Each month, the Department of State (DOS) issues a visa bulletin which contains information regarding the availability of immigrant visas. The availability of immigrant visas is subject to numerical caps imposed by Congress, which limit how many foreign nationals may obtain immigrant visas each year. In the employment based green card category Congress allots 140,000 immigrant visas (green cards) to be issued annually. The employment-based categories are subdivided into five preference categories:
- EB-1: Priority Workers (Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Professors and Researchers, and Multinational Managers or Executives)
- EB-2: Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability
- EB-3: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers
- EB-4: Certain Special Immigrants including Religious Workers
- EB-5: Immigrant Investors
No one country in each of the five categories is allowed to exceed more than 7 percent of the category per the requirement of 8 U.S. Code § 1153.