Immigrants

EB-1A: Persons of Extraordinary Ability

Persons of extraordinary ability who have risen to the top few percentage points in their field of endeavor may self-petition for U.S. lawful permanent resident status. Extensive documentation to show qualification in at least three out of ten categories is required, along with a showing that the person will continue to work in the same field.

EB-1B: Outstanding Professors/Researchers

Outstanding professors or researchers who are internationally recognized and who are offered tenured or tenure-track positions may receive green cards if the position is permanent and is offered by a university or by certain research institutions.

H-1B: Professional/Specialty Workers

Professional or specialty workers employed by a U.S. company in an occupation that normally requires at least a U.S. bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent. An H-1B worker can be approved for an initial three-year period with one three-year extension. Additional extensions are available in limited circumstances.

EB-2: Advanced Degree Professionals, Exceptional Ability, and National Interest Waiver

Professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability qualify if they have a permanent job offer from a U.S. employer that has completed the labor certification process or if they can show that the work is in the U.S. national interest (national interest waiver of the labor certification requirement).

EB-3: Professional and Skilled Workers

Professionals with bachelor’s degrees, skilled workers with at least two years of working experience, and unskilled workers may qualify if they have a permanent job offer from a U.S. employer that has completed the labor certification process and that can show continuing financial ability to pay the offered wage.

EB-4: Religious Workers

Special immigrants qualify for this category if they are either returning residents or workers in religious occupations with at least two years of experience working in the occupation and membership in the religious denomination.

EB-5: Immigrant Investors

Immigrant investors may obtain conditional two-year green cards if they make a qualifying at-risk investment and show likely creation of ten new full time jobs for U.S. workers within two years. They may obtain permanent green cards if they sustain the investment and create the jobs.

F-1: Unmarried Son or Daughter of a U.S. Citizen

A “son or daughter” in U.S. immigration law is a person 21 years or older, while a “child” is anyone under 21. A child also needs to be single to qualify for an F-1 Visa. Note that all family-based preference categories are subject to backlogs due to the annual quota or limit on the numbers of immigrant visas issued each fiscal year. The current average wait time for this category is about 8 years (Philippines: 15 years, Mexico: 21 years).

F-2A: Spouse and Unmarried Children of
Lawful Permanent Resident

A “child” is defined in immigration law as anyone under 21 who is unmarried. Note that all family-based preference categories are subject to backlogs due to the annual quota or limit on the numbers of immigrant visas issued each fiscal year. The current average wait time for this category is about 1.5 years.

F-2B: Unmarried Son or Daughter of
Lawful Permanent Resident

Unmarried sons or daughters (over 21) may be petitioned by their lawful permanent resident fathers or mothers. The person must remain unmarried until they receive their green card. Note that all family-based preference categories are subject to backlogs due to the annual quota or limit on the numbers of immigrant visas issued each fiscal year. Historically, the wait time for this category has been more than five years.

F-3: Married Son or Daughter of a U.S. Citizen

Note that all family-based preference categories are subject to backlogs due to the annual quota or limit on the numbers of immigrant visas issued each fiscal year. The current average wait time for this category is about 11 years (Philippines: 22 years, Mexico: 21 years).

F-4: Brother or Sister of a U.S. Citizen

Note that all family-based preference categories are subject to backlogs due to the annual quota or limit on the numbers of immigrant visas issued each fiscal year. The current average wait time for this category is about 12.5 years (Philippines: 23.5 years, Mexico: 18 years).

F-3: Married Son or Daughter of a U.S. Citizen

Note that all family-based preference categories are subject to backlogs due to the annual quota or limit on the numbers of immigrant visas issued each fiscal year. The current average wait time for this category is about 11 years (Philippines: 22 years, Mexico: 21 years).

F-4: Brother or Sister of a U.S. Citizen

Note that all family-based preference categories are subject to backlogs due to the annual quota or limit on the numbers of immigrant visas issued each fiscal year. The current average wait time for this category is about 12.5 years (Philippines: 23.5 years, Mexico: 18 years).

IR-1: Immediate Relative Spouse of a U.S. Citizen

An immediate relative spouse of a U.S. citizen may qualify if the marriage is bona fide and not solely for immigration purposes, if the person entered the U.S. legally (for adjustment of status) or resides abroad (immigrant visa processing). If the couple has been married for less than two years, the person will receive a two-year green card subject to condition removal (prove that marriage was bona fide) prior to its expiration.

IR-2: Immediate Relative Child of a U.S. Citizen

An immediate relative child, including stepchild, of a U.S. citizen may qualify if the U.S. citizen parent or stepparent files an immigrant petition and meets other requirements establishing the requisite relationship to the beneficiary.

IR-3: Orphan Adopted by a U.S. Citizen

An adopted orphan may be petitioned by the U.S. citizen parent or parents through a process of establishing the adoption and the relationship between the petitioner and beneficiary.

IR-4: Non-Orphan Adopted by a U.S. Citizen

An adopted child (non-orphan) may be petitioned after the U.S. citizen parent or parents can prove two years of both legal and physical custody of the child.

IR-5: Parent of a U.S. Citizen

A U.S. citizen over 21 may petition for his or her parent by establishing the familial relationship to the beneficiary and if the beneficiary is physically present in the United States, he or she must show a lawful entry with inspection.