the United States to pursue work within their occupation.
These visas are given to individuals who hold advanced degrees or hold exceptional ability in sciences, arts, or business. One additional benefit of this visa is the opportunity for its recipients to gain a green card faster than other applicants due to the small number of people able to qualify for it.
Individuals with Advanced Degrees
Advanced degrees, or their equivalents, are bachelor’s degrees with an additional five years of continuous work experience in their given field.
Adequate proof documents for this visa include:
- Official academic records confirming a U.S. advanced degree or foreign equivalent
- An official academic record showing a U.S. bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent, and letters from a current or former employer proving at least five years of work experience after earning the degree
Individuals with Exceptional Abilities
Individuals applying under this category must be able to prove exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, which stand to benefit:
- The U.S. economy
- Cultural or educational interests, or
- Welfare in the future
The definition of exceptional ability, in this case, means “a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.”
These visas are given to professionals, skilled workers, & unskilled Workers. Applicants are required to obtain a permanent, full-time job offer from a U.S. employer. The beginning of the application process rests on the employer by obtaining an approved labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor, confirming the employer’s recruitment of American workers for the position, but was unable to find a qualified or willing applicant.
Labor certification is required for each of the three EB-3 applicant subcategories. These workers include:
- Professional workers - architects, lawyers, physicians, engineers, and teachers holding university degrees no higher than a bachelor’s degree and less than five years of work experience.
- Skilled workers - workers in occupations that do not normally need a college degree, but need at least two years of experience or training. This includes computer and technical workers, stonemasons, and journalists.
- Unskilled workers - This subcategory covers any job not mentioned above. This includes housekeepers, nannies, farmers, garden workers, and custodial workers.
Individuals applying for this visa are categorized as “special immigrants” who may be eligible for a Green Card based on specific visa categories that are listed in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Here is a brief list of eligible applicants:
- Religious workers
- Panama Canal Company Employees, Canal Zone Government Employees, or U.S. Government in the Canal Zone Employees
- Translators who have worked with United States armed forces
- Afghanistan nationals who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. government or the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan
The final category of employment visas, EB-5 visas, are designated for foreign investors. They allow these applicants to gain permanent residency immediately upon their entry into the U.S. upon making a specified minimum investment into the economy.
The specific amount of the minimum investment has fluctuated in past years, but is usually between $900,000 to $1.8 million. The final requirement to obtain this visa is proof that it will create at least ten full-time permanent jobs for American workers.
How We Can Help
From the application process to finally entering the country, we know firsthand how difficult obtaining a visa can be. Because of this, we offer a compassionate and personalized approach for every client to help them achieve their goals in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
If you would like to learn more about how you may be able to obtain an employment visa of your own, don’t hesitate to contact us today through our online contact form, or give us a call at (703) 546-9300 today!