The Five US Employment-Based Green Card


The Employment-based immigration visas or Green Card allows immigrants to live and engage in skilled work in the US as a lawful permanent resident.

You can obtain permanent residency in the US either through family sponsorship, Green Card Diversity Visa or through the employment-based Green Card.

This article will focus on the employment-based Green Card which is subdivided into five categories:


This is an employment-based visa issued to people considered professionals who have demonstrated exceptional expertise in their various field of endeavour which includes science, education, art, athletics and business. Researchers, professors, executives and managers of multinational companies are also qualified for this visa category. The major benefits of this visa category allow foreigners to become a lawful permanent resident in the US, they also have the right to sponsor their spouse and dependents, freedom to travel in and out of the United States.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has divided the EB-1 visa into three subcategories

  • Outstanding Researchers and Professors: This category requires a foreign national who has demonstrated expertise in their various academic endeavours to have at least three years experience in research or teaching, and must have an offer of employment in the United States.
  • Foreigners who possess extraordinary ability: Foreign nationals who have demonstrated prowess in the fields of sciences, arts, education business and athletics are eligible for this category. However, they must provide proof of their significant achievement.
  • Executives or Managers of multinational companies: As the name implies, this category is reserved for foreigners who wish to enter the United States to work in a managerial or executive capacity with a U.S. employer.


This stream is a preference employment-based green card category aimed at foreigners who hold an advanced degree or its equivalent in specialities such as Science, Business or Arts. The visa stream has three subcategories namely:

EB-2A Advanced Degree: Foreigners who hold US advanced degree or its foreign equivalent are eligible to apply under this stream. To be eligible for this stream the foreigner must have at least a bachelors’ degree with a minimum of five years experience or a US issued master’s degree or its foreign equivalent.
EB-2B Exceptional Ability: This stream is for foreigners who have demonstrated prowess in the field of science, arts or business and must have an advanced degree.
EB-2C National interest Waiver: Foreign professionals whose expertise is in the best interest of the United States are eligible for this stream. E.g If there is a shortage of healthcare professionals in the United States, and a foreign professional physician agrees to work full-time would be granted this visa. Foreigners who wish to come under this stream must have a valid job offer, or may self-petition by filing the immigrant petition for alien worker form 1-140 attached with evidence ascertaining the national interest.


Certain skilled, unskilled and professional workers are eligible under this stream which grants them automatic permanent residency. Eligibility for this stream requires a valid offer of employment from a US employer, and the employer must obtain a labour certification on your behalf. This stream is divided into three subcategories:

Skilled worker: skilled worker with a minimum of two years of work experience/training.
Unskilled worker: A foreigner who can perform unskilled labour with a minimum of two years of work experience.
Professional worker: A foreigner who has an internationally recognized bachelor’s degree is qualified under this stream.
Note: Under this stream, professional and skilled workers are allotted the same visa, while unskilled workers are drawn from a pool of 10,000 allotted visas. (the waiting period for unskilled may take longer)


This stream covers certain migrants who are not eligible for the other visa categories. The following people are eligible under this category:

  • Professional translators of Iraqi/Afghan languages
  • Certain employees of international organizations who have been in the US for a period of 15 years
  • Nationals of any country with a treaty which allows them to serve in the US armed forces, and who have served for at least 12 years, OR those who have served 6 years and have enlisted for another 6
  • Employees of the US government’s foreign service who were employed for a period of 15 years
  • Physicians who have been practising medicine in since January 10th 1978 or earlier in the US
    Civilian employees of the North American Treaty Organisation (NATO), who worked with military personnel on missions authorised by the NATO treaty


Foreign investors/entrepreneurs who have the financial capacity to create new jobs in the US are required to make either $500,000 or $1,000,000 investment are eligible under this stream. This visa category is aimed at creating new full-time jobs and for US citizens and residents.