Many legal and illegal immigrants cross the borders each year because the United States offers the opportunity of employment and, therefore, a better life. To apply for a work-based visa that would allow you to remain and work in the United States, you must have an employer or potential employer obtain a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor. The employer must then file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. This petition is called an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140.
The Petition divides immigrant workers into five applicant categories:
- Employment First Preference (E1): Priority workers, including workers who have extraordinary abilities, outstanding professors and researchers and multinational managers or executives
- Employment Second Preference (E2): Professionals holding advanced degrees and persons of exceptional ability
- Employment Third Preference (E3): Skilled workers, professionals and unskilled workers
- Employment Fourth Preference (E4): Certain special immigrants
- Employment Fifth Preference (E5): Immigrant investors
Once the petition is approved, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC), where it is assigned a case number. The NVC processes the case by sending forms, issuing instructions and charging fees. Certain family members, such as a spouse and minor unmarried children, may also apply for visas.
Once all fees are paid and documents are submitted, a visa interview is scheduled. Before the interview occurs, applicants must have a medical exam and obtain required vaccinations, as instructed. During the interview, applicants must prove they will not rely on the United States to support them but will be able to work and support themselves. You must bring supporting visa documents, including:
- Valid passport
- Application forms
- Two 2×2 photographs
- Civil documents, such as birth and marriage certificates
- Proof of financial support
- Completed medical examination forms
Applying for a visa, whether based on employment, family ties, and student or visitor status or for humanitarian reasons is a complicated, confusing process. Immigration attorneys in Florida help individuals and families understand their options and smoothen the process.