EB4 Visa: The Complete Guide
Posted by Frank Gogol
The EB-4, also known as employment-based immigration, is one category under the employment visas processed by the United States government every year to allow other nationals to enter the United States. To be eligible for this visa, you need to have a prospective employer willing to hire you. Each year, less than 10,000 visas are permitted to be processed.
Table of Contents
What Is an EB4 Visa?
The EB-4 is a special visa designed for a particular category of immigrants. The below list is the type of job you need to hold to qualify for an EB-4 visa:
- Ordained minister
- Special immigrant juveniles – this is for the benefit of minors subjected to hardships in their host country
- Employees of the G4 international organization or NATO-6
- Employees hired by the US government but working abroad (outside of United States)
- Members of the Armed Forces
- Physicians from a certain field
- Employees of the Panama canal zone
- Translators for Afgan and Iraqi languages
- Nationals from Afghanistan and Iraq have contributed to the service of the United States armed forces in their respective countries.
With an EB-4 visa, one can work and live permanently in the United States if an employer is willing to hire them upon arrival.
How To Apply For An EB4 Visa?
You should know before applying for an EB4 visa if you satisfy the requirements to do so. Generally, there are two requirements for the people belonging to the above list of categories:
- The applicants need to have a completely valid permanent job offer from a US employer to work in the United States. It cannot be a seasonal or a part-time offer.
- The job offered needs to be in the applicant’s area of expertise only.
Now, the application process is divided into two parts.
- The prospective employer needs to petition the US citizenship and immigration services (USCIS) on behalf of the employee.
- Following approval, the employee needs to apply to the US consulate or embassy in their host country.
Filing The Petition
Your US employer needs to take permission from the USCIS before they can hire you. This is done by filling out Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. Once the permission is granted, you can start your Visa process. There are cases where you, the employee, can directly approach the USCIS, but such instances are rare, and you should first check out their website for more information on if you can do so or not.
If you are a broadcaster, your application will be submitted by the US Broadcasting board of governors or one of their grantees only. You need to be a broadcaster involved with the media and not on the technical or the support teams.
Once the employer submits the petition, it will be processed, and the decision will be notified. If yes, your case would be transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC), which will assign a case number and invoice id to your application and send you the details and instructions on further process to your address in your home country.
Filing Form DS-261
Once the USCIS approves the employer to hire the foreigner, the applicant will have to fill out a form called DS-261. This is an online application and is the first step to your visa application under EB4. You can access this form online by typing in your case number on the consulate website. Once you fill out all the necessary details and click submit, you will immediately be directed to the confirmation page and be given a number.
Completing The Medical Exam
The NVC package you receive will also contain a list of medical examinations you need to clear and a list of vaccines you need to have before entering the United States. Ensure you take all vaccines and pass all medical examinations because the documents regarding the same will be verified. All medical exams must be completed by a licensed doctor, and the documents regarding your vaccines must also be signed by the doctor before you can add them to your supporting documents file.
Collecting Your Support Documents
The following is a list of the support documents that you would be required to submit for verification by the U. S consulate in your home country to process your application.
- Your passport, valid for more than six months after your intended departure to the US
- Your employment offer letter
- The approved petition
- Your DS-261 confirmation page
- Your medical and vaccine documents are signed
- Two photographs that meet the US Visa applications photo requirements
- Academic Achievements
- Any document of any criminal record you may have
- Also, the NVC might need additional documents, so please go through the package that they send you thoroughly
Attending Your Visa Interview
The NVC will review your documents and let you know if any additional documents are required. If not, a visa interview will be scheduled at the consulate that you are applying from.
Receiving The NVC Package
Once the interview is done, the official conducting the interview will decide if you must be given the EB4 visa or not. If yes, they will again give you another sealed document from the NVC. You are not allowed to open it under any circumstances ever. After you arrive at an airport in the United States, the immigration officer will open the document and decide if you should be allowed to go beyond the point or not.
EB4 Visa Fees
The entire application process requires you to pay various fees to various people at different stages. The exact fees keep varying from country to country and from time to time. But generally, you will only pay the following fees:
- USCIS form I-360 petition filing fees
- DS-216 form processing fees
- Medical Examination fees
- Obtaining supporting documents fees
- If applicable, translational fees to convert your language to English
EB4 Visa Processing Time
US immigration visas are capped at 140,000 per year, and the EB4 category is just one of five. Similar to green cards, once the limit has reached, all remaining visas are only processed in the next year. Therefore, only 9,940 EB4 visas are processed every year in chronological order. That’s only about 9.1% of the 140,000 cap. Depending on when you applied, your visa can be processed within a few months or as long as four years!
To apply for an EB4 visa, you need to have a job inside the United States, given by a US employer. The application process begins with your employer filing a petition and requires you to qualify under a certain category. Once the petition by your employer is approved, you will receive a package from the National Visa Centre detailing the instructions and the list of documents you would need to continue the process.