I-140 Employment Based Immigrant Petitions

The Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham  - Houston Business Immigration Lawyers

U.S. employers may sponsor for a foreign employees, or potential employees, to come to the U.S. The word “immigrate” or “immigration” stated here applies to both foreign nationals abroad, as well as those that are currently legally in the U.S. under some other non-immigrant categories. An “immigrant” is one who has intent to live and work in the U.S. on a permanent basis. An approved immigrant petition allows the employee to come to the U.S. as permanent residents (obtaining a green card), or if the person is currently in the U.S., the employee may adjust status to become a permanent resident.

The Houston Employment-based Immigrant Visa Attorneys and the West Houston Work Visa Lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham., P.C. are experienced business immigration attorneys. Our immigration law firm assisted numerous employers to hire and sponsor specialize-skilled employees worldwide including but not exclusive to information technology (IT) professionals, scientists, teachers and researchers, accountants and financial analysts, as well as software engineers and web developers. Please contact one of our Houston Immigration Lawyers or one of our Southwest Houston Employment Visa Attorneys for assistance.

There are five employment based immigrant petitions, including an immigrant application for foreign investors (investor self-petition). The five basic categories, referred to as “preferences,” are as follow:

EB-1 – Employment Based First Preference: Priority workers

  • Foreign employee with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics

  • Foreign employee that are recognized as outstanding professors or researchers in their field

  • Foreign employee that are considered multi-national managers and executives who seek to transfer to the U.S.

Generally, the first preference is reserved for employees who (1) have extraordinary ability in the area of science, arts, athletics, and business; (2) are outstanding researchers and professors; and (3) are multi-national executive transferees. Employers who file immigrant petitions for priority workers under EB-1 do not have to file a PERM application with the U.S. Department of Labor. There are 40,000 immigrant visas available each year under this category. Visas are usually available for beneficiary foreign employees under this category. What that means is that, the employee may file an application to adjust his or her status to a U.S. Permanent Resident (form I-485) concurrently with the I-140 immigrant petition by the employer, if such person is currently in the U.S. If the foreign national employee is abroad, the U.S. Consular Office may process an immigrant visa abroad immediately upon receiving an approved I-140 immigrant petition from the USCIS.

EB-2 – Employment Based Second Preference: Professionals With Advanced Degrees Or Exceptional Ability

  • Foreign employee who demonstrate exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business

  • Foreign employee who possess advanced degrees, Master and Doctorate degrees

  • Qualified foreign national physicians who will practice medicine in areas in the U.S. which are underserved

Employment-based second preference visas are available for, (1) workers with exceptional skills in the arts, business, or science; (2) foreign nationals with master or doctoral degrees; and (3) physicians and doctors who wish to practice medicine in the U.S. in underserved (under-privilege and rural) areas. Similar to EB-1, there are 40,000 immigrant visas available annually under EB-2 and EB-2 immigrant visas are also usually current. Unlike EB-1, however, employers under EB-2 must first file and successfully obtain a PERM application for the U.S. department of labor. The PERM process is intended to show that there is a lack of labor force in the U.S. for the position employers seek to fill. The PERM application requires various notices and publications, as well as filing with the state’s workforce authority, and therefore, can be very time consuming. Please contact the Houston PERM Application Attorneys and the Southwest Houston & Sugar Land Employment Immigration Lawyers at Veritas for more assistance in filing the PERM, as well as to file an immigrant petition based on second preference.

EB-3 – Employment Based Third Preference: Skilled or Professional Workers

  • Foreign professionals with U.S.’ equivalent bachelor degrees

  • Foreign employees who possess at least 2 years of experience in specialized skills

  • Foreign workers that are unskilled (no visa available at this time)

Employment-based third preference category is reserved for, (1) professionals who have an equivalent U.S. Bachelor degree; (2) skilled workers with at least two years experience in a specialized area of work, and (3) unskilled workers (though visas are usually not available for unskilled workers). Employers who wish to file immigrant petitions for foreign employees under the third preference must first obtain an approved PERM application. In addition, there is usually insufficient number of positions available within this category, creating a back-log of cases in which employers must wait until a visa is available for their employees. This usually takes 2-3 years or more. For faster ways of sponsoring employees abroad, please contact the experienced Houston Texas Immigration Attorneys and the Houston Employment Immigration Lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham. at 713-517-6645 .

EB-4 – Employment Based Fourth Preference: Special Immigrants

  • Foreign religious workers who is within the same denomination as the sponsor for at least 2 years

  • Special foreign aliens who were previously employed by the U.S. government or retired international organizations

Employment-based fourth preference category is reserved for religious workers. Religious institutions in the U.S. may sponsor religious workers under R-1 non-immigrant visas who are currently in the U.S. or foreign national religious workers abroad to permanently reside in the U.S. Monks, priests, and ministers may qualified under this category.

EB-5 – Employment Based Fifth Preference

Employment-based fifth preference is an investment immigrant visa in which foreign nationals investment a substantial amount of capital into the U.S. The investment may be capital (liquidity) or through a combination of capital and other assets (such as equipments). To qualify, the foreign national must invest at least $1,000,000 in an urban area or at least $500,000 in a rural area. The company can either be a start-up or it can be the purchase of an existing U.S. company. The employer/investor must employ at least 10 U.S. citizens or permanent residents. In addition, the foreign national must controls and manages the company. An immigrant visa is immediately available for persons under this category and there is no requirement for a PERM application.


Immigration Law is a vast area of law and every situation is unique. You should NOT rely on the limited information on this general site in replacing a personal consultation with an experienced Houston Business Immigration Lawyer or an experienced Houston Employment-based Immigrant Petition Attorney. There may be legal issues, depending on the facts and circumstances, that go to the merit of the case, in which you may not be aware. Please feel free to give us a call at 713-517-6645 , or to contact us online, for more information. Call the Houston Employment Immigration Attorneys and the Spring Employment Green Card Lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham today at 713-517-6645 or complete our Contact Form.

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