As a law firm focused on corporate and family immigration, our highly qualified immigration lawyers are often asked to explain the differences between different visas, specifically various business immigration visas. While all employment-based visa programs allow skilled foreign nationals to come work in the U.S., there is a vast difference in requirements between the EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 visas. Indeed, there can be very significant differences even within the subcategories contained within each visa type. Scroll down to see some of the major similarities and differences between the EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 visa programs.
EB-1 Visa Program
The EB-1 visa program is aimed at priority workers. There are 3 subcategories under the EB-1 visa: EB-1A (aka EB-1-1) for those with extraordinary abilities, EB-1B (aka EB-1-2) for outstanding professors and researchers, and EB-1C (aka EB-1-3) for multinational managers or executives. In general, all EB-1 applicants (regardless of subcategory) are often distinguished experts in their field, whatever that field may be, or those who are top management in their company and are trying to transfer to the U.S. The EB-1 visa can be one of the most difficult EB visas to obtain. Very few are admitted into the U.S. under the EB-1A and EB-1B subcategories, while slightly more applicants, in comparison, are successful in meeting the somewhat lesser standards required under EB-1C. Successful EB-1 applicants typically show extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, or athletics. Alternately, they may be in the top management of a company with operations both in the U.S. and abroad. An applicant under the EB-1 program must demonstrate their willingness and capacity to continue their work and/or research in the U.S.
EB-2 Visa Program
If a potential applicant has an advanced degree or significant expertise in their area of work or study, they may apply under the EB-2 visa program. The requirements for this program are not as stringent as EB-1, although the benefits are also not as great (especially for applicants from China and India). There are two main subcategories for EB-2: those with an advanced degree and those with exceptional ability. Most applicants under the EB-2 visa program must have their petitions submitted by a potential U.S. employer, but some may self-petition under the National Interest Waiver (“NIW”) subcategory.
EB-3 Visa Program
The EB-3 visa program is the lowest qualification program out of the three covered in this blog post. While the good news is that qualifying under EB-3 is easier than EB-2 and EB-1, the bad news is that there is significant backlog for nationals applying from certain countries, waiting 10 years or more for visa availability. There is also no self-petition for an EB-3 visa. This category covers skilled workers with 2 years of training or work experience, unskilled workers, and professionals.
To learn more about these and other employment and investment visa programs, contact the corporate immigration lawyers at David Hirson & Partners, LLP. Our experienced lawyers will work with you from choosing the right program all the way through submission of the petition and beyond.