- You have received a nationally or internationally recognized prize or award for excellence in your field;
- You are a member of an association for which outstanding achievement in your field is required to become a member;
- You have been profiled or written about in a professional, major trade publication, and/or other major media;
- You have been asked to judge the work of others either individually or as part of a panel;
- You have made significant, original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions to your field;
- You have written scholarly articles that have been published in professional, major trade publications, and/or other major media;
- Your work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases;
- You have played a critical or leading role in organizations with distinguished reputations;
- You have commanded a high salary or other compensation as compared to others in your field; and/or
- You have had commercial success in the performing arts.
EB-1B green cards are available to foreign nationals who are outstanding researchers or professors.
Organization may be able to avoid the labor certification process if the foreign national to be sponsored is a
professor or researcher who has outstanding achievements in his/her academic field. Your organization must be a
university, institution of higher education, or private employer that employs at least 3 full-time researchers and
has documented accomplishments in an academic field. To be eligible for EB-1B classification, the foreign national
- Have been extended an offer of employment;
- Have at least 3 years of teaching or research experience;
- Be offered a tenured or tenured-track teaching or comparable research position at a university, institution of
higher education, or qualifying private employer; and
- Demonstrate international recognition for outstanding achievements in his/her particular academic field.
Demonstrating international recognition for outstanding achievements in the foreign nationals’s academic field
requires submission of extensive evidence showing he/she meets at least 2 of the following criteria:
- He/she has received major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement;
- He/she is a member of an associations that requires their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement;
- Articles or other material written by others about the foreign national’s work has been published in
- He/she has judged the work of others in a same or allied academic field either individually or as part of a
- He/she has made original scientific or scholarly research contributions in his/her field; and
- He/she has written scholarly books or articles that have been published in scholarly journals with international
circulation in his/her field.
- If the foreign national has been employed outside the United States, he/she must have been employed in a managerial or executive capacity for your company or an affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch for at least 1 year in the 3 years prior to filing the immigrant visa petition; OR
- If the foreign national is already working in the United States, he/she was employed in a managerial or executive capacity for your company or an affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch for at least 1 year in the 3 years prior to being transferred to the United States; AND
- Your company must have been doing business for at least 1 year in the United States as a legal entity with a qualifying relationship to the entity that employed the foreign national abroad; and
- The foreign national will be employed in a managerial or executive capacity in the United States.
It is important to stress that typically a first-line supervisor is not considered to be working in a “managerial
capacity” for EB-1C purposes. To qualify as a “manager”, your company needs to document that the foreign national:
- Manages the company or a department, subdivision, component, unit, and/or function within the company;
- Supervises and controls the work of other supervisory, professional, and/or managerial staff, or manages an essential function within the company;
- Has the authority to recruit, hire, discipline, promote, terminate, and make other personnel decisions or, if no employees are directly supervised, functions at a senior level; and
- Exercises discretion over the day-to-day operations of the activity or function for over which he/she has authority.
To qualify as an “executive”, your company needs to document that the foreign national:
- Directs the management of your company or major component of your company;
- Establishes your company’s or the major component’s goals and policies;
- Exercises wide discretion in decision-making; and
- Receives only general supervision or direction from your company’s higher executives, board of directors, or shareholders.
- Official academic records showing that the foreign national has a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award; from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning related to his/her area of exceptional ability;
- Letters documenting the foreign national has at least 10 years of full-time experience in his/her occupation;
- The foreign national is licensed to practice his/her profession or holds certification for his/her profession or occupation;
- Evidence that the foreign national has commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates his/her exceptional ability;
- The foreign national is a member of a professional association(s);
- Recognition for the foreign national’s achievements and significant contributions to his/her industry or field by his/her peers, government entities, and/or professional or business organizations; and/or
- Other comparable evidence of eligibility.
National Interest Waivers (EB-2 NIW) are available to some foreign nationals with advances degrees or exceptional abilities. A National Interest Waiver (NIW) eliminates the requirement of a permanent job offer and thus, the labor certification because your employment would be in the interest of the U.S. This allows you to self-petition for an immigrant visa. While you may petition for yourself if you qualify for an NIW, an employer may also file an EB-2 NIW immigrant visa petition on your behalf. Employers will often opt for the EB-2 NIW immigrant visa petition, if available, because it allows them to avoid what can be a lengthy and expensive labor certification and recruitment process. Regardless of whether you self-petition or an employer sponsors you, it must be established that your employment would greatly benefit the United States. To qualify for an NIW, you must establish:
- Your work has both substantial merit and national importance;
- You are well-positioned to advance your proposed endeavor; and
- When balancing your qualifications and proposed work, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer and thus, the requirement of a labor certification.
- Who is considered a “skilled worker”?
- The foreign national must be able to establish he/she has at least 2 years of job experience, education, or training that meets the job requirements as specified in the labor certification.
- Who is considered a “professional”?
- The foreign national must demonstrate that he/she has a U.S. Bachelor's Degree or its foreign equivalent. A Bachelor’s Degree must be a normal requirement for entry into the occupation. The foreign national may substitute education and experience for a Bachelor’s Degree. The foreign national must meet any other requirements specified in the labor certification.
- Who is considered “other workers”?
- The foreign national must be performing unskilled labor that requires less than 2 years training, education, or experience and not of a temporary or seasonal nature. The foreign national must be able to show he/she has the ability to perform the unskilled labor as well as meet any other requirements specified in the labor certification.
EB-4 green cards allow companies and organizations to sponsor a foreign national as a “special immigrant”. In some instances, the foreign national may be able to self-petition. The “special immigrant” category includes foreign nationals who are employed as follows:
- Religious workers;
- G-4 International Organization or NATO-6 Employees and their family members;
- International employees of the U.S. Government employed overseas;
- Armed Forces’ members;
- Panama Canal Zone employees;
- Certain physicians;
- Afghan and Iraqi Translators; and
- Afghan and Iraqi Nationals who have provided faith service in support of U.S. Operations.
The eligibility requirements depend upon how the foreign national qualifies as a “special immigrant”.
The EB-5 green cards program was created in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy by encouraging foreign investment. The EB-5 program allows you to obtain lawful permanent residence (i.e. a green card) for you, your spouse, and unmarried children under the age of 21 through investment. You must make an “at risk” capital investment in a U.S. commercial enterprise to qualify for an immigrant visa under the EB-5 program. Capital is not limited to cash, but can include equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents, and indebtedness secured by your personal assets.
The minimum required investment will be either $900,000 or $1.8 million, depending upon the project in which you invest. A minimum investment of $900,000 is sufficient if you invest in a project located in a Targeted Employment Area (i.e. TEA). A Targeted Employment Area is either a rural area or a location where unemployment is high. If you choose to invest anywhere else, an investment of at least $1.8 million is required. Regardless of the minimum investment amount, your investment must lead to the creation of at least 10 permanent full-time jobs for U.S. workers.
You can either invest directly into a new company or in a regional center. Direct investment is a great option if you own a foreign business, have previously run a business, or are interested in starting your own business. Direct investment allows you to exercise maximum control over your investment and the project in which you have invested. It also allows you to try to maximize your return on investment while at the same time deriving immigration benefits. However, as a direct investor, you will need to find your own investment project and assume a direct role in the management of your new business. Your investment must lead to the creation of at least 10 direct permanent full-time jobs for U.S. workers.
Investment in a regional center is a great option if you are more interested in obtaining lawful permanent residence (i.e. a green card) than the return on your investment. Investing in a regional center allows you to invest less money and avoid involvement in the day-to-day management of your investment, which can be a good alternative for those who lack experience running a business. The job creation requirement is also less restrictive with regional center investments as the 10 permanent full-time jobs for U.S. workers can be “direct” and “indirect” jobs. This means that job opportunities created by businesses servicing the company in which you invested or are part of the supply chain can be used to meet the job creation requirement.
Regardless of whether you invest directly into a new company or in a regional center, it is important to note that you must be able to show you are the legal owner of the invested capital and that you lawfully acquired this capital.