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The employment visas are one of the two major areas which allows an individual to pursue a permanent resident card which could lead to citizenship. While many of the employment based visas must be filed by the employer on behalf of the employee, there are some areas that allow the employee to pursue the visa themselves. These include the areas of investors and specialized employment, along with employment areas in which the applicant is nationally or internationally recognized in their field of employment. An applicant may have more than one option as to which employment visa to pursue base upon the facts of each individual case.

Employment Based Visas:

EB1:  This visa is for immigrants with extraordinary ability in the areas of science, arts, education, business, and athletics.  This visa does not need an approval certification from the department of labor. This visa does not need an employer to sponsor your for the visa. 

EB2:  This visa is for immigrants with exceptional abilities or advance degrees.  This visa does requires an approval certification from the Department of Labor unless the department of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) waives this requirement. This visa does not need an employer unless the USCIS waives the requirement.

EB3: This visa is for immigrants holding a baccalaureate degree or its foreign equivalent. This visa does not require a Department of Labor certification and or an offer for employment.

EB5: This visa is for those immigrants who want to create jobs in the United States through an investment. This visa requires creating jobs in a new business with investments between $500,000 to a $1,000.000 depending on the type of investment.

Temporary Work Visas:

H1-B: This visa is for employers looking to hire employees for  a “Specialty Occupation” in the areas of accounting, Engineering, Computer Science, and similar areas. 

This visa often times requires a baccalaureate degree or its foreign equivalent; or a master degree from a U.S. university for preferential treatment. This visa requires a job offer and a certification from the Department of Labor complying with prevailing wage rates. Generally, these visas have a specific number available per year.

H-2A: This visa is for foreign workers engaging in temporary agricultural work.. 

H-2B: This visa is for foreign workers engaging in temporary non-agricultural work.

H-3: This visa is to receive training, other than graduate medical or academic, that is not available in the trainee’s home country in the education of kids with mental, physical, or emotional disabilities.

K-1: This visa is a Fiancé(e) visa. It allows a U.S. Citizen to bring their foreign fiancé(e) to the U.S. with the intention of getting married and receiving permanent residency. Green card holders are not eligible to petition for a fiancé(e) visa but they are able to petition for a spouse.

L:  This visa is for managers, executives, or employees with “specialized knowledge” employed by a foreign business. The L visa requires the individual employed by the same employer abroad to have worked continuously for 1 year within the three preceding years. The L visa recipient is allowed to bring his/her spouse and obtain employment and bring their children. 

O: This visa is for immigrants with extraordinary ability or achievement in the areas of sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, or in the motion picture and television fields.

P 1-2-3: These visas are for individuals or a group of athletes, artists, or entertainers with international recognition that want to come to the U.S. to teach or perfor.

Q: This visa is for immigrants wanting to share the history, culture, and traditions of your home country through participation in an international cultural exchange program in the U.S.

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