Because of the long waiting times for an Immigrant Visa (Green Card) most foreign workers start working in the US on a Non-Immigrant Visa, H-1B or O-1.
Another option is relocation through an international employer also based in the US (L-1A and L-1B).

Different requirements apply to each of these visas and each has its own positive and negative aspects. N-I Visas allow for a limited stay in the US only.
H, O and L are “dual intent” visas making possible to temporarily work in the US with the intention to immigrate permanently.
For permanent immigration in most cases the employer must file the petition for the foreign worker.

It is also possible to begin a new business or buy an existing business in the US and work in it, through an E-2 Visa. This is a Non-Immigrant Visa that can be extended as often as needed. However it does not give the option to apply for a Green Card.

Employer Sponsored Immigration is divided in several categories called Preferences. For each category a limited number of visas is available. Together with the per country-limit this means (long) waiting times.

Employer-Sponsored Preferences:

Procedures for Employment Sponsored immigration are complicated and are usually done by an immigration attorney or the legal department of the business that wants to hire the foreigner.

EB-1
  • Workers with Extraordinary Ability

    No US job offer needed. Achievements must be demonstrated through extensive documentation and affidavits.

  • Outstanding professors and researchers

    Job offer from US employer needed. Achievements must be demonstrated through extensive documentation.

  • Multinational managers or executives

    Job offer from US employer needed. Achievements must be demonstrated through extensive documentation.

EB-2
  • Workers with an Advanced Degree (e.g. M.S., Ph.D.)

    Job offer from US employer needed. Achievements must be demonstrated through documentation. An approved PERM Labor Certification from the US Department of Labor is required. (PERM: Program Electronic Review Management.

  • Workers with Exceptional Ability

    Job offer from US employer needed. Achievements must be demonstrated through documentation. An approved PERM Labor Certification from the US Department of Labor is required. (PERM: Program Electronic Review Management.

  • Workers eligible for a National Interest Waiver (NIW)

    Job offer from US employer needed. Achievements must be demonstrated through documentation. No Labor Certification approval from the Labor Department required. The national interest for the US must be proven.

EB-3
  • Skilled Workers and Professionals

    Job offer from US employer needed. Achievements must be demonstrated. An approved PERM Labor Certification from the US Department of Labor is required. Workers with H-1B’s preferred.

  • Unskilled/Other workers

    Job offer from US employer needed. Achievements must be demonstrated. An approved PERM Labor Certification from the US Department of Labor is required. Workers with H-1B’s preferred.

EB-4
  • Several special categories of workers
EB-5
  • Foreign Investors
  • EB-5
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