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Green card through employment



FIRST PREFERENCE CATEGORY: EB-1 PRIORITY WORKERS

This category is reserved for people who can show some extraordinary ability: outstanding professors, researchers, athletes and certain executives and managers.

The statutory definition of the people who are eligible is: "that small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor." The standards for EB-1 are not exactly easy to meet, however there are serious benefits in applying under this category. First, no PERM certification is needed, which saves substantial time and efforts. Second, a visa numbers for this category are readily available, so there is no backlog. Third, a person can apply for both EB-1 and EB-2 and see, which one works.

There are three types of people who can apply for EB-1.

EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY APPLICANT

In order to apply under this category the applicant need to have a degree equivalent to a PhD, and prove international recognition of outstanding achievements in a certain are.

The applicant can prove outstanding achievements by showing that he either was awarded an internationally recognized award in the area (like, the Fields Medal in Mathematics), or by proving with documents and evidence at least three of the following:

  1. He received some nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence, though not something as high as a Nobel prize;
  2. He is a member in an associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their fields;
  3. Some international or major national media made publications about him and his achievements;
  4. He was a judge of the work of others in the same or similar field of endeavor;
  5. Something else that would prove his contributions of major significance to the field;
  6. He wrote scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media; displayed his work at artistic exhibitions or showcases, or something of that nature;
  7. He played a leading role in organizations that have a distinguished reputation in his field;
  8. He is highly respected by other professionals and scholars in the field;
  9. He had strong commercial success in the performing arts, if he comes as an outstanding artist.

For this type of EB-1 no sponsor is required: a person with outstanding abilities can petition for himself.

OUTSTANDING RESEARCHER

In order to apply under this category the applicant need to prove with documents and evidence at least two of the following:

  1. He received some major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement in the academic field;
  2. He is a member in an associations in the field which demand outstanding achievements of their members;
  3. Other professionals have quoted him in their professional publications in the academic field;
  4. He was a judge of the work of others, individually or as a member of a panel in this or similar field;
  5. He made some original scientific or scholarly research contributions to the academic field;
  6. He wrote scholarly books or articles in the academic field.

The applicant must have at least three years of research experience in his or similar field.

For this type of EB-1 application a job offer from a US employer is needed.

MULTINATIONAL TRANSFEREE, EXECUTIVE AND MANAGER

In order to apply under this category the applicant need to have been employed outside the United States as manager or executive during at least one year within three years immediately preceding the filing or within three years of entering United States as a non-immigrant.

This past employment has to have been with the same employer and the applicant must be coming to work in an executive or a managerial capacity. Subsidiaries and affiliates count as the same employer as long as this affiliation was for longer than a year before the application.

For this type of EB-1 application a job offer from a US employer is needed.

A green card holder is allowed to apply for citizenship after four years and nine months from the date he received his green card.

Remember: a green card holder needs to spend at least six months every year in the United States, or obtain a re-entry permit if he plans to leave for a term of less than two years. Failure to do that can cause revocation of the green card.

To check how the actual process of obtaining the green card words click here.

SECOND PREFERENCE CATEGORY: EB-2 PRIORITY WORKERS.

This category is a lighter version of EB-1. It consists of two primary categories:

ADVANCED DEGREE PROFESSIONAL

That version of EB-2 is reserved for people who have a readily available job offer in a professional occupation (such as a doctor, architect, engineer etc) and an advanced (beyond Bachelorís) degree from United States or a foreign equivalent thereof.

Another degree option is a Bachelorís degree with 5 years of experience in the profession after the receipt of the Bachelorís degree; current job experience with the present employer is not counted.

The applicant has to get through the PERM process.

EXCEPTIONAL ABILITY IN SCIENCE, ARTS OR BUSINESS

That version of EB-2 is reserved for applicants with advanced degrees in science, arts or business who do not have a job offer but are ready to show that that because of his significant contributions to the sciences, arts, or business the applicantís presence in the United States will substantially benefit the national economy, cultural, or educational interests or welfare of the United States. That allows them to apply for National Interest Waiver (i.e. waiver of the PERM process) and self-petition.

In order to get such waiver the applicant needs to prove with documents and evidence that he is seeking employment in an area of "substantial intrinsic merit", his prospective benefit is national in scope; and that he will serve the national interest to a substantially greater degree than a similarly qualified U.S. worker.

Once the National Waiver Interest is granted the applicant does not need to get through the PERM process.

A green card holder is allowed to apply for citizenship after four years and nine months from the date he received his green card.

Remember: a green card holder needs to spend at least six months every year in the United States, or obtain a re-entry permit if he plans to leave for a term of less than two years. Failure to do that can cause revocation of the green card.

To check how the actual process of obtaining the green card works click here.

THIRD PREFERENCE CATEGORY: EB-3 SKILLED PROFESSIONALS

This category is reserved for skilled workers with at least two years of experience and a United States Bachelorís degree or a foreign equivalent thereof. Also, workers who have less than two years of experience but perform labor for which qualified workers are not available in the United States, can petition under EB-3 (a good example is registered nurses.)

That category unfortunately is subject to a backlog that can be checked in the visa bulletin.

The applicant has to have a readily available job offer and get through the PERM process.

A green card holder is allowed to apply for citizenship after four years and nine months from the date he received his green card. A spouse of a citizen, if still married to that citizen, can apply for citizenship after three years of receiving the conditional green card. If the marriage dissolved, the four years and nine months term applies.

Remember: a green card holder needs to spend at least six months every year in the United States, or obtain a re-entry permit if he plans to leave for a term of less than two years. Failure to do that can cause revocation of the green card.

To check how the actual process of obtaining the green card works click here.

FOURTH PREFERENCE CATEGORY: EB-4 SPECIAL IMMIGRANTS

This category is reserved for people with special circumstances. There is no backlog however it is not very easy to meet all the statutory requirements.

RELIGIOUS WORKERS

In order to apply under this category you need to have been a member of a religious denomination that has a non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least two years, working in a religious vocation or occupation at the request of the religious organization.

The religious workers that can apply under this category are generally divided into three types:

  1. A minister/priest of a religious dominion: such applicant would be required to prove that he is authorized to perform religious duties by his congregation
  2. A nun or a monk. Such applicant would be required to prove legitimacy of the claimed status
  3. A person with a professional capacity in the religious vocation (like cantor, missionary etc.) Such applicant must show a Bachelorís degree or foreign equivalent thereof and the history of affiliation with the congregation.<

Note: In order to ensure eligibility please check the status of the Sunset provision legislation.

SPECIAL IMMIGRANTS

International organization employee, armed force member, those who supported US army as translators and other special status immigrants are eligible for EB-4 if their status is listed in a special legislation.

If you believe that you might be eligible, contact me directly and I will look it up for your particular case.

A green card holder is allowed to apply for citizenship after four years and nine months from the date he received his green card. A spouse of a citizen, if still married to that citizen, can apply for citizenship after three years of receiving the conditional green card. If the marriage dissolved, the four years and nine months term applies.

Remember: a green card holder needs to spend at least six months every year in the United States, or obtain a re-entry permit if he plans to leave for a term of less than two years. Failure to do that can cause revocation of the green card.

To check how the actual process of obtaining the green card works click here.

FIFTH PREFERENCE CATEGORY: EB-5, INVESTORS

This category is reserved for people who come to the US for the purpose of investing capital. No job offer from a US employer is required, and there is no backlog.

GENERAL EB-5 INVESTOR

The requirements are that the applicant:

  1. Creates a new commercial enterprise or purchases and fully restructures and expands some existing business enterprise;
  2. Has invested already or is in process of investing $1,000,000 in that enterprise. For special target employment areas investment of $500,000 will be sufficient.
  3. The enterprise shall benefit the United States economy and create ten full-time employment positions for United States citizens or lawful permanent residents, who are not related to the initial investor. There is no need to have all ten positions created immediately, but a business plan should show how the ten positions would be created within two years of the application.
  4. The applicant provides a detailed business plan, explaining in which form the commercial enterprise shall be organized; what is its purpose; providing detailed economic and financial forecasts regarding the proposed business plan; information about the people holding main management positions in the enterprise and market research, specifically demonstrating support for business in the target area.

If the EB-5 status us approved, the investors and his spouse and children under 21 years of age receive a conditional green card. An important tax consequence is that the investor will be taxed by the United States for his worldwide income during their two-year conditional residency.

In one year and nine months the investor can petition for removal of condition, showing that

  1. The enterprise was in fact established; and
  2. The investor has in fact invested or is actively in the process of investing the requisite capital throughout his residence in the United States.

EB-5 PILOT PROGRAM

Half of the visas available for the investors are reserved for those who create and enterprise involving a Regional Center, designated by the USCIS. Regional center is an entity, approved in this status by the USCIS, focusing on a particular area where it promotes economic growth, creation of new jobs and capital investment.

The benefit of taking the pilot program option is limited to the situations where the quota on the non-pilot EB-5 visas is taken.

A green card holder is allowed to apply for citizenship after four years and nine months from the date he received his green card. A spouse of a citizen, if still married to that citizen, can apply for citizenship after three years of receiving the conditional green card. If the marriage dissolved, the four years and nine months term applies.

Remember: a green card holder needs to spend at least six months every year in the United States, or obtain a re-entry permit if he plans to leave for a term of less than two years. Failure to do that can cause revocation of the green card.

To check how the actual process of obtaining the green card works click here.