To get a visa through some of the employment-based categories listed below, your US employer or agent must first get a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor. Once received, the employer has to file Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, with the USCIS for the appropriate employment-based preference category.
- Employment First Preference (E1): Priority Workers
- Employment Second Preference (E2): Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability
- Employment Third Preference (E3): Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers (Other Workers)
- Employment Fourth Preference (E4): Certain Special Immigrants
- Employment Fifth Preference (E5): Immigrant Investors
If the USCIS approves Form I-140, they will send it to the National Visa Center (NVC). After the NVC receives it, they will assign a case number for the petition. Once your priority date meets the most recent qualifying date, NVC will then send the Choice of Address and Agent form to you. They will then begin initial processing by providing you with instructions to submit the necessary fees. Once you pay the fees, they will request you to submit the necessary immigrant visa documents, including application forms, civil documents, and others.
Depending on your approved petition, your spouse and minor unmarried children (below 21 years old), can apply for immigrant visas with you. Even they are required to fill out certain application forms, get required civil documents, pay the appropriate fees, and also undergo medical examinations. Make sure you do not pay the fees to the NVC or at the US embassy or consulate where you have your interview unless specifically requested. The NVC will provide you with instructions on where and when to pay the necessary fees.
If the initial processing goes on smoothly, the NVC will schedule an interview appointment for you. They will then send the file, that contains your petition and the documents listed above, to the US embassy or consulate where you will be interviewed for a visa. You have to bring your valid passports, as well as any other documentation not already provided to NVC, to your interviews. During the interview process, fingerprint scans will be taken. Normally, you will receive your original civil documents and original translations back at the time of the interview.
Another requirement is that you will have to schedule and complete your medical examination and any required vaccinations before your visa interview, and it has to be performed by an authorized panel physician.
Once you get an immigrant visa, the consular officer will give you your passport containing the immigrant visa. You will get a sealed packet containing the documents which you provided. You should open the sealed packet. Only the US immigration official has to open this packet when you enter the US. Make sure you enter the US before the expiration date printed on your visa. When traveling, you should enter the US before or at the same time as your family members holding visas.