EB-1 Qualifications

Who qualifies for an EB-1 visa, you ask? The EB-1 visa (first preference) is a permanent residency U.S. visa. It is available to EB-1 workers-aliens who are outstanding professors, researchers, certain multinational executives and managers, or individuals with "extraordinary ability." Read more in our "What is an EB-1 Visa"article. 

EB-1 Requirements

Labor Certification is not required for this type of visa.

Aliens With Extraordinary Ability (EB-1A)

Aliens with extraordinary ability are defined as those who have "extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation."

Providing evidence for three of the following examples will demonstrate extraordinary ability for immigration purposes:

  • 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 alien in professional or major trade publications or other major media.
  • Evidence that the alien has judged the work of others, either individually or on a panel.
  • Evidence of the alien's original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field.
  • Evidence of the alien's authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media.
  • Evidence that the alien's work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases.
  • Performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations.
  • Evidence that the alien commands a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field.
  • Evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts.

Applicants in this category do not have to have a specific job offer. However, they must be entering the U.S. to continue work in the field in which they have extraordinary ability. These applicants may file their own petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), rather than through an employer.

Outstanding Professors and Researchers (EB-1B)

Outstanding professors and researchers are recognized internationally for their outstanding academic achievements in a particular field. In addition, an outstanding professor or researcher must have at least three years experience in teaching or research in that academic area and enter the U.S. in a tenure, or tenure track, teaching, or comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education. If the employer is a private company, it must employ at least three people full time in research activities and have achieved documented accomplishments in an academic field.

For a professor or researcher to be recognized as outstanding in an academic field for the purposes of immigration, they must include evidence of at least two of the following:

  • Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement.
  • Membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievements.
  • Published material in professional publications written by others about the alien's work in the academic field.
  • Participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field.
  • Original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field.
  • Authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field.

No labor certification is required for this classification, but the prospective employer must provide a job offer and file a petition with the USCIS

Certain Multinational Executives and Managers (EB-1C)

Some executives and managers of foreign companies who are transferred to the U.S. may qualify in this category. A multinational manager or executive is eligible for priority worker status if he or she has been employed outside the U.S. in the three years preceding the petition for at least one year by a firm or corporation and seeks to enter the U.S. to continue service (in a managerial or executive capacity) to that firm or organization. The employment must have been outside the U.S. in a managerial or executive capacity and with the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the petitioning U.S. employer.

The petitioner must be a U.S. employer, doing business for at least one year, that is an affiliate, a subsidiary, or the same employer as the firm, corporation, or other legal entity that employed the foreign national abroad.

EB-1 Application Process

A green card through employment is generally a three-step process. 

1. The first step requires filing a labor certification application with the Department of Labor attesting that there are no U.S. workers available to fill the required position (PERM).

2. The second step requires filing an application with the USCIS.

3. The final step requires filing an adjustment of status application when a visa becomes available. In certain cases, step two and step three can occur at the same time.

EB-1 Visa Alternatives

Green Card through Employment — the EB-2 and EB-3 Category

Alternative green cards through employment include the EB-2 (second preference) and EB-3 (third preference) visas. These categories are the most common for obtaining permanent residency through employment.

Contact An EB-1 Lawyer

Our managing EB-1 attorney Karen-Lee Pollak and experienced immigration support team will work with you to determine the best possible employment preference category for you.

Our firm provides full-service professional legal advice and representation to help you find an immigration solution to your visa needs. Please contact us to discuss your Immigration options.

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