What are the permanent employment visa categories?

If you want to move to the U.S. based on employment, you may consider a permanent worker visa. If you have the job skills, work experience or other qualifications to work in the U.S., you could qualify for a visa for yourself and your spouse and children.

For permanent workers, there are about 140,000 immigrant visas available per year, explains the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. There are five visa preferences.

Visas that require labor certification

Some preferences require that your employer has a labor certification. A labor certification verifies that there are an insufficient amount of available, willing and qualified U.S. workers and that hiring you will not adversely affect the wages or working conditions of U.S. workers.

The Second Preference and Third Preference require your employer to have a labor certification. The Second Preference is for persons who have advanced degrees or a person who has exceptional artistic, scientific or business ability. In some cases, an applicant can receive a waiver for the Second Preference. The Third Preference is for employees in skilled positions.

Visas that do not require labor certification

Those who do not require a labor certification include First Preference, Fourth Preference and Fifth Preference. The First Preference is for those with extraordinary abilities. These abilities can refer to the arts, sciences, business, education and multinational executives and managers. The Fourth Preference refers to religious workers, retired employees of international organizations, immigrant minors who may be wards of the court in the U.S. and employees of U.S. foreign service posts. The Fifth preference is for investors who make $1.8 million or $900,000 in a new enterprise with at least 10 U.S. workers.