Blog Details

 Employment Law - Greenwood Law

Comparing EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3: Understanding Employment-Based Green Card Preference Categories

Obtaining an employment-based green card is a significant milestone for individuals seeking permanent residency in the United States based on their professional qualifications. However, navigating the complex world of employment-based green cards can be overwhelming, especially when faced with the choice between different preference categories. In this blog, we will delve into the intricacies of the employment-based green card preference categories to shed light on the differences and help you make an informed decision. Each category (EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3) has unique requirements and priorities to understand before embarking on your green card journey.

Overview of Employment-Based Green Card Preference Categories

The employment-based green card preference categories, EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3, serve as avenues for professionals seeking permanent residency based on their qualifications and skills. Each category represents a distinct set of criteria and considerations, catering to individuals with diverse backgrounds and expertise. They are as follows:

·         EB-1: Priority Workers

·         EB-2: Professionals with Advanced Degrees and Exceptional Ability

·         EB-3: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers


EB-1: Priority Workers

The EB-1 category is reserved for priority workers who have achieved extraordinary ability, are outstanding professors or researchers, or are multinational executives and managers. There are 3 subcategories within EB-1 that cater to individuals with specific qualifications and accomplishments.

EB-1A: Extraordinary Ability

This subcategory is designed for individuals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. To qualify, applicants must demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim in their field of expertise through extensive evidence such as major awards, published work, and a high level of professional recognition.

EB-1B: Outstanding Professors and Researchers

The EB-1B subcategory is for outstanding professors and researchers with at least three years of experience in teaching or research in their respective academic fields. Applicants must be internationally recognized for their achievements and have a permanent job offer from a U.S. employer.

EB-1C: Multinational Executives and Managers

This subcategory is designed for executives and managers who have been employed by a qualifying multinational company for at least one year in the three years preceding the petition. The position must involve managing the organization, department, or subdivision, and there should be a continuing need for the executive or managerial role in the U.S.

EB-2: Professionals with Advanced Degrees and Exceptional Ability

The EB-2 category is specifically designed for professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability in their respective fields. It allows foreign nationals who meet certain criteria to pursue permanent residency in the U.S. based on their specialized skills, expertise, and contributions to the country.

To qualify under the EB-2 category as a professional with an advanced degree, individuals must hold a master’s degree or higher from an accredited U.S. institution or its foreign equivalent. Alternatively, applicants may also possess a bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent, along with at least five years of progressive work experience in their field, demonstrating a level of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered.

For individuals with exceptional ability, the requirements are slightly different. To qualify for the EB-2 category based on exceptional ability, applicants must demonstrate exceptional talent or expertise in the sciences, arts, or business, which significantly surpasses what is commonly found in their field. They must provide substantial evidence of their achievements, such as proof of academic degrees, publications, awards, membership in professional associations, or other documents attesting to their exceptional abilities.

Under the EB-2 category, individuals may also apply for a National Interest Waiver (NIW). This waiver allows applicants to bypass the requirement of a job offer and the labor certification process if they can prove that their work is in the national interest of the United States. To qualify for the NIW, individuals must show that their contributions will substantially benefit the U.S. economy, cultural or educational interests, or the welfare of the nation as a whole.

EB-3: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers

The EB-3 category is designed for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers who seek to obtain permanent residency based on their employment prospects in the country. To qualify under the EB-3 category, applicants must meet specific eligibility criteria based on their occupation and skill level. The category is divided into three subcategories:

1. Skilled Workers: To qualify as a skilled worker, individuals must have at least two years of experience or training, which is not seasonal or temporary in nature. The job offered must require a minimum of two years of relevant work experience or training.

2. Professionals: The professional subcategory is for individuals with a U.S. bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent that is required for entry into the profession. The job offered must be in a field that typically requires a degree, such as engineering, medicine, education, or business.

3. Other Workers: This subcategory is for individuals performing unskilled labor jobs that require less than two years of training or experience. The job offered must be full-time and non-seasonal.

While the EB-1 and EB-2 categories focus on individuals with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities, the EB-3 category encompasses a broader range of skill levels. This allows individuals with various skill sets to qualify for permanent residency, contributing to the diversity of the U.S. workforce.

Like some other preference categories, the EB-3 category is subject to a priority date system, which establishes a waiting period for visa processing. The priority date is determined by the date the labor certification application is filed. Due to the high demand, especially for certain occupations, the wait times for EB-3 visas may vary.

The visa availability for the EB-3 category often depends on the applicant’s country of chargeability and the demand from other applicants. Countries with a high demand for employment-based visas may experience longer wait times compared to countries with a lower demand.

Get Expert Help for Employment-Based Green Card Applications

In conclusion, understanding the different employment-based green card preference categories is essential for those seeking permanent residency in the United States. The EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 categories have their unique criteria and requirements, making it crucial to evaluate which category best suits your qualifications and career goals. To ensure a smooth and successful process, it is highly recommended to seek the guidance and expertise of an experienced immigration attorney. An experienced immigration attorney specializing in employment-based green card applications can provide personalized guidance, evaluate your eligibility, and help you navigate the intricate legal framework.

Recent Posts