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Corporate Immigration:FAQs:Permanent Residence FAQs

Permanent Residence FAQs

Q: My company wants to sponsor me for my "green card" what is the first step?

A: It depends. Sometimes an employer must first test the U.S. labor market to determine whether there are any able, willing, qualified and available U.S. workers to fill the employer's permanent position. Other times, the employer, or the foreign national applying independently, may directly submit an Immigrant Petition for an Alien Worker (I-140) to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Learn more about the stages in the permanent residence process here.

Q: What is EB-2?

A: The employment-based second preference category, or EB-2, is for members of professions holding advanced degrees or persons of exceptional ability. Professional positions that require a Master's Degree or higher, or that require a Bachelor's Degree plus five years of progressively responsible experience, are typically classified as EB-2 positions. This can also include employees who, because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business will substantially benefit prospectively the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the U.S. and whose services are sought by an employer in the U.S. Learn more about the EB-2 category here.

Q: What is EB-3?

A: The employment-based third preference category, or EB-3, is for skilled workers, professionals and other workers. Positions that require a Bachelor's Degree (or foreign degree equivalent) or at least two years of training or work experience are usually classified as EB-3 positions. Learn more about the EB-3 category here.

Q: I have a Master's degree, will I automatically be classified as EB-2?

A: Not necessarily. By law, the EB-2 and EB-3 categories are determined by the employer's actual minimum requirements for the position, not the employee's qualifications. Therefore, if the employer requires a Bachelor's degree plus two years of experience to be qualified for a position, but the employee possesses a Master's degree, the position will be classified as EB-3.

Q: Why does it matter whether I am classified as EB-2 or EB-3?

A: Processing times vary for EB-2 and EB-3 immigrant visas, but generally there is a shorter wait time for EB-2 visas because there is less demand. In addition, this wait time can be significantly different if the employee is from certain countries, such as China or India. For current processing times, you can access the U.S. Department of State's current visa bulletin at:

Q: Who sets the requirements for the position?

A: Only the employer can determine what their actual minimum requirements are for the position. The foreign national employee cannot be involved in this process.

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