Types of U.S Employment-Based Green Cards (EB1, EB2, EB3, EB4 and EB5 Explained!)

EB1, EB2 and EB3 (Types of U.S Employment-Based Green Cards), these terms are abbreviations of the different employment based green card categories for foreign nationals seeking to leave and work permanently in the United States.

Did you know that every year, a good number of U.S employment green cards are available to foreign skilled professionals who wish to immigrate permanently to the United States? In this article, we are going to delve into what each green card category is, so you can learn which is best for you.

What is EB-1 EB2 and EB3 category?

These cards are issued based on your skills, education and work experience. To be eligible for one of these green cards, you will need to fall under one of the five prescribed categories, EB1 to EB5, where the letters A and B stand for employment based and the numbers one to five indicate the preference first to fifth.

EB4 and the EB5 are for special immigrants and business investors, respectively, and that will be discuss in next article.

Types of U.S Employment-Based Green Cards


This is for foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in their field (EB-1A), outstanding professors or researchers (EB-1B), or certain multinational executives or managers (EB-1C).

Extraordinary ability in one field means that you must have attained a level of expertise that puts you at the very top of your field. This is usually demonstrated by the receipt of international or national awards in one field of expertise.

Under the EB1 category, professors and researchers can demonstrate their outstanding achievements by way of an international recognition of their work and must be pursuing tenure or tenure track teaching or research positions in a University or with a private employer.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to be a Nobel Prize laureate or an Olympic medalist to be eligible for the EB1 – First Preference Green Card as there are several other ways of demonstrating your eligibility for the EB1.


This is for foreign nationals who are members of professions with an advanced degree like a master’s or PhD or have at least five years of progressive work experience beyond the baccalaureate degree. The EB2 category is also applicable to foreign nationals with exceptional ability.

Under the EB2 second preference is the EB2-National Interest Waiver (EB2-NIW). This subcategory is for foreign nationals who do not want to go through what’s called a labor certification process that’s required of the EB2 Green Card category.

However, you would need to meet certain criteria or eligibility in order to apply for your green card under the EB2-NIW category.

To be eligible to apply for a Green Card under the EB2-NIW category you will need to demonstrate that your work will be beneficial to the United States and you must meet specific sets of criteria set forth by USCIS, that indeed justify why the labor certification process should be waived.


The EB3 Green Card category is divided into three sub-categories according to the level of training or education required to perform said job. The categories are unskilled workers, skilled workers, and professionals.

Unskilled workers (also categorized as other workers) perform jobs that requires less than two years of training or experience.

On the other hand, skilled workers are for persons whose jobs require at least two years of training or experience, while professionals are for individuals whose jobs require at least a bachelor’s degree to perform.


With the exception of the EB1 through extraordinary ability and the EB2-NIW that allow you to self-petition, all other employment based green card categories requires a US employer to first file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS.

Furthermore, with the exception of the EB1 category and the EB2-NIW subcategory, all other EB categories require a US employer to first file a labor condition application with the US department of labor before filing a petition for an alien worker with USCIS.

Application Process for US Employment Based Green Cards (EB1, EB2, EB3, EB4 and EB5)

Regardless of which category you fall under, how you apply for Green Card as a foreign national will ultimately depend on whether you currently reside inside of the U.S or outside of the U.S.

Foreign nationals residing inside the U.S in a legal nonimmigrant status go through an application process called an adjustment of status, while foreign nationals residing outside the U.S need to go through a process called consular processing in order to obtain an immigrant visa to the U.S.

All applications for U.S visa are handled outside of the U.S by the U.S Department of State, while applications for an adjustment of status are handled inside the U.S by the U.S Department of Homeland Security.

I hope you found this article/post very informative.

DISCLAIMER: This article/post and content is designed for general information only and is NOT legal advice. I am not a licensed attorney and so the information presented in this post should not be construed to be formal legal advice. If you need legal advice, you may contact a licensed attorney.