Immigrant Visa: Petitioning for an Employment-based Immigrant Visa


Noncitizens, except those classified as having extraordinary ability, must be sponsored before they can apply for an immigrant visa.

One way for a noncitizen to be sponsored is for an employer to submit a petition on behalf of the noncitizen to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for an employment-based immigrant visa.

To be eligible for such a visa, the noncitizen must belong to one of the USCIS' "preference classifications" of workers (see "Preference Classifications" below).

Refer to Immigrant Visa (Permanent Residency).

Preference Classifications

The USCIS preference classifications relevant to the Research Foundation (RF) are:

  1. priority workers, including (a) noncitizens of extraordinary ability, (b) outstanding professors and researchers,
    and (c) managers and executives subject to transfer to the U.S.
  2. (a) noncitizens of exceptional ability and (b) advanced degree professionals.
  3. (a) professionals with bachelor's degrees not qualifying in the second preference, (b) skilled workers,
    and (c) unskilled workers.

    For more information, refer to Immigrant Visa: Preference Classifications for an Employment-Based Immigrant Visa.

What Must Be Submitted for All Preference Classifications

To obtain an employment-based immigrant visa, the noncitizen's United States sponsor must submit to the appropriate USCIS Service Center the following items:

Additional Requirements for Each Preference Classification

For each preference classification, the following table indicates whether the USCIS also requires:

Employer's Letter

The employer's letter must be signed by the operations manager or designee. Project directors may not sign the letter.

See Sample Letter Verifying Permanent Research Position (HTML) (Word) for a sample letter.

Job Offers

Job offers must follow the requirements of Communications with Applicants and Offers of Employment Policy.

A written job offer to be used for an employment-based visa (permanent resident) petition must address the permanency of employment. The Research Foundation cannot guarantee permanent employment due to the nature of Research Foundation funding. Operating locations may address the issue of the permanency of the employment by using the following sample wording in job offers:

  1. "Although this position is funded by a grant which runs from [date] to [date], it is expected to continue for
    an undetermined amount of time. It has currently been funded for [no. of years/months] and there is no
    expectation that funding will be cut."

Guidelines for Completing Form I-140

To maintain uniformity throughout the Research Foundation, the Central Office of Employee Services recommends that operating locations complete the sections of the form listed below as indicated.


The Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140) is downloadable from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The current filing fee is listed on the USCIS Forms and Fees page.

The USCIS also provides Forms by Mail.



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