Employer-Sponsored Immigrant


Each year a limited number of foreign nationals are granted Permanent Resident status (Green Cards) through employment-based preference categories. If you have the right combination of skills, education and/or work experience and are otherwise eligible, you may be able to live permanently in the United States. Due to the limitations on the number of employment-based immigrant visas issued, there may not be a visa immediately available in the category in which you are sponsored. You can check the current availability on the monthly visa bulletin at www.travel.state.gov. Additionally, the US Department of Labor (DOL) must first verify that there are insufficient available, qualified and willing US workers to fill the position being offered, and employers must obtain an approved Labor Certification (PERM) prior to petitioning for Immigrant status for employees.

The five employment-based immigrant visa categories are listed below:

Table 5 Permanent Worker Visa Preference Categories
PreferencesGeneral DescriptionLabor Certification Required?
First Preference EB-1This preference is reserved for persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; outstanding professors or researchers; and multinational executives and managers.No
Second Preference
This preference is reserved for persons who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees, or for persons with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business.Yes, unless applicant can obtain a national interest waiver
Third Preference
This preference is reserved for professionals, skilled workers, and other workers.Yes
Fourth Preference
This preference is reserved for “special immigrants,” which includes certain religious workers, employees of U.S. foreign service posts, retired employees of international organizations, alien minors who are wards of courts in the United States, and other classes of aliens.No
Fifth Preference
This preference is reserved for business investors who invest $1 million or $500,000 (if the investment is made in a targeted employment area) in a new commercial enterprise that employs at least 10 full-time U.S. workers.No