immigration lawyer

Attorney Zeb Ogueri


Ouch! There was a server error.
Retry »

Sending message...

A Rundown of Different Types of Permanent Worker Visas

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), about 140,000 visas are available for job immigrants (and their immediate family, too). Many citizens seek employment and residence in the United States, but not everyone makes the cut. Obtaining a permanent worker visa is one of the most effective ways to obtain work in the US. However, it is not an easy task to get a permanent worker visa. It takes the right combination of education, skills, and work experience to possibly qualify for permanent worker visa in the United States. Here are the different types of permanent worker visas:


  • First Preference (EB-1)
  • Reserved for people with extraordinary skills and knowledge in the arts, sciences, education, business and athletics
  • This includes outstanding researchers, professors, coaches, multinational company executives
  • Does not require labor certification


  • Second Preference (EB-2)
  • Reserved for professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional skills in business, sciences, and the arts


  • Requires labor certification
  • National interest waiver may be accepted in place of labor certification
  • Third Preference (EB-3)


  • Reserved for skilled workers with at least 2 years of training or work experience and whose work is not available in the United States
  • Reserved for professionals with a U.S. baccalaureate degree or its foreign equivalent and field of expertise are not available in the U.S.
  • Labor certification is required
  • Fourth Preference (EB-4)


  • For immigrants falling under the special category, such as religious workers, retired employees of international organizations, foreign service posts, alien minors
  • Does not require labor certification
  • Fifth Preference (EB-5)


  • Reserved for business investors who put in at least $500,000 in a new commercial endeavor, which will employ at least 10 full-time United States workers.
  • Labor certification not required


Different types of permanent worker visas are geared towards different kinds of employee groups and requirements. Some of them require the submission of a labor certification from the United States employer to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as part of the visa application process. Here are some quick facts about the labor certification:

  • It has to be obtained and approved by the United States Department of Labor (DOL)
  • The labor certification is a proof that the DOL has verified that there is a lack of qualified and willing United States workers to fill the job position given the current wage rate.
  • It also agrees that the hiring of a foreign national to work is not going to affect the working conditions and wages of currently employed United States workers in similar positions.


Aside from the labor certification, there are several other things to remember regarding permanent worker visas:

  • The employer must be the one to file the Petition for Alien Worker to begin the visa application process. This requires for the employer to present documents to show that they have the ability to pay wages and they pay proper taxes.
  • The immediate family (spouse and children) of permanent visa holders may be eligible for family-related visa.
  • Foreign nationals or aliens who are employed in the United States may be subject to U.S. tax obligations.