Every fiscal year (October 1st – September 30th), approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are made available to qualified applicants under the provisions of United States immigration law. Employment based immigrant visas are divided into five preference categories. Certain spouses and children may accompany or follow-to-join employment-based immigrants.
Under certain employment-based categories, to be considered for an immigrant visa, the applicant’s prospective employer or agent must first obtain a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor. Once received (if required), the employer then files an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140), with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the appropriate employment-based preference category. (NOTE: Persons with extraordinary abilities in the Employment First preference category are able to file their own petitions.)
There are five (5) employment based preference categories: