EB Preferences

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) outlines the employment-based immigrant visa classifications. The INA sets forth numerical limitations, both worldwide and per country. Congress has allotted a distinct number of employment-based immigration visas, calculated from a base level of 140,000 visas annually.

The different types of employment-based visas include:

  • EB-1: Priority Worker
  • EB-2: Advanced Degree/Exceptional Ability
  • EB-3: Professional/Skilled Worker/Other
  • EB-4: Special Immigrants
  • EB-5: Immigrant Investors

Attorney for EB Visa Preferences in The Woodlands, TX

If you are interested in an employment-based immigrant visa, contact an experienced immigration law attorney in Montgomery County, TX. Luis F. Hess represents workers and their employers who want to petition for a visa so that a foreign worker can be employed with a company in the United States.

Luis F. Hess, PLLC is located in Shenandoah, Texas, just north of The Woodlands. Luis F. Hess handles employment-based immigration issues throughout Montgomery County and Harris County, in Conroe, The Woodlands, Spring, Houston, and the surrounding areas.

Call (281) 205-8540 today.


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Overview of EB Preferences in Texas


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EB-1: Priority Worker

Of those employment-based visas, no more than 28.6 percent shall issue to a category of immigrants defined as “priority workers.” “Priority worker” visas are available to three categories of immigrants:

  • Aliens of extraordinary ability,
  • Outstanding professors and researchers, and
  • Certain multinational executives and managers.

In these cases, the evidence must establish that the applicant has satisfied at least three of the ten regulatory criteria outlined in 8 C.F.R. § 204.5(h)(3) including:

  • Lesser national or international prizes or awards
  • Membership in associations that demand outstanding achievement
  • Published material about the alien in the media
  • Judge of the work of others in the field of endeavor
  • Original contributions of major significance to the field
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in the area
  • Display of work at artistic exhibitions
  • Leading/critical role for organizations that have a distinguished reputation in the field
  • High remuneration compared to others in the field
  • Commercial success in the performing arts

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EB-2: Advanced Degree/Exceptional Ability

The INA caps the annual number of employment-based immigrant visas at 140,000. Out of that cap, approximately 40,000 visas are available to individuals applying under the employment-based second preference (EB-2) classification. 

The three subcategories include advanced degree holders, individuals with exceptional ability, or national interest waivers. To be eligible for an employment-based, second preference visa, the alien must be a member of a profession, holding an advanced degree or the equivalent, or a foreign national who has exceptional ability.

In most cases, the employment-based, second-preference petitions must be accompanied by an approved individual labor certification from the Department of Labor.

The spouse and children under the age of 21 of the EB-2 holder may be admitted to the United States under E-21 and E-22 immigrant status. During the time that the worker and their spouse is applying for permanent resident status (green card status), the spouse is eligible to file an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

To be deemed internationally recognized as outstanding, the employee must meet at least two out of six of the following requirements:

  • Major award for outstanding achievement in the field;
  • Membership in associations that demand outstanding achievement in the field;
  • Featured in professional articles written by others;
  • Judge of the work of others in the field;
  • Original scientific or scholarly research in the field; or
  • Authorship of scholarly books or articles.

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EB-3: Professional/Skilled Worker/Other

The EB-3 is an immigrant visa preference category that applies to a skilled worker, professional or other workers. The “skilled workers” are persons whose job requires a minimum of two years training or work experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature.

The term “professionals” applies to any persons whose job requires at least a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent and who is a member of the profession. The “other workers” subcategory is for persons performing unskilled labor requiring less than two years of training or experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature.

In most cases, the third preference petitions must be accompanied by an approved, individual labor certification from the Department of Labor.


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EB-4: Special Immigrants

To be eligible for an employment-based, fourth preference visa, the worker must be a special immigrant. The fourth preference special immigrant category includes religious workers, special immigrant juveniles, broadcasters, international employees of the U.S. government abroad, armed forces members, and certain physicians.

Some EB-4 classifications allow derivative beneficiaries for spouses or children to be admitted to the United States.


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EB-5: Immigrant Investors

The Immigrant Investor Visa creates a pathway to citizenship for foreign persons who invest at least $500,000 in the United States. The first step in obtaining the EB-5 visa is filing an entrepreneur petition for an alien to seek approval from the USCIS.

After the USCIS approves the application, the petition is sent to the U.S. Department of State before a visa is issued. The two requirements of the EB-5 Program includes:

  • investing at least $500,000 in a new or troubled commercial enterprise, and
  • having an investment that creates at least ten jobs for lawful U.S. workers.

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

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