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A foreign national can obtain legal permanent resident status through employment or investment according to any of the following categories:
A person should demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. These achievements must be recognized in the field through extensive documentation. No offer of employment is required. Evidence could be one-time international achievement such as: Pulitzer Prize, Noble Prize, The Oscar, Olympic Medal, and the like; or should meet at least 3 out of 10 criteria as shown below.
- Evidence of receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence;
- Evidence of your membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members;
- Evidence of published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
- Evidence that you have been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel;
- Evidence of your original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field;
- Evidence of your authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
- Evidence that your work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases;
- Evidence of your performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations;
- Evidence that you command a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field;
- Evidence of your commercial successes in the performing arts.
Outstanding Professors and Researchers
A person should demonstrate international recognition for outstanding achievements in a particular academic field. Must have at least three (3) years of experience in teaching or research in that academic area. Also, must be entering the United States in order to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education. In addition, an offer of employment from a prospective U.S. employer is necessary.
- Evidence of receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement;
- Evidence of membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement;
- Evidence of published material in professional publications written by others about the alien’s work in the academic field;
- Evidence of participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field;
- Evidence of original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field;
- Evidence of authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field.
Multinational Manager or Executive
A person should have been employed in the three (3) years preceding the petition for at least one (1) year by a firm or corporation abroad and must be seeking to enter the United States to continue service to the U.S. employer. The employment must have been in a managerial or executive capacity with an affiliate, or a subsidiary company of the U.S. employer abroad and the employee will be transferred in executive or managerial capacity to the United States. Both companies must have been doing business for at least one (1) year. There is an exception when the U.S. Company is opening a new office.
A person who is a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent. The job position must require an advanced degree and the person must possess such a degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus five (5) years progressive work experience in the field). A Labor Certification Application, and an offer of permanent full-time employment from a prospective U.S. employer is necessary. Documentation, such as an official academic record showing that the person has a U.S. advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree, and letters from current or former employers showing at least five (5) years of progressive post-baccalaureate work experience in the specialty.
A person who has exceptional ability. The person must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability “means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.” An offer of employment from the prospective U.S. employer is necessary. Must meet at least three (3) of the criteria below:
- Official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to your area of exceptional ability;
- Work experience letters documenting at least ten (10) years of full-time experience in your occupation;
- A license to practice your profession or certification for your profession or occupation;
- Evidence that you have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability;
- Membership in a professional association(s);
- Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations;
- Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable.
Note: Employment-based, second-preference petitions must generally be accompanied by an approved individual Application for Permanent Employment Certification from the Department of Labor (Also known as Labor Certification Application).
National Interest Waiver
A person seeking a national interest waiver are requesting that the Labor Certification be waived because it is in the interest of the United States. The jobs are not defined by statute, but usually they are considered for a person who has exceptional ability and whose employment in the United States would “greatly” benefit the nation. This may be a self-petition. The person must meet at least three (3) of the criteria, above mentioned, and demonstrate that his permanent work is in the national interest of the United States.
You may be eligible for this immigrant visa preference category if you are a professional, skilled worker, or other worker.
A person whose job requires at least a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent, and is a member of the professions. A baccalaureate degree is the normal requirement for entry into the occupation. The person must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the United States. Education and experience cannot not be substituted for a baccalaureate degree. A Labor Certification Application, and a permanent, full-time job offer is required.
A person whose job requires a minimum of two (2) years of training or work experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature. The person must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the United States. A Labor Certification Application, and a permanent, full-time job offer is required.
Unskilled Workers (The “other workers”)
There is a subcategory for individuals who perform unskilled labor requiring less than two (2) years training or experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature. A Labor Certification Application and a permanent, full-time job offer are required. Be aware that a lengthy backlog exists for visas in the “other workers” category.
LABOR CERTIFICATION APPLICATION
Second and third preference petitions must generally be accompanied by an approved, individual labor certification. The Department of Labor ensures that the admission of the foreign national to be employed in the United States will not adversely affect the job opportunities, wages, and working conditions of U.S. workers. Recruitment process: the employer must recruit using the standards for professional or non-professional occupations set forth in the regulations, and then file the application with DOL.
The Department of Labor must certify that there are no sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, qualified, and available to accept the job opportunity in the area of intended employment and that employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. Once a permanent labor certification application has been approved, the employer will need to seek the immigration approval from USCIS.
DOL has determined that in certain occupations where there are no sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified and available, the employment of an individual in such occupations, will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers. Therefore, a Labor Certification filed with the Department of Labor is not required. The occupations listed under Schedule A include:
Physical Therapists (who possess all the qualifications necessary to take the physical therapist licensing examination in the state in which they propose to practice physical therapy);
Professional Nurses (the person should have a certificate from the Commission on Graduates in Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS), has passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) exam, or holds a full and unrestricted (permanent) license to practice nursing in the state of intended employment.
Persons of exceptional ability in the sciences or arts including college and university teachers of exceptional ability who have been practicing their science or art during the year prior to application and who intend to practice the same science or art in the United States. Science or art means any field of knowledge and/or skill with respect to which colleges and universities commonly offer specialized courses leading to a degree in the knowledge and/or skill.
Performing arts – persons of exceptional ability in the performing arts whose work during the past twelve (12) months did require, and whose intended work in the United States will require, exceptional ability.
A person may be eligible for an employment-based, fourth preference visa if you are a special immigrant. The following special immigrants are eligible for the fourth preference visa:
- Religious Workers
- Broadcasters (means a reporter, writer, translator, editor, producer or announcer for news broadcasts; hosts for news broadcasts, news analysis, editorial and other broadcast features; or a news analysis specialist. The term broadcaster does not include individuals performing purely technical or support services).
- Iraqi/Afghan Translators
- Iraqis Who Have Assisted the United States
- International Organization Employees
- Armed Forces Members
- Panama Canal Zone Employees
- Retired NATO-6 employees
- Spouses and Children of Deceased NATO-6 employees
The fifth preference is known as the Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5). Congress created the EB-5 Program to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors.
Under this program, entrepreneurs are eligible to apply for a green card (legal permanent residence) if they make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States and plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers. After approval the foreign national will be granted conditional permanent residence for a two-year period. Three (3) months before the second year granted, a petition should be filed to remove the conditions by showing that the investment and employment are still in place.
The Regional Center EB-5
Congress created the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as the Regional Center Program. This sets aside EB-5 visas for participants who invest in commercial enterprises associated with Regional Centers approved by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.