Immigrant Petitions

Step 2:  Immigrant Petitions (Form I-140)

The business-related visa preference categories are as follows:

(1) First Preference (priority workers);

(2) Second Preference (workers with advanced degrees and individuals of exceptional ability);

(3) Third Preference (skilled workers, professionals and other workers);

(4) Fourth Preference (certain special immigrants); and

(5) Fifth Preference (investors in employment creating new enterprises).

“Priority workers” include managers and executives who have worked with an overseas employer in a managerial or executive position for at least one year out of the past three (3) years. It also includes individuals of “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics and also “outstanding professors and researchers.”

The Second Preference “advanced degree professionals and aliens of exceptional ability” category includes individuals who hold a U.S. academic professional degree at the Masters level or higher, as well as those individuals whose expertise is significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts or business. Individuals immigrating in this preference will be required to obtain labor certification.

The “skilled workers, professionals and other workers” category is split into two subcategories: (1) skilled workers and professionals, and (2) other workers. The skilled workers and professionals subcategory includes individuals with offers to work in U.S. in jobs requiring two years or more of post-secondary education, training and/or experience. The unskilled workers subcategory includes individuals in positions requiring less than two years of experience, post-secondary education and/or training. A total of 30,000 visas per year are available to individuals immigrating in the skilled workers and professionals subcategory; only 10,000 visas per year are available in the unskilled workers subcategory.

Special interest workers include certain individuals who have been employed by the U.S. government, religious workers and other groups of special concern to the U.S.

The investor category is for individuals who invest $1 million or more in a new commercial enterprise in the U.S., creating employment for not less than ten (10) U.S. employees. The investment can be as low as $500,000 in designated areas of high unemployment or rural areas. The investment must be active and not passive and must be ongoing for two years before unconditional LPR status will be granted.