Acquiring a Green Card solves many U.S. residency problems all in one move. But America keeps a tight grip on its immigration quotas, making access to Green Cards challenging, even in some of the most straightforward situations.
If you or your employer want to solidify a long-term working relationship inside the U.S., you’ll need to navigate the country’s work-based immigration system through the following routes:
People who can demonstrate extraordinary skills, training or are considered a global leader in areas such as the sciences, business, arts, education or athletics can apply for an EB-1 visa.
This category includes people with an existing relationship with a multinational company with a presence in the U.S. Such relationships usually involve long-term employment and specialized training with their company in an executive or managerial position.
With the high bar needed for EB-1 visas, qualified people will have a relatively easy time in the application process.
Advanced degrees or exceptional ability
Individuals with advanced degrees or demonstrated exceptional ability in a profession can apply for an EB-2 visa. These visas require less professional distinction but are likewise a little more difficult to acquire.
Examples of people who may qualify for an EB-2 visa include people with degrees in an in-demand field or have “a U.S. baccalaureate degree or an equivalent foreign degree and letters from current or former employers showing that you have at least 5 years of progressive post-baccalaureate work experience in the specialty.”
People with “exceptional ability” must present extensive evidence of their relevant work history and achievements.
Skilled workers, professionals and unskilled workers
Acquiring an EB-3 visa may be possible for people who satisfy less stringent criteria, but the path to these visas is difficult.
Skilled workers must have at least two years of work experience, education or training and have a full-time job offer. The job must be in a field where comparably qualified American workers are in short supply.
Similarly, professionals seeking an EB-3 visa must present evidence of a U.S. baccalaureate or foreign equivalent degree, work in a field where U.S. workers are difficult to find and a full-time job offer must be at the ready.
Lastly, unskilled laborers with less than two years of training or experience may qualify if they have a full-time job offer that is not temporary or seasonal, work in a field where American workers are in short supply and a labor certification from the Department of Labor.
Physicians or immigrant investors
Primary care and specialty physicians willing to work in underserved areas, usually for at least five years, may qualify for a National Interest Waiver after securing the proper paperwork from a federal agency.
Immigrant investors who have invested, or are in the process of investing a minimum of $1,050,000 or $800,000 in targeted projects that will benefit the U.S. economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs may qualify for an EB-5 visa. However, the accompanying paperwork and qualifications are substantial.
This is merely a quick overview of various pathways to a U.S. Green Card. If you’d like to explore the possibility of earning one of these visas, follow the links above or consult an immigration attorney who can get the ball rolling for you.