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Employment Based Green Cards

Oftentimes, employers are blown away by the skill level of their foreign national employees. It is common for this group to work hard, complete their projects on time and quickly become invaluable members of the team. Naturally, managers and business owners soon begin to think about how nice it would be to have these superstars in the organization permanently.

This post provides information for such employers who are interested in green card sponsorship.

The Employment Based Green Card Categories

The steps that an employer has to take before sponsoring a foreign national employee will vary depending on the employment based green card category that the employee falls under.

The categories include the EB-1 which is reserved for multinational managers and executives as well as outstanding researchers and individuals of extraordinary ability. The EB2 is for advanced degree professionals and individuals of exceptional ability. And the EB3 is reserved for professionals, skilled workers and unskilled workers.


The EB1A

The EB1A is reserved for an elite group of achievers. There are not many people who have risen to the top of their organization or have such immense talent that they are considered by the US government to be extraordinary. However, if your employee does fall within this esteemed group, then they will be rewarded with a relatively smooth ride to green card status.

In order for an EB1A petition to be successful, you have to satisfy the adjudicator that your employee is “one of that small percentage that has risen to the very top of the field.” The petition must demonstrate that the employee has sustained national or international acclaim and that the foreign national’s presence and work will substantially benefit the United States. If the employee has achieved acclaim in a certain category, they must be planning on continuing in that field of endeavor in the United States.

So, how do you demonstrate that your employee is worthy of an EB1A petition? The documentation has to clearly demonstrate sustained acclaim AND either a one time achievement that is considered a major internationally or nationally recognized prize or award OR show at least three categories of evidence from a list of eleven that establish your employee as a person of extraordinary ability. The categories include:

  1. Lesser national or international awards

  2. Merit based membership in a prestigious organization

  3. Published material about the foreign national in major media or in a major trade publication

  4. Evidence showing that the foreign national served as a judge of their peers

  5. Contributions of major significance to the field

  6. Scholarly articles

  7. Artistic showcases or exhibitions

  8. Leading or major role in distinguished organization

  9. High remuneration compared to others in the field

  10. Commercial success in the performing arts

  11. Other evidence that demonstrates the foreign nationals extraordinary ability

The Eb1c

The Eb1c is a green card category that is awarded to multinational executives and managers.

In order to qualify for the Eb1c, the foreign national employee must have worked with the sponsoring company(or a related entity) for at least one year during the past three years. Also, the US company must have been doing business in the US for at least one year at the time that the petition is filed. Finally, the foreign national employee must meet the definition of a manager or executive.

The Eb2 National Interest Waiver

The Eb2 National Interest Waiver is available to some foreign national employees who hold an advanced degree or possess exceptional ability.

In order for the waiver to succeed, the foreign national employee must show that their field of endeavor has substantial merit and national importance. Second, the applicant must be well positioned to advance their particular field of endeavor. Finally, the foreign national must prove that the US benefits from waiving the recruitment process that is typically required.

The PERM Labor Certification Process

If an employee doesn’t qualify for an EB1 or an EB2 National Interest Waiver, then the employer petitioner will have to test the labor market and prove to the US Department of Labor(DOL) that there are no qualified US workers who meet the minimum requirements to perform the job duties. The following labor certification filing steps are somewhat dated and not practical for many modern businesses. Nonetheless, they have to be completed before an employer can file an Immigrant Worker Petition with USCIS:

-Obtain a prevailing wage determination  from the DOL

-Place a job order with a state workforce agency for 30 days followed by a 30 day quiet period before the PERM application can be filed

-Place two Sunday newspaper ads(some exceptions apply)

-For professional positions, the employer must choose 3 of 10 possible recruitment steps(ie. job website, radio ad, job fair)

-Post a notice of the job at the workplace for 10 consecutive business days

-Submit Form ETA-9089

Additional Requirements for the Visa Petition

In addition to the form I-140, the employer is required to provide a letter verifying the foreign worker’s employment. The employer will also submit documentation establishing the company’s ability to pay the proffered wage.

At the same time, the employee will gather documentation to send to USCIS verifying that he or she meets all of the minimum requirements listed in the Labor Certification.


This post provides a brief overview of a nuanced and complicated process. Although the employment based green card process is tedious, this should not dissuade you from using it in order to employ world class talent.

A good immigration lawyer will make your life easier by simplifying your tasks and reducing your stress so that you can focus on other aspects of your business. 

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