Employment Visas

America was built by and continues to build and thrive because of immigration. Every year America benefits from the process of immigration. Many of the worlds best and brightest choose to work in the United States. The United States Government allows thousands of people each year to enter and work for set periods of time.

The Immigration and Nationality Act provides a yearly minimum of 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas which are divided into five preference categories. They may require a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and the filing of a petition with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security (USCIS).

The first group, Priority Workers, receive 28.6 percent (approx.) of the yearly worldwide limit. All Priority Workers must be the beneficiaries of an approved Form I- 140, Immigrant Petition for Foreign Worker, filed with USCIS.

The second group, Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees, or Persons of Exceptional Ability in the Arts, Sciences, or Business receive 28.6 percent (approx.) of the yearly worldwide limit, plus any unused Employment First Preference visas. All Second Preference applicants must have a labor certification approved by the DOL, or Schedule A designation, or establish that they qualify for one of the shortage occupations in the Labor Market Information Pilot Program (later). A job offer is required and the U.S. employer must file a petition on behalf of the applicant.

The third group, Skilled Workers, Professionals Holding Baccalaureate Degrees and Other Workers receive 28.6 (approx.) percent of the yearly worldwide limit, plus any unused Employment First and Second Preference visas. All Third Preference applicants require an approved I-140 petition filed by the prospective employer. All such workers require a labor certification, or Schedule A designation, or evidence that they qualify for one of the shortage occupations in the Labor Market Information Pilot Program.

The fourth group, Special Immigrants, receive 7.1 percent (approx.) of the yearly worldwide limit. All such applicants must be the beneficiary of an approved I-360, Petition for Special Immigrant, except overseas employees of the U.S. Government who must use Form DS-1884. Certain spouses and children may accompany or follow-to-join the principal special immigrant.

Finally, Employment Creation Investors receive 7.1 percent (approx.) of the yearly worldwide limit. All applicants must file a Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur with USCIS. To qualify, an alien must invest between U.S. $500,000 and $1,000,000, depending on the employment rate in the geographical area, in a commercial enterprise in the United States which creates at least 10 new full-time jobs for U.S. citizens, permanent resident aliens, or other lawful immigrants, not including the investor and his or her family.

Family Based Visas

Assisting a family member, whether it is a spouse, fiancé, child, brother, parent or sister become a permanent resident of the United States can be a daunting task. We can assist you and your loved ones navigate the complicated visa process. There are many nuances in each type of family-based visa. It is important that you work with someone familiar with the current visa requirements as they change frequently.

People who are close relatives of U.S. citizens and legally admitted permanent resident aliens are limited to a total of 480,000 visas per year. Immediate relatives are included in this number, as are preference relatives, but there is no limit on the number of visas which may be issued to immediate relatives. Preference relatives receive all of the visas not used by immediate relatives, but in no case less than 226,000 visas per year. Family-based preference categories subject to the numerical limit are divided into four preference categories:

  • First preference: unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and their children
  • Second preference: spouses, children, and unmarried sons and daughters of legal permanent resident aliens
  • Third preference: married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, their spouses and their children
  • Fourth preference: the brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens, their spouses and their children, provided the U.S. citizen is twenty-one years of age or older

This is merely a brief overview of the family based visa area. We recommend you contact us in order to discuss the specifics of your situation and whether or not you may qualify for some type of family based visa.


Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is conferred upon a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by The U.S. Government. The general requirements for administrative naturalization include:

  • A period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States
  • Residence in a particular USCIS District prior to filing
  • An ability to read, write, and speak English
  • A knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government
  • Good moral character
  • Attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution; and
  • Favorable disposition toward the United States

It is important to note that several recent changes in immigration law and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services procedures now make it easier for U.S. military personnel to naturalize. Please contact us to determine if these recent changes can help you.

Naturalization applicants must demonstrate good moral character, attachment, and favorable disposition. Some naturalization requirements may be modified or waived for certain applicants, such as spouses of U.S. citizens. Working with a firm that is familiar with the application process is vital as the requirements and procedures change often. We look forward to helping you become a Citizen of the United States of America.

Green Card/Diversity Lottery

Each year, the U.S. Government distributes 50,000 Green Cards to applicants who are citizens of other countries. This process is referred to variously as the "Green Card" or "Diversity Lottery". This lottery is open to eligible individuals from countries with historically low levels of immigration. None of these visas are available for people who come from countries that have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the past five years. A person who is selected in the lottery is allowed to bring his/her spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 to the United States.

It is important to understand that mere selection as a winner in the diversity visa lottery does not automatically guarantee an applicant will be issued a visa, even if the applicant is completely qualified. The number of entries selected is greater than the number of immigrant visas available, due to the fact that not everyone chosen will be qualified for the visa or will choose to complete the processing. Once all 50,000 visas have been issued, the diversity visa program for the year will end. Therefore it is vital to work with a firm that can move rapidly once an applicant has been selected. Being selected is only the beginning of the process not the end!

Am I Eligible?

To be eligible, you or your spouse must be a native of a country that is eligible to participate in the Diversity Visa Lottery. You may also be eligible to apply if your parent was born in a country that is eligible to participate. We can tell you if you are from or have connections to a country that is eligible to participate in the lottery.

An applicant must have a high school diploma or the equivalent, defined in the United States as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education; OR you must have two years of work experience within the last five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform. Millions of applicants are rejected each year for failure to file their application correctly. We can insure that the application process is done correctly, thereby giving an applicant the best possible chance of being selected.

When Do I Apply?

The application process typically begins in October but you should contact our office for the most up to date information regarding when applications will be accepted. If an applicant misses the application deadline there is no recourse other than to wait until next year.

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Waterbury Law, P.C.


Waterbury Law, P.C. provides top-notch representation for Dallas, Texas
clients in the practice areas of Healthcare, Personal Injury, and Immigration.

Contact us today at (214) 630-4554 to schedule a consultation with an experienced lawyer.