The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers approximately 140,000 employment-based visas every fiscal year (October 1-September 30). If an individual is within the preference categories, his/her prospective employer or agent may require help from a qualified and experienced immigration attorney to work on this.

Before you get in touch with a legal practitioner, here is a look at the common questions regarding employment-based visa applications.

What is the first step? Getting the labor certification approval from the US Department of Labor is the first task to handle.

Who files the petition? Filing the Immigration Petition for Alien Worker, Form 1-140 with the USCIS is the responsibility of the employer.

What are the categories of preference? These are as follows:

Employment First Preference (E1): Priority Workers

Employment Second Preference (E2): Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability

Employment Third Preference (E3): Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers (Other Workers)

Employment Fourth Preference (E4): Certain Special Immigrants

Employment Fifth Preference (E5): Immigrant Investors

What happens next? After the USCIS approves the petition, the National Visa Center takes up the case for further processing. Right from filing a petition to preparing for the visa interview, you need a competent immigration attorney for advice and guidance.

What fees do you need to pay? This would include the petition filing fees, visa application processing fees, medical examination and vaccination expenses, and other costs like photocopying costs, travel expenses, etc.

Do you need to undergo a medical examination? Yes. You need to undergo the examination from an authorized panel physician only. You also need certain vaccinations before you get a visa.

Which documents do you need to submit? This would include your valid passport, Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application DS-230, Civil Documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc), Financial Support Documents, Medical Examination Forms and photographs.

How long would it take? This depends on the specific circumstances of your case. There is a limit to the visas issued every year. Moreover, any error on your part may also delay the process. However, this risk minimizes if you have an attorney for help.

What happens if you are ineligible? Certain circumstances may make you ineligible for an employment-based visa (health related grounds, criminal record grounds, previous rejection of visa grounds, and so on). If you already have an immigration attorney, he/she would know whether there is a waiver available and the way the waiver process works.