immigration attorney speaking to clients at a desk with paper and tablet about employment immigration

Each year, thousands of employers in the United States hire foreign nationals to join their businesses and organizations. These foreign workers often bring highly specialized knowledge to their respective fields, add cultural diversity to the workplace, and help U.S. employers maintain a competitive advantage in the global market. Despite the many benefits these foreign nationals bring to the United States’ economy, business immigration procedures are often complex and the legal processes are overwhelming.

Our firm will guide you through the maze of immigration processes, from the hiring to the transfer of foreign workers. With our experience and our vast knowledge of United States citizenship and immigration law, we can help businesses with their staffing needs and also help employees explore options for work authorization and assist with the documentation requirements necessary to obtain the appropriate visa.

There are two types of business or work-related visas: temporary work visas (non-immigrant visas) and employment-based permanent residency (immigrant visas). 

Employment-based immigrant visas are divided into five preference categories and certain spouses and children may accompany or follow-to-join employment-based immigrants.  Below are the five stated categories:

EB1 Visa is an immigrant employment-based visa (first preference) that is divided into three subgroups as listed below:

EB-1A: Extraordinary Ability

The term “Extraordinary Ability” refers to a level of expertise that the applicant is one of the very few in a particular field that has made it to the top.

This category allows applicants to come into the U.S. or who are already in the U.S. with status, to apply for residency through this program, if they have an extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.

This category is unique and unlike EB-1B and EB-1C, does not require to have a prospective employer or company wanting to sponsor them, but instead, the applicant must be entering the U.S. to continue to work in their field, and must substantially benefit in the U.S. This ultimately means that the applicant is able to self-petition.

In order to qualify for an EB-1A visa, an applicant must meet certain requirements such as:

  1. Show they have sustained national or international acclaim with recognized achievements
  2. Will be entering the U.S. to continue to work in field subject of the acclaim
  3. The applicant’s presence in the U.S. will benefit the U.S.

EB-1B: Outstanding Professors and Researchers

This category allows applicants to come into the U.S. or who are already in the U.S. with status, to apply for residency through this program, if they are able to show that there is international recognition as being outstanding in a certain academic section.

In order to qualify for an EB-1B visa, an applicant must meet certain requirements such as:

  1. The applicant must already have an offer from a sponsoring employer/company.
  2. The applicant must have 3 years of experience in either teaching or researching in that specific academic section
  3. The applicant can show international recognition as being outstanding in a specific academic section.

EB-1C & EB-1-3: Multinational Executives and Managers Visa

The United States issues over 100 different types of visas, but one of the most desirable is the Multinational Manager or Executive Visa, also known as the EB-1C or EB-1-3. These visas are reserved for mid to high-level employees of multinational businesses who are being asked by their employer to move to the United States.

In order to qualify for a Multinational Manager or Executive Visa, an applicant must meet certain requirements such as:

  • The applicant must have been employed for at least one of the three preceding years by the overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of the U.S. employer.
  • The applicant’s employment outside of the U.S. must have been in a managerial or executive capacity, and the applicant must be moving to the United States to work in a managerial or executive capacity.
  • The applicant’s employer must:
    • Be a U.S. employer;
    • Have been doing business for at least 1 year, as an affiliate, a subsidiary, or as the same corporation or other legal entity that employed the applicant abroad; and

The immediate family of a Multinational Manager or Executive Visa holder, including spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21, are allowed to apply for visas as well.

EB-2 Advance Degree, Exceptional Ability, NIW

EB2 is an employment-based visa divided into three subcategories as listed below:

EB-2 Advance Degree

If applying with an advance degree, an applicant has to be able to show:

  • They have an advanced degree or the foreign equivalent of that degree
  • They can show it through having a bachelor’s degree and five years of work experience
  • Academic records showing your degree
  • Letters from current/former employers showing at least 5 years of work experience in a specific occupation

Spouses and unmarried children under 21, can accompany EB-2 visa holders to the U.S.

EB-2 Exceptional Ability

In this case, the applicant must be able to prove that they have an expertise “significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.”

An applicant must meet certain requirements such as:

  • Academic records showing your degree
  • Letters documentation of at least 10 years of full-time experience in the specific occupation
  • License to practice profession/certification for profession/occupation

Spouses and unmarried children under 21, can accompany EB-2 visa holders to the U.S.

EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver)

This waiver allows applicants with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business, or who hold advanced degrees in these fields, to bypass the standard labor certification process required for most employment-based visas.

Applicants must have an advanced degree or the foreign equivalent, such as a Ph. D., Master’s degree, or a Bachelor’s degree with at least five years of post-baccalaureate work experience, else they would be required to show exceptional ability.

One of the most important requirements under the waiver is to be able to demonstrate that your work is in the national interest of the U.S. It must be shown through proof and the types of work usually seen are about the:

  • U.S. Economy
  • Health
  • Education
  • Welfare
  • And many others

This waiver also allows applicants to self-petition for the visa, meaning that you do not need a U.S. employer or sponsor to apply on your behalf.

Spouses and unmarried children under 21, can accompany EB-2 visa holders to the U.S.

EB-3 Skilled Workers, Professional, Other Workers

There are about 40,000 EB3 visas granted each fiscal year. However, there is a limitation of no more than 7% approved EB3 visas going to the people of the same country. This accounts for longer wait times, especially if it’s a country that is high in numbers for EB3 applications.

For all three categories below, there are three things that must be the case for every single one of them:

  • The employer/company must be willing to pay the prevailing wage or higher
  • There must not be qualified American workers able to take the position applying for
  • There must be a valid job offer
  • They are divided into three categories below:

EB-3 Professional

Under this category, an applicant needs to have a bachelor’s or its foreign equivalent or master’s degree to obtain the position. This category, unlike the EB-3 Skilled workers, does not take into account work experience. The applicant must have a degree awarded and work experience will not be used as a unit to finish out the degree.

A three-year foreign bachelor’s degree is not recognized as equivalent to a US bachelor’s degree.

EB-3 Skilled

Under this category, an applicant needs to be capable of performing the duties required, which the position at hand usually requires at least 2 years of training or experience.

EB-3 Unskilled

Under this category, an applicant who has less than 2 years of work experience or training or hasn’t completed their college education can qualify. This category can be one of the popular options because technically no requirements are needed from the applicant to be able to obtain the position.

EB-4 Visa for Special Immigrant Religious Workers

Religious workers who plan to immigrate to the United States permanently can apply for an EB-4 Visa.

To qualify as a special immigrant religious worker, an applicant must meet certain requirements such as:

  1. Have been a member of a religious denomination that has a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least 2 years immediately before the filing of a petition for this status with USCIS.
  2. Seek to enter the United States to work in a full-time (at least 35 hours per week), compensated (salaried or unsalaried) position
  3. Be coming to work for either:
    1- A bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States; or
    2-A bona fide organization that is affiliated with the religious denomination in the United States.

The religious organization must provide documentation of their tax-exempt status and explain how the religious worker will be compensated.

EB-5 Investors

The United States offers a variety of business investment visas designed to encourage economic growth and attract foreign investors. Among the most prominent are the E-2 Treaty Investor Visas, which allows individuals from treaty countries to invest in a U.S. business; the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, providing a pathway to permanent residency for substantial investments that create jobs; and the L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa for managers, executives, or specialized knowledge employees transferring to a U.S. branch of their company.

With an EB5 Investor, an applicant must have specific and sufficient capital that he/she can invest and, as well as create jobs in the U.S. This visa has a direct path to a Green Card for investors and their families. This type of visa also allows access to U.S. education and employment opportunities without restrictions.

To qualify as an EB-5 Investor, an applicant must meet certain requirements such as:

  1. Demonstrate that at least 10 new jobs were created because of their investment
  2. An applicant must invest a minimum of $1,050,000. However if the investment was made in a rural area or an area that experiences high unemployment, then the investment can be reduced to $800,000
  3. An applicant must be able to demonstrate that their investment capital was from a lawful source and there are records showing how those funds were received

Why Choose Zepeda Law Firm

It is critical to remember that each of these employment visa categories has specific requirements and complex criteria that must be met. An attorney experienced in immigration law can assist applicants in preparing and submitting their applications. Additionally, it is important to be aware of the accompanying rights to these temporary employment visas and to seek help if you or someone you know has encountered violations or abuses​​​​​​​. Once you have a consultation with Zepeda Law Firm,  we are confident that you will be convinced that you have come to the right place for your immigration law needs. Our firm prides itself on crafting strategies carefully to suit your particular case, and we will offer constant legal, as well as moral support to you, and your family if they are involved as well. Contact Zepeda Law Firm today for your initial complimentary consultation.