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Merit-Based Immigration – US Immigration

You might have wondered what a Merit-Based immigration visa looks like and how it works here you will know all about what it entails

What is Merit Based Immigration?

Merit-Based Immigration is an immigration system where an applicant is eligible to get a US green card based on some achievement that they have. this could include job prospects, education, and so on.

The proposed bill is called the Reforming American immigration for strong Employment otherwise known as RAISE Act. The RAISE Act is a  point system that assigns applicants a certain number of points based on their qualifications.

This Act says that you must get at least 30 points in order for you to qualify for a green card. The bill tends to achieve a fair immigration process and remove the Diversity visa or lottery where officials said it is random and can bring immigrants who would eventually not get a visa.

If there are more applicants that meet the criteria than the supposed limit, then the immigration authority can decide to delay the applicant and grant them a merit-based immigration visa the next year fiscally year.

Requirements for the Merit-Based Immigration?

An applicant who is for the Merit-Based Immigration is expected to fulfill some requirements in order for them to qualify for points and be allowed to apply, these requirements involve:

  • Age of the applicant where importance is given to those who are between 26 and 30 years old;
  • Education of the applicant where importance is given to those with U.S STEM Degrees;
  • English language proficiency of the applicant which is  based on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
  • Any extraordinary achievements of the applicant which may include winning a Nobel Prize or an Olympic Medal
  • If  the applicant has a job offer or not and
  • If the applicant will be investing in the U.S economy by either starting or managing a new commercial enterprise
  • If the applicant just got approval for a Family Based Green Card just  before the RAISE Act was approved.

How the Merit-Based Immigration Points is Given?

By the requirements given above, you will be able to calculate your points and know if you will qualify for the Merit-Based green card. This is how you calculate your points how also how it is been distributed


The age requirement is dividend according to the age and the point assigned to them and you can see them below

0 to 17Not allowed to apply
18 to 21 6 points
22 to 25 8 points
26 to 30 10 points
31 to 35 8 points
36 to 40 6 points
41 to 45 4 points
46 to 50 2 points
51+        0 points


The Educational points are given according to the highest Educational degree that the applicant has and if it’s a foreign or a US degree

  • Highest Educational Degree Points U.S high school diploma or equivalent 1 point
  • Foreign Bachelor’s Degree points U.S Bachelor’s Degree 6 points
  • Foreign Master’s Degree in STEM7 points U.S Master’s Degree in STEM 8 points
  • Foreign Professional Degree or Doctorate Degree in STEM 10 points
  • U.S Professional Degree or Doctorate Degree in STEM 13 points

English Language

The applicant has to show that they are proficient in English and the better they are in the proficiency test, the greater the decile ranking. the points are been given based on the decile ranking which are:

  • Points1st through 5th Deciles 0 points
  • 6th and 7th Deciles 6 points
  • 8th Decile 10 points
  • 9th Decile11 points
  • 10th Decile 12 points

Extraordinary Achievements

The RAISE Act gives extra points to those who have extraordinary achievements, and this achievement falls under the categories of a Nobel laureate or an Olympic gold medal winner.

These points are very high and anyone who has one of these achievements will pass the 30 points mark more than anyone who doesn’t.

AchievementPointsNobel Laureate or comparable recognition in a field of scientific or social scientific study 25 points.

Olympic medal or 1st place in an international sporting event in which the majority of the best athletes in an Olympic sport were represented in the past 8 years before submitting the application. 15 points

Job Offer

Any applicant that has a valid job offer from a US Employer will gain more points too, in cases where you don’t then you will have no point. And if you do it will depend on the compensation that you are receiving.

  • At least 150% of the median household income in the State in which the applicant will be employed and less than 200% of such median household income. 5 points
  • At least 200% of the median household income in the State in which the applicant will be employed and less than 300% of such median household income. 8 points
  • At least 300% of the median household income in the State in which the applicant will be employed. 13 points

Investment and Management of a New Commercial Enterprise

The type of investment that will be made in the US economy by opening a new commercial business and the time that the investor or applicant will manage will also give points towards a Merit-Based visa.

Investment Points

Investing the equivalent of $1,350,000 in a new commercial enterprise in the U.S and maintaining such investment for at least 3 years. Play an active role in the management of that commercial enterprise as the applicant’s primary occupation. 6 points

Investing the equivalent of $1,800,000 in a new commercial enterprise in the U.S and maintaining such investment for at least 3 years. Play an active role in the management of that commercial enterprise as the applicant’s primary occupation.12 points

If you are an investor in the US economy and you get the merit Based visa, the US immigration official will check in with you from time to time to ensure that you maintain the investment.

If you don’t maintain the investment on the condition above then you will lose the Merit-Based visa that was given to you.

How to Apply For a Merit-Based Visa?

There are various processes to which one can apply for Merit-Based immigration and they are:

Step 1: Submit an online application

If you have the required points which are 30 points or more then you are automatically eligible to apply, after which you will have to submit an online application form to the USCIS.

The RAISE Act hasn’t been approved yet, therefore the details of what you are to submit are not yet known. with this online form, you will have to bring some documents that show that you are qualified for the points. And they include :

  • Birth certificate
  • Diplomas and degrees for your education;
  • Official test scores for English proficiency;
  • Extraordinary achievement proof if applicable;
  • Official job offer letter with compensation;
  • Documents that prove you will start a commercial enterprise in the U.S and the investment.

Step 2: USCIS will rank applications

USCIS will have to go through your application to rank according to the point, any application that has less than 30 points is not eligible.

Step 3: USCIS will send visa invitations

After ranking, the USCIS will send an invitation to the highest-ranked applicant every 6 months. as soon as you submit your application, you will stay in the application pool for about 12 months, so you have another chance if you haven’t been invited before.

Step 4: USCIS will process and announce Merit-Based visa winners

After processing, the USCIS will then announce those who qualified for the Merit-Based immigration and then the US embassies in the home countries of the winners will then issue them. meanwhile the USCIS will process the petition.

when they pass the checks, they will then get the Merit-Based visa and finally move to the US.

Can I Bring my Dependents With a Merit-Based Visa?

As an applicant, you can bring your spouse or minor children to the United States. The minor child gets an automatic Merit-Based visa but the spouse should be part of the application and is evaluated based on the point-based system.

Can I get U.S Citizenship Under Merit-Based Immigration?

As with all U.S immigrant visas after 5 years of maintaining them, you will be eligible to apply for U.S citizenship. The same applies to the Merit-Based visa. You will have to be eligible and fulfill the requirements to become a U.S citizen and if approved, you will get a U.S passport.

Just as the US immigrant visa, after five years of maintaining it, you will be eligible to apply for US citizenship. That also applies to the Merit-Based immigration, you are supposed to be eligible and meet the full requirements for you to be able to be a US citizen and if it is approved, you will get your passport.


The Merit-Based immigration is very helpful to everyone, and it is based on what you can offer and the merit-based immigration is very open to everyone.

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