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Employment-based Preference Categories For Green Card Visas

Posted by Ann Badmus | Aug 07, 2012 | 0 Comments

Every fiscal year (October 1st – September 30th), approximately 140,000 employment-based green card visas are made available to qualified applicants. If you are a foreign medical graduate working in the United States, there are three employment-based preference categories in which you may qualify to obtain a green card visa: EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3.


Employment-Based First Preference (EB-1) includes: (1) Persons with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business and athletics (persons who have risen to the top of their profession); (2) Outstanding professors and researchers; and (3) Multi-national executives and managers.


Employment-Based Second Preference (EB-2) includes: (1) Members of professions holding advanced degrees (Master's or Ph.D.) (The position must be one that requires a Master's or Ph.D. to perform the duties – the degree held by the individual does not determine whether or not it is an EB-2, rather it is the company's job requirements. Additionally, the immigration regulations provide that a job which requires a minimum of a Bachelor's degree PLUS a five years of progressively responsible experience will be considered equivalent to a Master's level position and will qualify for EB-2.); and (2) Persons of exceptional ability in the sciences, art or business. Persons of exceptional ability are those who have a degree of expertise above that which is ordinarily expected.


Employment-Based Third Preference (EB-3) includes: (1) Professionals and skilled workers (bachelor's degree or two years of training, post-secondary education, or experience) and (2) unskilled workers requiring no specific training, education, or experience.

To be considered for a green card visa under the EB-2 and EB-3 categories, your prospective employer must first obtain a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor. Once received (if required), the employer then files form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the EB-2 or EB-3 applicable to the case. (NOTE: Persons with extraordinary abilities in the EB-1 preference category and those who apply for the national interest waiver of labor certification in the EB-2 category are able to file their own petitions.)

NOTE AND REMINDER: All categories of employment-based green card visas are issued in the chronological order in which the petitions were filed until the annual numerical limit for the category is reached. The filing date of a petition becomes the applicant's priority date. Green card visas cannot be issued until an applicant's priority date is reached.

About the Author

Ann Badmus

Principal and Managing Attorney


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