EMPLOYMENT Visas for Permanent Residence

A lawful permanent resident [LPR] is a foreign national who has been authorized to live and work permanently in the United States. If you want to become an LPR based on the fact that you have a permanent employment opportunity in the United States, or if you are an employer who wants to sponsor someone for lawful permanent residency based on permanent employment in the United States, you must go through a multi-step process.

  • First, foreign nationals and employers must determine if the foreign national is eligible for lawful permanent residency.
  • Second, most employment categories require that the U.S. employer complete a labor certification request (Form ETA 750) for the applicant, and submit it to the Department of Labor.  Labor must either grant or deny the certification request. Qualified alien physicians who will practice medicine in an area of the United States which has been certified as underserved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are relieved from this requirement. And, there are other exceptions to needing a labor certification, for instance if you fall into category EB 1 (extraordinary aliens, professors and researchers, or multi-national executives). Or, you may be coming to the U.S. to perform a service that is in the National Interest which entitles you to a waiver of the Labor Certification. And, there are some few other exceptions.
  • Third, once the Labor Certification has been approved by the Department of Labor, CIS must approve an immigrant visa petition, Form I-140, for the person wishing to immigrate to the United States. The employer wishing to bring the applicant to the United States to work permanently files this petition. The employer acts as the sponsor (or petitioner) for the applicant (or beneficiary) who wants to live and work on a permanent basis in the United States.
  • Fourth, the State Department must give the applicant an immigrant visa number, even if the applicant is already in the United States. When the applicant receives an immigrant visa number, it means that an immigrant visa has been assigned to the applicant. All labor categories are subject to a quota, so there may not be any visas available at the time your Labor Certification is approved. You must wait until a visa becomes available before you can file the I-140 petition for a visa.
  • Fifth, if the applicant is already in the United States, he or she might apply to adjust to permanent resident status after a visa number becomes available.  Back To Top
There are five categories for granting permanent residence to foreign nationals based on employment skills:

EB-1 Priority workers

  • Extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics
  • Outstanding professors or researchers
  • Multi-national managers and executives subject to international transfer to the United States

EB-2 Professionals with advanced degrees or persons with exceptional ability

  • Exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business
  • Advanced degree professionals
  • Aliens coming to perform services in the National Interest
  • Qualified alien physicians who will practice medicine in an area of the U.S. which is underserved. 

EB-3 Skilled or professional workers

  • Professionals with bachelor's degrees (not qualifying for a higher preference category)
  • Skilled workers (minimum two years training and experience)
  • Unskilled workers

EB-4 Special Immigrants

  • Religious workers
  • Asylees
  • Cancellation of Removal Grants
  • Employees and former employees of the U.S. Government abroad

EB-5 Immigrant Investors [Million Dollar Club]

  • Invest $1 million in a new enterprise that employs 10 workers
  • Only given a Conditional Residency for two years

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This section is currently under construction. Please visit the Department of Labor for more information.


Athletes and entertainers may qualify under EB 1, EB 2, or EB 3 depending on their level of accomplishment.  A gold medalist at the Olympics will qualify as an extraordinary alien, EB 1, because they are proven at the very top of their field of endeavor. A soccer player such as Pele from Brazil may be an EB 1, but his team mate may only qualify as an EB 3, hence thorough evaluation of the athlete and entertainers achievements and acclaim are necessary to make to appropriate decision.  Back To Top