First Preference US immigrant visa (EB-1 visa: priority visa workers): aliens with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and certain multinational executives and managers.
Second Preference visa (EB-2 visa: workers with advanced degrees or exceptional ability): aliens who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent and aliens who because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business will substantially benefit the national economy, cultural, or educational interests or welfare of the United States.
Third Preference US immigrant visa (EB-3 visa: professionals, skilled workers, and other workers): aliens with at least two years of experience as skilled workers, professionals with a baccalaureate degree, and others with less than two years experience, such as an unskilled worker who can perform labor for which qualified workers are not available in the United States.
Fourth Preference visa (EB-4: visa special workers such as those in a religious occupation or vocation): aliens who, for at least two years before applying for admission to the United States, have been a member of a religious denomination that has a non-profit religious organization in the United States, and who will be working in a religious vocation or occupation at the request of the religious organization.
Fifth Preference US immigrant visa (EB-5 visa: Employment Creation) If you would like to be granted immigrant status in the United States for the purpose of engaging in a new commercial enterprise, please see How Do I Become an Immigrant Through an Investment?
The filing date of a petition is the applicant's priority date. Whenever there are more qualified applicants for a category than there are available numbers, the category will be considered oversubscribed and US immigrant visas will be issued in the chronological order in the preference the petitions were filed until the numerical limit for that category is reached.
An US immigrant visa cannot be issued until an applicant's priority date is reached. In certain heavily oversubscribed categories like EB-3, there may be a waiting period of several years before a priority date is reached.
US Immigrant Visas: Family Based
A non-U.S. citizen may gain the right to live and work permanently in the U.S. through a petition filed by a family member. If the sponsor is a U.S. Citizen, they may petition for the following foreign national relatives to immigrate to the U.S:
Husband or wife
Unmarried child under 21 years of age
Unmarried son or daughter over 21
Married son or daughter of any age
Brother or sister, if the sponsor is at least 21 years old, or Parent, if the sponsor is at least 21 years old.
"Immediate Relatives" refers to parents, spouses and children (who are unmarried and under 21 years of age) of a U.S. citizen. Immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen can immigrate to the United States without being subject to any numerical restrictions, unlike other close family members of U.S. citizens and/or permanent residents. Other close family members of U.S. citizens or permanent residents are divided into several groups called "Preferences". Each Preference is given a numerical quota per year to limit the number of immigrants admitted into the United States. Other close family members of a U.S. citizen can qualify to immigrate to the United States, but unlike immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen, they are subject to a numerical limit of US immigrant visas available to them each year. Close family members are divided into several groups called "Preferences". The higher the Preference, the quicker the alien will be eligible for a green card.
If the sponsor is a lawful permanent resident, they may petition for the following foreign national relatives to immigrate to the U.S.:
Husband or wife, or
Unmarried son or daughter of any age.
The sponsor must be able to provide proof of the relationship.
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