A foreign national's application for employment-based cases, is classified into one of five categories including:
- EB-1 – Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Researchers and Professors, and Intracompany Managers and Executives.
- EB-2 – National Interest Petitions; PERM Labor Certifications where the position requires a Master Degree or a Bachelor Degree and 5 years of experience (not just that the applicant has the qualifications); and persons of Exceptional Ability.
- EB-3 – All other PERM Labor Certification cases.
- EB-4 – Religious workers;
- EB-5 – Persons who own a business, have invested the required capital, and create US jobs.
All green card applications (excluding applications for spouses, children and parents of US citizens) are numerically limited. However, with the exception of EB-4 and EB-5 cases, the higher a person is in the employment-based category, the more likely there will be a visa available.
Accordingly, EB-1 cases receive the most visas and any unused numbers are then available for EB-2 cases. EB-2 cases have fewer numbers, with unused numbers available for EB-3 cases.
In short, imagine a long waiting line – the closer you are to the front of the line (EB-1), the less likely you will experience delays in securing a green card. However, if there are visas available, EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 cases are generally processed at the same speed by the government agencies.
Contributed by Clark Hill Immigration Law Department.
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