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Employment-Based Visas

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In order to gain an employment-based visa in the United States,

an individual needs the right combination of education, skills, and work experience to qualify. Each fiscal year, the U.S. government offers approximately 140,000 employment-based visas, as well as visas for the individual’s spouse and children. Given the right circumstances, an employment-based visa could lead to an employment-based green card.

Are you interested in obtaining an employment-based green card? At the Law Office of Raymond O. Griffith, we can provide you with assistance you need to obtain an employment-based visa. We have years of experience working with people just like you and helping them achieve their dream of lawfully becoming a U.S. citizen. Explore our website to learn more about the services we offer, and give our office a call or visit us in Baltimore to get started.

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First Preference: Priority Workers

Priority workers who are eligible to receive an employment-based visa are classified under three categories:

  • Foreign nationals who have extraordinary abilities in athletics, business, art, education, and science. In order to qualify as having extraordinary abilities, the individual will need to have sustained international and national acclaim and have their efforts recognized through extensive documentation. The individual will also need to have the intention of working in the field of their extraordinary abilities to benefit the future of the United States. Individuals with extraordinary abilities do not need an offer of employment to support their application.
  • Foreign nationals who are researchers or professors. These individuals must have outstanding international recognition in their field and a minimum of three years teaching experience or research. The individual must also have an offer for a tenure-track research or teaching position in order to qualify.
  • Foreign nationals who are managers or multinational executives who have been employed by the sponsoring employer in a managerial or executive capacity for at least one year in the three years prior to their application. The individual must also intend to continue to work for either a subsidiary, affiliate, or the sponsoring employer.

Second Preference: Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Aliens of Extraordinary Ability


In order to qualify for an employment-based visa in this category, an individual must hold an advanced degree or the equivalent or have an exceptional ability. Those applying for this category must have a labor certification. However, if the individual has exceptional ability in science or the arts and is outstanding in their field, they may be exempt from labor certification by the Department of Labor under Schedule A. In order to qualify in this category, the individual must have earned a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or an advanced degree, as well as have five years or more of experience in their field with increasing responsibility. The individual can also qualify if they have exceptional ability in science, business, or the arts. If the work of the individual is found to benefit the national interest of the United States, the individual may qualify for a waiver of the labor certification requirement.

Third Preference: Skilled Workers, Professionals Holding Basic Degrees, and Other Workers

Under the third preference, foreign nationals must be professionals with bachelor degrees, skilled workers with a minimum of two years of training or experience and must not be seasonal or temporary workers, or other workers such as unskilled laborers. If an individual is petitioning for an employment-based visa under the third preference, they will need a labor certification.


Fourth Preference: Special Immigrants

Special immigrants are categorized as some medical doctors who have continuously practiced in the United States since 1987, battered spouses, religious workers, and United States government workers abroad. In order to qualify for this preference, the individual is not required to obtain a labor certification.

Fifth Preference: Immigrant Investors

A foreign national who invests one million dollars in a U.S. commercial enterprise with at least 10 full-time United States workers can obtain this type of employment-based visa. Additionally, if a foreign national invests at least 500 thousand dollars in targeted employment areas can also qualify for this visa. However, the investment must last for at least two years before the investor can obtain their visa, and passive investments do not qualify. Furthermore, the petitioner of the visa must actively participate in the management of the business, but no offer of employment or labor certification is required.



In the case where a foreign national has established their own business in the United States, they do have the option of applying for an employment-based visa to work for their own business or stay in the U.S. for a longer period of time than allowed by a nonimmigrant visa. If the individual fulfills the requirement for an immigrant investor, they may be able to obtain a visa under the fifth preference category. Additionally, if the foreign national is a multinational manager or executive transfer from a parent company or subsidiary abroad, they may also qualify for permanent residence based on their position in the company.

However, if the foreign national does not reach the requirements set by the fifth preference, and they are not a manager or executive of a parent company or subsidiary, the individual may find it difficult to receive an employment-based visa for their own company. 

Contact the Law Office of Raymond O. Griffith

If you are attempting to obtain an employment-based visa, we can help! At the Law Office of Raymond O. Griffith, we have years of experience working with people just like you to obtain visas, permanent residency, and more. Explore our website to learn more about all the services we can provide, and visit us in Baltimore or contact our office to get started!

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