Find the right lawyer now

Immigration Act of 1990

Find a Local Immigration Lawyer near You

The Immigration Act of 1990 is one of the major laws regulating U.S. immigration.  Its passage resulted in an increase in the total number of people that may immigrate to the U.S. every year.  It also accomplished the following:

  • Introduced revisions for exclusion and deportation policies
  • Authorized temporary protected status for persons from certain designated countries
  • Revised and established several new non-immigrant categories for admission into the U.S.
  • Expanded the Visa Waiver Pilot Program
  • Reviewed naturalization requirements

In addition, the Immigration Act of 1990 created a visa lottery program that randomly assigns visas to persons depending on their country of origin and immigration statistics from the previous five years. 

What Types of Visas were introduced by the Immigration Act of 1990?

In addition to reforming immigration policies, the Immigration Act of 1990 created several new visa categories and revised some of the existing ones. 

In particular, the Act created five employment-based visa categories (EB visas) and also addressed the four categories under the family-sponsored preference categories.  These nine categories are collectively referred to as the “Preference System” for visa applications.

The five employment-based visa preference categories are:

  • EB-1:  Aliens with extraordinary abilities or talents
  • EB-2:  Aliens possessing an advanced education degree or demonstrating exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business
  • EB-3: Persons with at least 2 years experience as a skilled worker, professionals with a bachelor’s degree, or persons who are able to perform labor in a field for which qualified workers are not readily available in the U.S.
  • EB-4:  Persons who are special immigrant religious workers, such as priests or ministers
  • EB-5:  Foreign investors

The four different family-sponsored preference categories for U.S. visas are:

  • Unmarried children of U.S. citizens
  • Spouses, children, and unmarried children of lawful permanent residents
  • Married children of U.S. citizens
  • Siblings of U.S. citizens

Each of these preference categories may be subject to various limitations and regulations that can change every year.  This is because U.S. immigration agencies often approve visas based on the numbers of visas issued to each particular country of origin in previous years. 

Also, each visa preference category is associated with different filing requirements and processing times.  For example, there are various waiting periods and quotas for family-based visa applications.

Do I need a Lawyer if I have questions about the Immigration Act of 1990?

If you have questions regarding the Immigration Act of 1990, you should consider speaking with an immigration lawyer.  An immigration attorney can help answer your questions about the various immigration laws and policies, which often change on a yearly basis.  Also, if you will be applying for a visa or other immigration documents, your lawyer can help you compile the necessary application information.  Immigration lawyers can also provide representation in court or during an immigration hearing. 

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 10-23-2012 03:09 PM PDT

Law Library Disclaimer
  • No fee to present your case
  • Choose from lawyers in your area
  • A 100% confidential service
What is LegalMatch?

We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.