Every fiscal year (October 1st – September 30th), approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are made available to qualified applicants under the provisions of U.S. immigration law. Employment based immigrant visas are divided into five preference categories. Certain spouses and children may accompany or follow-to-join employment-based immigrants. You can learn more about these five categories of employment-based immigrant visas on usvisas.state.gov.
To apply for an employment-based immigrant visa, follow the steps on the Immigrant Visa Process on usvisas.state.gov. Once you have completed those steps, review the instructions given to you by the National Visa Center (NVC), along with the information presented on this website, for further guidance and instructions.
Previously all first-time immigrant travelers to the United States were required to hand-carry an Immigrant Visa (IV) packet and present it at the U.S. Port of Entry to the Customs and Border Protection authorities. In 2017, the Department of State began to use an online application center to collect, review, and process the required documents previously contained in the IV packet. IV packets are now transmitted electronically to Customs and Border Protection and are accessible at the U.S. Port of Entry. Any immigrant traveler carrying a visa with a special annotation is not required to hand-carry an IV packet. You can find additional information on electronic processing here.