Our Firm Exclusively Practices Immigration Law

Permanent Visas Solutions For Immigrants Coming To The United States

One of the most common ways for immigrants seeking to come to the United States and become permanent residents is through an employment-based visa. These visas allow immigrants to stay in the United States and obtain Lawful Permanent Resident status, called LPR or a green card.

There are five different types of employment visas that individuals can apply for, some of which the immigrant applies and some of which the employer applies. One key benefit of these employment-based visas is allowing the immigrant’s spouse and children under 21 to obtain LPR status through the visa. Below, you can read more about the five different types of employment visas you can apply for.

EB-1 Visas

EB-1 Visas are available to the highest tier of skilled workers looking to immigrate to the United States, and they come in three varieties.

Extraordinary Ability In The Arts, Sciences, Education, Business Or Athletics

This category applies to individuals with extraordinary sciences, business, arts, education, or athletics skills. This is generally shown through national or international recognition by major international awards such as the Nobel Prize. There is also a list of ten criteria, of which the applicant must satisfy at least three.

  • Receiving a nationally or internationally acknowledged award or prize (awards given by schools to students are not given much consideration);
  • Being associated with or a member of an organization that requires outstanding achievement from their applicants that is adjudicated by nationally or internationally recognized experts;
  • Contributed to a publication in either a professional journal, a trade publication or some other significant media;
  • Participated as a judge in a review of other individuals’ work in their chosen field of accomplishment;
  • Can provide evidence that shows original works of scientific, academic, artistic, athletic or commercial-related contributions to their chosen field;
  • Have authored scholarly or academic articles in their chosen field;
  • Have produced artistic showcases or exhibitions;
  • Performed in a leading or culturally significant role for a group, association, organization or establishment of significant renown;
  • They received a relatively high salary or other remuneration in comparison to what is usually provided in their field;
  • They were quite commercially successful in the performing arts.

For this particular category of EB-1 visa, an individual may apply for this visa without the assistance of an employer.

Outstanding Professors And Researchers

This second category of EB-1 visa is for outstanding professors and researchers. This means a person who has been recognized as “outstanding” in their particular academic field, has been in their field for a minimum of three years and they are seeking one of the following three criteria:

  • A tenured or tenure track academic teaching role at a university or college;
  • A similar position currently at a different college or university where they will be conducting research;
  • A position at a private corporation where they are employed to perform research. This private company must be a valid research organization with a minimum of three other full-time researchers already on staff and has produced documented accomplishments previously in their field of research.

There is no requirement for a permanent labor certification (PERM) or other labor certification to apply for this category of EB-1 visa. Eligible research positions can include tenured, tenured track or other positions that include a permanent or indefinite offer of employment.

Multinational Managers And Executives

The last category of EB-1 Visas is available to people who have been working for at least one year within the last three years at a multinational corporation abroad and in the United States, and they wish to transfer that employee to the United States as either an executive or a manager. This can apply to existing or new branch operations inside the United States. Many individuals who seek this visa first apply for an L-1 nonimmigrant visa. As with the previous visa, no labor certification or PERM is required for this visa application.


The next type of visa is the EB-2 visa, which is similar to the EB-1 visas. However, these have higher standards of proof that must be achieved for the visa to be granted. Additionally, these positions all require a valid job offer and a PERM to be eligible.

Exceptional Ability In The Arts, Business, Or Sciences (And National Interest Waiver)

The first category of EB-2 visa is those available for exceptional ability in the arts, sciences or business. These positions must benefit the United States economy, cultural development, education system or general welfare. To demonstrate that the applicant has exceptional ability, they must demonstrate at least three of the following six criteria:

  • They have a degree in which they have achieved exceptional ability in their chosen field;
  • They can produce documents from employers showing that they have at least ten years of experience in their field;
  • They have a professional license;
  • They have a salary proportionate to their exceptional skill;
  • They are a member of a professional affiliation;
  • They have received significant recognition from their peers, a professional organization or government entity for work in their field.

For these positions, the applicant must show that they have both a job offer and that the PERM may be waived if the position is in the national interest of the United States. In order for an application to receive this national interest waiver, three things must be shown:

  1. The position and organization or business in which they are engaged in have both substantial merit and are of national importance;
  2. The applicant is suited for their role and will be able to advance the purpose of their work in the United States;
  3. Lastly, waiving the PERM and job offer would benefit the United States overall.

Once these three things have been established, the application will be eligible to move forward.

Members Of The Professions Holding Advanced Degree (And National Interest Waiver)

The other type of EB-2 visas are those for members of professions who hold advanced degrees or have roughly equivalent work experience. An advanced degree is considered at least a bachelor’s degree and the optional experience can be at least five years in their profession.

Applicants for these positions must demonstrate a job offer and potential eligibility for a PERM waiver if the position is in the national interest of the United States. To qualify for a national interest waiver, three criteria must be met.

  1. The position and organization or business they are involved in are both significant and have national importance.
  2. The applicant is well-suited for their role and will effectively contribute to the purpose of their work in the United States.
  3. Lastly, waiving the PERM and job offer would be a potential benefit to the United States.

The application will be eligible to proceed after establishing all three things.

EB-3 Professional, Skilled, And Other Workers

The third type of visa that an individual can obtain is the EB-3 visa, which applies to most employees. These visas require an employer to file on behalf of the individual applicants. The applicants must hold at least a bachelor’s degree if they are professionals, two or more years of experience or education if they are a skilled worker or less than two years of training or work experience for other workers. For any of these EB-3 visas, the applicant must have a job offer, and the PERM may not be waived.

PERM – Company Files With The Department of Labor

Permanent Labor Certification, or PERM, is the first step for applicants of an EB-2 visa or an EB-3 visa. Employers must complete it for applicants who seek LPR status in the United States. The employer must show to the United States Department of Labor that there are no available, willing and qualified workers in the United States that could otherwise fill the position. Once this is done, the PERM process is complete, and the application can move forward with the next two steps, the I-140 and the adjustment of status or consular processing.

I-140 Immigrant Petition – Employer Files With USCIS

For applicants seeking an EB-1 visa or EB-2 visas with a national interest waiver, the first step in their application is an I-140 petition. For anyone else seeking an EB-2 visa for advanced degrees or any EB-3 visas, this will be the second step them after their PERM is approved. This must be filed within 180 days of the PERM approval.

Once the I-140 has been submitted, the employer must prove that it can pay for the applicant’s salary starting from the beginning of the PERM process and continuing until LPR status is granted. Additionally, the employer must present evidence that the applicant has fulfilled the educational or experience requirements under PERM.

I-485, Adjustment Of Status –Individual And Dependent(s) File With USCIS Or U.S. Embassy/Consulate

The last part of the process for an employment based visa is the I-495, called the adjustment of status or consular processing if it takes place while the applicant is overseas. Sometimes, this can be completed simultaneously with the I-140, saving applicants time. At this point in the application process, the government will verify that the applicants and their dependents are upstanding individuals who have not been convicted of a crime, are associated with terrorist organizations, are addicted to illegal substances, or other related issues.

EB-4 – Religious Worker

The next employment visa category available to apply for is the EB-4 visa, which is reserved for religious workers who work and live permanently in the United States. This is not limited to religious leaders or clergy members such as pastors, priests, imams, rabbis or nuns; rather, anyone who works for a religious organization may qualify. For example, a music teacher at a religious school would be eligible for this type of visa if their work involves some aspect of religious education.

So long as the religious values or tenets of the religion are a significant portion of the applicant’s job, an employee of a religious organization may apply for an EB-5 visa. The only additional requirement that applicants must demonstrate is that they have been performing this religious work for at least two years before their application.

EB-5 – Permanent Visas For Investors

The final type of employment-based visa that can be obtained is the EB-5 visa, reserved for investors wishing to relocate to the United States to monitor their investments. This visa is intended to draw wealthy international investors to put their capital in United States businesses in targeted ways that will build them up and increase domestic jobs. These investments are normally $1.8 million, but applicants can also be eligible to invest $900,000 in businesses in underinvested communities or through preapproved projects designated by the government. These investments must be with funds obtained from legal sources, and the projects they are invested in are bona fide investments that place the capital at risk.

Reach Out For Assistance

If you have additional questions about employment-based immigration, our attorney can assist you. Schedule a consultation today with an experienced Seattle immigration lawyer to get your needed answers. Contact us online or call 206-512-3597. We serve clients across the Pacific Northwest. Se Habla Español.