The EB1 visa is a first preference, employment based immigration category for priority workers. Such workers may include those with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and certain executives and managers of multinational corporations. It is one of the most desirable immigrant visa categories due to its short processing times and its omission of a lengthy labor certification process. However, achieving EB1 eligibility is certainly no walk in the park with the bar set extremely high and applications are highly scrutinized.
The EB1 visa is geared toward the select few who are leaders in their fields of science, art, education, business, or athletics. There are three sub-categories of EB1 eligibility, 1) the extraordinary ability visa under EB1 A, 2) the EB1 B for outstanding professors and researchers, and 3) EB1 C for certain multinational managers or executives. Eligibility standards are set extremely high, but for those who possess the qualifications and evidence to back it up, the EB1 green card process is a relatively quick and painless one.
Of the total 140,000 employment based immigration visas available each year for the EB1, EB2, EB3, EB4, and EB5 categories, 28.6% are allocated to the EB1 visa. Any numbers not required by EB4 and EB5 may also be reallocated across the EB1-EB3 categories. This means approximately 40,000 visas are available under EB1, which is a considerably higher number than the actual number of EB1 visas issued each year.
What are the differences...
EB1 A - Extraordinary Ability Visa
The extraordinary ability visa is issued to individuals who demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics and are seeking to enter the US to continue work in their field of ability. “Extraordinary ability” refers to a level of expertise that sets the individual apart as a small percentage at the top of their field. The extraordinary ability visa is the only subcategory that allows the potential visa recipient to self-petition without an offer of employment.
EB1 A Criteria
Demonstration of extraordinary ability can be through the receipt of a major internationally recognized award such as a Nobel Prize or Academy Award, in which case this single piece of evidence may be sufficient. For most cases, however, at least three of the following types of evidence must be presented:
- Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
- Membership in associations in the field that demand outstanding achievement of their members
- Published material about the individual in professional or major trade publications or other major media
- Having been invited to judge the work of others within the field
- Original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field
- Authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media
- Work that has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases
- Performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
- Command of a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field
- Commercial successes in the performing arts
EB1 B - outstanding Professors & Researchers
This subcategory of the EB1 visa is issued to outstanding professors and researchers who have demonstrated international recognition for outstanding achievements in their field of academics. Applicants must have a minimum of 3 years of experience as a professor or researcher in the field and must be seeking to enter the US to continue their pursuit of teaching or researching within that field. EB1 B applicants may not self-petition but must be sponsored by a university, higher education institution, or private employer with whom they have a permanent job offer.
EB1 B Criteria
The prospective US employer must provide an offer of employment to the beneficiary. If the employer is a private entity, it must show documented accomplishments, and that it employs at least 3 full-time researchers. The beneficiary must also meet at least two of the criteria listed below:
- Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement
- Membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement
- Published material in professional publications written by others about the beneficiary’s work in their field of academics
- Participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied field of academics
- Original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field
- Authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field
EB1 C - Certain Multinational Managers or Executives
The EB1 C is the immigrant visa equivalent of the L1 visa and provides a way for multinational executives and managers to be permanently transferred to a US branch or affiliate company. It requires the beneficiary to have been employed for at least 1 year by the foreign firm or corporation within the 3 years directly preceding the petition. The beneficiary must be seeking to enter the US to continue service for a branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of the foreign employer.
EB1 C Criteria
For this third EB1 visa subcategory, the petitioner must be a US employer that has a foreign headquarters, affiliate, or parent company and have been operating in the US for at least 1 year. The beneficiary must have a permanent job offer with the US employer and must have also worked at the foreign headquarters, affiliate, or parent company for at least one year within the previous 3 years. The beneficiary must have been employed at the foreign company in an executive or managerial capacity and must also have a job offer with the US employer in a similar capacity.
The positions in both the foreign and US companies must meet USCIS standards for executives and managers. Qualifying executives must be responsible for overseeing the large-scale operations of the entity with the authority to make key decisions without significant supervision and have jurisdiction over a team of managers. Those employed in a managerial capacity should have the ability to hire and terminate employees, regulate salaries, and direct a team of subordinates in their day to day work.
Other Requirements for 1st Preference Employment Based Immigration
Aside from the criteria outlined above, there are several key requirements to consider for the EB1 visa process.
As with most employment based green card applications, the EB1 green card process requires applicants to present a valid passport, the DS-260 Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration application, two passport photos, civil documents such as birth and marriage certificates, and completed medical examination forms. Some foreign language documents may also require translations, and any copies should be certified.
The applicant and their dependents must undertake medical examinations and receive certain mandatory vaccinations before the visa interview. Some individuals may be exempt from some of the standard list of required vaccinations based on their age and/or medical history and condition. Such exemptions will be determined by an authorized panel physician. Providing the examining physician with your current vaccination records will help to expedite your process.
The EB1 visa application process involves multiple document filings with separate fees. The basic I-140 filing fee is $700, which will be covered by the employer sponsor if you have one. There is also a I-485 filing fee that varies based on age and refugee status but is around $1,225 for the majority of applicants. Outside of the various form filing fees, there are also medical examination fees, vaccination costs, biometrics fees as well as other document fees, travel costs for your interview, and any professional consultant fees to consider.
The most up to date information on filing fees can be found on the USCIS website.
How we can help...
At Immigration General Counsel, we are a boutique law firm with a philosophy of personalized service and excellence. Our expertise is in all categories of business, professional, and investor visa and we pride ourselves on being able to guide our clients through the entire process from their temporary work visa through employment based green card, and even toward citizenship for those who desire it.
We excel in not only the EB1 visa, but also the EB2, EB5, H1B, L1, and J1 waiver processes, just to name a few. You can trust us to guide you through the ever-changing landscape of US immigration and present you with all of your best options so you can be confident to make informed decisions for you and your family.