What are the employment visa preference categories?

If you wish to come to the United States to work, you will need to secure a work visa. A regular visa does not provide you permission to get a job, so employers cannot legally hire you.

The U.S. Department of State explains there are several categories of employment visas. You will need to apply for the proper one. The government gives priority to some categories over others, and there are limits for how many visas they issue from each category.

E1 visa

The top priority employment visa category is for those who have extraordinary abilities. This generally means you have a unique skill or ability that nobody else has. Actors and other entertainers fall into this category. It also includes professors and researchers with international recognition and executives who work for a US-based company.

E2 visa

This category is for people with advanced degrees. They need to have some special ability or expertise in a field of business, science or art.

E3 visa

The third category is for skilled workers and professionals with college degrees. It also is for workers who can fill positions requiring two years or less of training on a permanent basis.

E4 visa

This is a special category for religious leaders, broadcasters and former or current employees of the U.S. government. Some other workers fall into this category that work within the government or are former government workers. This is a broad category that covers many different groups.

E5 visa

Immigrant investors fall into this category. The focus is on foreign individuals who want to invest in companies establishing in the United States.

These are basic overviews of the visa categories. You should always read through the requirements and the information provided by immigration authorities to ensure you choose the correct category for which to apply.