Immigrant (Permanent) Visas

General Information on Immigrant Visas

Immigrant (permanent) visas are available to qualified individuals wishing to live permanently or indefinitely in the U.S. There are two categories of immigrant visas, unlimited and limited.

The limited immigrant visas are further divided into three categories: family-based, employment-based, and diversity immigrants. All immigrant categories, except for immediate relatives and special immigrants (see below), are numerically limited and subject to annual per-country quotas, often resulting in long waiting periods between the filing of an immigrant visa petition and issuance of an immigrant visa.

All applicants for an immigrant visa must demonstrate to the satisfaction of a U.S. consular officer that they are not ineligible for a visa under any of the categories of inadmissible persons listed in the Immigration and Nationality Act. If determined to be ineligible for an immigrant visa, U.S. law permits a waiver of inadmissibility in many, but not all, circumstances.

Employment-Based Permanent Status

EB1: First Preference
  • Persons of extraordinary ability
  • Outstanding professors and researchers
  • Multinational executives and managers

EB2: Second Preference
  • Members of Professions holding advanced degree
  • Aliens of exceptional ability

EB3: Third Preference
  • Skilled workers, professionals and other workers

EB4: Fourth Preference
  • Religious workers
  • Commuters from border
  • Retired G-4 (employee of international organization)
  • Returning residents
  • Minister of religion

EB5: Fifth Preference
  • Employment creation investors

Family-Based Permanent Status

First Preference

Unmarried sons or daughters (over age 21) of USC

Second Preference

Spouses and unmarried children (under 21) of LPR;
Unmarried sons and daughters (over 21) of LPR

Third Preference

Married sons and daughters of USC

Fourth Preference

Brothers and sisters of USC