When Immigration Matters

EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Visa Differences and Requirements

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Jun 25, 2024 2:36:19 PM

Pollak Blog Designs-Jun-25-2024-07-43-41-5642-PMThe United States provides distinct pathways for skilled professionals globally to relocate and contribute to its dynamic economy through the EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3, employment-based preference visas. Each category targets a unique group of talents, ranging from individuals with extraordinary abilities and outstanding achievements to skilled workers and professionals. Recognizing the critical differences among these visa categories is essential for aligning your career goals and immigration aspirations with the right opportunities and ensuring a successful transition to the U.S. 

EB-1 Visa: Priority Workers

The EB-1 visa category is reserved for individuals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. It is also available to outstanding professors and researchers as well as certain multinational managers and executives.


  • Extraordinary Ability: Individuals must demonstrate extraordinary ability via a one-time achievement (like a Pulitzer, Oscar, Olympic Medal) or through documentation of sustained acclaim.
  • Outstanding Professors and Researchers: Must be recognized internationally for their outstanding achievements in a particular academic field, have at least three years of experience in teaching or research in that academic area, and enter the U.S. to pursue tenure or tenure-track teaching or a comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education.
  • Multinational Manager or Executive: Must have been employed outside the United States in the three years preceding the petition for at least one year by a firm or corporation and must be seeking to enter the United States to continue service to that firm or organization. Their employment must have been outside the United States in a managerial or executive capacity and with the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the employer.

This visa has the fastest processing times among the EB categories and does not require a Labor Certification.

EB-2 Visa: Professionals with Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability

The EB-2 visa is for professionals holding an advanced degree or its equivalent, or for those who have exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business that will substantially benefit the U.S. economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare.


  • Advanced Degree: The position must require an advanced degree (beyond a baccalaureate degree), or a baccalaureate degree and at least five years progressive experience in the profession.
  • Exceptional Ability: Must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, which means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered.
  • National Interest Waiver: EB-2 applicants may also seek a waiver of the job offer and labor certification requirements if their admission is in the national interest.

While still requiring a Labor Certification unless waived via a National Interest Waiver, this visa offers a quicker path to permanent residency than the EB-3 category.

EB-3 Visa: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers

This category includes “skilled workers” with at least two years of job experience or training, “professionals” with a baccalaureate degree, and “other workers” for positions that require less than two years of higher education, training, or experience.


  • Skilled Workers: Must demonstrate at least two years of job experience or training.
  • Professionals: Must demonstrate that they possess a U.S. baccalaureate degree or foreign equivalent degree that is normally required for the profession.
  • Other Workers: Positions that require less than two years of training or experience.

This visa covers a broader range of employment opportunities but typically has longer waiting times due to higher demand and lower priority in visa allocation compared to EB-1 and EB-2.

Getting Started

For individuals seeking an employment based green card,  professional guidance is essential. At Pollak PLLC, our team is highly experienced in processing employment-based visas and committed to helping clients achieve their immigration objectives. If you’re considering different avenues to moving to the U.S., contact us at (214) 305-2266 to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can assist you in this important process.

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