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Apr 01, 2024 | Nancy Chen

Understanding Family and Employment Based Immigration Petitions

Getting a job in the U.S. is a way become a permanent resident. The number of employment-based immigration petitions issued each year has a limit.

In the United States, immigration petitions play an important role for individuals to establish their presence in the country. There are different types of petition-based immigration, including family- and employment-based petitions. This article will take you through and explain who they apply to.

Family-based petitions

If you are an immediate family member or relative of a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), they may be able to file a petition for you to become an LPR based on your family relationships. Your family member must also be at least 21 years old.

Also Read: Family-Based Immigration Petition: How Long It Takes and More

U.S. citizens can file a petition for their spouse, children, parent or siblings, while LPRs can only file one for their spouse and unmarried children. There are no limitations on how many immigrants are admitted to the U.S. if the family relationship is immediate relatives. But the number of immigrants approved under the category of distant family relationships is limited each year.

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), other family members need to wait for a visa to become available based on the following preferences:

  • First preference (F1): unmarried children (age 21 and over) of U.S. citizens
  • Second preference (F2A): spouses and unmarried children (under age 21) of U.S. LPRs
  • Second preference (F2B): unmarried children (age 21 and over) of U.S. LPRs
  • Third preference (F3): married children of U.S. citizens
  • Fourth preference (F4): siblings of U.S. citizens if the U.S. citizen is age 21 and over.

To file this petition, petitioners need to fill out Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. There are also instructions on how to fill out the form.

Employment-based immigration petitions

Getting a job in the U.S. gives you another way to become a permanent resident or to work in the U.S temporarily. The number of employment-based immigrant visas issued each year has a limit.

The list below contains various categories of visas according to the following preferences.

  • First preference (EB-1): non-citizens of extraordinary ability, multinational executives, outstanding professors or researchers
  • Second preference (EB-2): members of the profession holding an advanced degree, noncitizens of exceptional ability, and noncitizens seeking a national interest waiver
  • Third preference (EB-3): a professional or skilled worker, other workers, schedule A nurses and physical therapists
  • Fourth preference (EB-4): certain special immigrants
  • Fifth preference (EB-5): investors

To apply for a visa under the first three preferences, Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, should be filed. For EB-4 and EB-5, file Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant and Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor, respectively.

There are also options for you to work temporarily, containing two dozen visa categories, all of which can be found on the “Petition Process Overview” page of the USCIS website. For nonimmigrant working visas, petitioners need to file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker.

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