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The US issues approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas annually to qualified applicants under US immigration law.
These immigrant visas are issued from October 1st to September 30th each year. The employment-based immigrant visas are divided into five preference categories: E-1, E-2, E-3, E-4, E-5.
Certain spouses and children may accompany or follow to join employed immigrants, as noted on the Travel.State.Gov website.
To be eligible for an immigrant visa, the prospective employer or applicant’s agent must first obtain a certificate of employment from the Department of Labor.
Once received, the employer must file a Foreign Worker Immigration Petition, Form I-140, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the appropriate employment-related preference category, the website said.
The documents required for employment-based immigrant visas are passports valid for six months beyond the intended date of entry into the United States, two 2×2 photographs, civil documents for the applicant, financial support, and completed medical exam forms.
Details of the five U.S. employment-based immigrant visas:
1. Employment First Preference (E1):
The E1 visa is for priority workers and those with exceptional ability. Individuals with exceptional ability in the fields of science, art, education, business or athletics are accepted into the E1 visa category. Outstanding professors and researchers are considered here. They must have at least 3 years of teaching or research experience and be internationally recognized. Apart from that, multinational managers or executives who have been employed by the foreign subsidiary, parent company, subsidiary or branch of the US employer for at least one of the preceding three years fall into the E1 visa category.
2. Employment Second Preference (E2):
A second preference applicant is generally required to have a certificate of employment approved by the Department of Labor. Professionals with an advanced degree or with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business are accepted into the E1 visa category.
3. Employment Third Preference (E3):
E3 applicants must have an approved Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, submitted by the prospective employer. Individuals who are skilled workers, skilled workers and other manual workers are considered in this category.
4. Employment Fourth Preference (E4):
The fourth preference applicant must be the beneficiary of an approved Petition for Americans, Widows or Special Immigrants, Form I-360.
Specific immigrants include broadcasters in the U.S., certain religious employees, certain U.S. government employees or former employees abroad, certain former employees of the Panama Canal Company or Panama Canal Zone, Iraqi and Afghan interpreters/translators, foreign medical graduates, retired or unmarried children, or surviving spouses of International Organization staff, immigrant youth, retired or unmarried children or surviving spouses of NATO 6 civilians and beneficiaries.
Employees of US field service posts, retired employees of international organizations, minor non-citizens who are wards of courts in the United States, and other categories of non-citizens. The possibility of spouses and children being admitted to the USA in this case is very slim.
5. Employment Fifth Preference (E5):
The fifth preferred contender is immigrant investors. It provides visa categories for capital investment by foreign investors in new commercial ventures in the United States that create jobs.
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