What are the categories of employment based (“EB”) immigrant visas?

The EB preference system has five categories, with each to receive a set percentage of the total quota:

First preference (EB-1)
  • individuals with extraordinary ability
  • outstanding researchers and professors, and
  • multinational managers and executives.
Second preference (EB-2)
  • individuals who hold advanced degrees or the equivalent,
  • individuals with exceptional ability, and
  • individuals who are issued national interest waivers.
Third preference (EB-3)
  • professionals,
  • skilled workers, and
  • other workers.
Fifth preference (EB-5)
  • individuals who create employment by investing in or opening a new enterprise.


Is there a numerical limit on EB visas?

Yes – there are 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas available each year as a standard. This may be slightly higher, being supplemented with any unused IVs from the previous fiscal year for family-based (FB) petitions.

Is there a limit on the number of EB visas available to each country?

Yes. An annual limitation of 7% per country is applied. The limitation per country is with the need to avoid monopolization in mind.

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