Employment-Based Immigrants

Many people choose to obtain a green card and become permanent residents in order to work in the United States. U.S. immigration law allows multiple levels of preference categories, depending on the type of work that the individual is engaged in. According to the U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS), the U.S. government allows three categories of employment-based (BP) “preference immigrant” categories including:

The United States Immigration and Customs Service Office (USCIS) identifies 21 temporary worker classifications (visas). Each category has its own immigration forms and waiting periods. Filing the correct form based on the type of job that the employee is to perform is imperative to ensure lawful and valid immigration status.

To work permanently in the United States, however, requires lawful permanent residency (green card) status. As a green card holder, the employee will be allowed to live and work in the United States permanently, although the green card must be renewed every ten years.

Attorney for Employment-Based Green Cards in The Woodlands, TX

Luis H. Hess represents ambitious employees, entrepreneurs and business owners in search of exciting opportunities. Whether the employee or business owner is looking to make a fresh start, pursuing the next big commercial investment, or seeking to expand their business into the greater Houston area, Luis H. Hess can help them navigate a complex and fast-changing legal and regulatory system.

At Luis F. Hess, PLLC, we can help you select the best visa to facilitate your goals, figure out the ideal business structure for your new enterprise, or help you protect your investment from financial and legal risk. No matter your goals, Luis F. Hess has the legal experience you need to fulfill your American Dream. With experience in corporate transactions, litigation, and business operations, attorney Luis F. Hess is specially situated to advise clients on how to help businesses with their employment immigration requirements. 

As an experienced immigration lawyer, Luis F. Hess helps clients seeking to broaden their employment horizons beyond the borders of Houston, TX, by helping them properly file the requisite immigration petitions with the United States Immigration and Customs Service Office.

Call Luis F. Hess, PLLC at (281) 205-8540 now to schedule a consultation.


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Overview of Employment-Based Immigration


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First-Preference (EB-1)

The idea behind first-preference employment-based immigration underscores the policy that the U.S. values education, talent, and excellence. With that in mind, understanding why individuals like professors, researchers, and teachers fall into the first-preference employment-based immigration category makes sense.

Each occupational category under first preference employment-based immigration has different requirements that an applicant must meet.

Extraordinary Ability: The applicant must be able to demonstrate an extraordinary ability in one of the following areas: arts, science, education, athletics, or business. The individual does not have to have received an offer of employment to be eligible for this visa; however, he or she must be able to demonstrate their achievements in the designated field or fields by documentation.

Professors and Researchers: The applicant must be able to demonstrate international recognition for his or her particular academic achievements. The applicant must have at least three years of experience teaching or researching in his or her academic area of choice. In addition, the applicant must be entering the U.S. on a tenured teaching track position or comparable.

Multinational Manager or Executive: The applicant must have been employed outside of the U.S. for at least three years preceding the petition and have worked for at least one year by a firm or corporation. The individual must also be entering the U.S. to continue service for that same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the employer.


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Second-Preference (EB-2) Advanced Degrees

The second preference category for employment-based permanent residence is for applicants who are professionals or who are members of professions that hold advanced degrees, or a foreign national who has exceptional ability. The Second-Preference categories include:

Advanced Degree: The position that the applicant is applying for must require an advanced degree and the applicant must possess the requisite degree or its equivalent, along with five years of progressive work experience. The applicant may provide documents such as an official academic record and letter from a current or previous employer to prove that existences of the facts necessary for eligibility.

Exceptional Ability: The applicant must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.

National Interest Waiver: An applicant that is seeking a national interest waiver must be seeking such a waiver because the labor that the applicant performs is of special interest to the United States. Thus, national interest waivers are typically granted to those who have exceptional ability and whose employment in the U.S. would greatly benefit the nation.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has defined “exceptional ability” under this category to mean a degree of expertise significantly above that of which is normally encountered in the sciences, arts, or in business.


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Third-Preference Category (E-3)

The third and final preference category for employment-based visas in the United States, covers skilled workers, professionals, and other workers. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has provided a definition for all three categories along with the requirements of each.

Skilled Workers: The applicant must be able to demonstrate at least two years of on-the-job training or experience and be performing such work for which qualified workers are not available in the U.S. The applicant must have labor certification and a permanent full-time job offer.

  • “Skilled worker” is a person whose job requires a minimum of two years of training or work experienced that is not temporary or seasonal.

Professional: The applicant must be able to demonstrate that he or she possesses a U.S. baccalaureate degree or the foreign equivalent, and that such a degree is normally required for entry into the occupation. The applicant must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the U.S. The applicant must provide verification of a full-time job offer and labor certification.

  • “Professional” is a person whose job requires him or her to have obtained at least a U.S. baccalaureate degree or the foreign equivalent.

Other Workers: The applicant must be able to show, at the time he or she applies, that the unskilled labor that he or she is intending to perform is not on a temporary or seasonal nature. The applicant must provide evidence of a full-time job offer and present labor certification.

  • “Other workers” is for persons performing unskilled labor that requires less than two years of training or experience and work that is not of a temporary or seasonal nature.

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Additional Resources

Immigration Law for Permanent Workers – Visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website for more information on preference categories for permanent immigrant workers in the United States. Find out more about the 140,000 immigrant visas that are available each fiscal year for aliens (and their spouses and children) who want to immigrate to the United States based on their job skills. The article explains the labor certification and the federal tax information of an alien employed in the United States.


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Find a Lawyer for Permanent Worker Status in Montgomery County, TX

Being the son of immigrant parents, attorney Luis F. Hess understands the tedious and often confusing U.S. immigration process. He empathizes with the determination and grit that it takes to begin a new life in a new country. He strives to provide clients with the most efficient immigration guidance in Texas.

Luis F. Hess, PLLC is located in Shenandoah, Texas, just north of The Woodlands. He accepts clients seeking entry into the United States for temporary or permanent work in Montgomery County, Harris County, and the surrounding areas.

If you or someone you know is seeking an experienced immigration lawyer who can relate to your experience as an immigrant, contact Luis F. Hess, PLLC. Luis F. Hess also represents clients who are considered conditional permanent residents and wish to remove the condition. He also serves individuals who are seeking a green card as a special immigrant or immigrant investor.

Call Luis F. Hess, PLLC at (281) 205-8540 for more information about the requirements for employment-based visas.


This article was last updated on Friday, January 26, 2018.