A permanent working visa is utilized by an employer who seeks the work of a foreign national for an indefinite period of time. This is commonly referred to as a “green card,” “legal permanent residence,” or an “immigrant visa.” There are five ways in which a foreign national may obtain legal permanent residence through employment. These are colloquially called EB-1 through EB-5. There are certain eligibility criteria which govern each category. In general, the five categories represent the following types of workers:
• EB-1: persons of
extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and
multinational executives and
• EB-2: members of the professions holding advanced degrees or aliens of exceptional ability
• EB-3: professional workers, skilled workers, and other workers (unskilled workers)
• EB-4: religious workers
• EB-5: those who work under employment creation visas
An immigrant visa is also available to a foreign national based on a qualifying relationship to a U.S. citizen or green card holder. Eligible family relationships are identified at Family Based Immigrants.
In addition, the Diversity Visa Program also makes 50,000 immigrant visas available annually to foreign nationals form those countries from which the U.S. has received low rates of immigration.