When Immigration Matters

What is an EB1 Visa? Everything You Need to Know

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Feb 15, 2018 10:30:00 AM

EB1 VisaThere are several subsets of “EB” visas also known as employment-based green cards, or permanent residency –– each of which are unique and distinct from each other. And telling them apart is essential to securing the right one for your situation. So let’s get straight to the point on EB1 visas. EB1 is a visa classification within the “employment-based” (EB) visa family. And unsurprisingly, the “1” denotes first preference. As such, EB1 visas are green cards or permanent residency reserved for foreign individuals who are being transferred from a foreign company to a branch in the United States, or aliens who have demonstrated extraordinary skill in their given field outside or within the U.S., and wish to obtain permanent residency. Under the EB1 category there is no filing of a labor certification or showing that there is no U.S. workers available to fill the position. 

Some examples of what might allow a person to qualify for an EB1 Alien of Extraordinary ability visa include:

Published scholarly works
Original scientific discoveries
Art displayed in professional galleries
Playing a critical role in a successful organization
Distinguished athletic accomplishment
Awards other than obtained at a University in the course of studying
Membership in distinguished organizations
Peer-reviewed articles
Citations to Beneficiary’s published work about the Beneficiary
Reference letters from experts in the field

In addition, the visa regulations also stipulate that “outstanding” professors may be included under certain circumstances –– so long as they’ve maintained their position for at least three years. 

Terms of the EB1 Alien of Extraordinary Ability Visa

Unlike other work-related visas, an alien applying for an EB1 alien of extraordinary ability visa (other than outstanding professors and researchers) does not have to have an employer sponsor them as long as they can show that they will continue working in their field of expertise.

EB1 Visas for Managers or Executives

This green card or permanent residency is open to those seeking to enter the United States in order to continue to work for a foreign company or business that has employed the applicant in a managerial or executive capacity outside the country for at least one of the preceding three years. If they are already in the USA under L-1 nonimmigrant status working for the U.S. entity, they must have worked for the foreign company for at least one year in the past three years prior to entering the USA.

The petitioning employer must be a U.S. employer and must have been doing business for at least one year at the time of application.  There is no Labor Certification required or proving that you cannot hire U.S. workers.  The EB-1 Beneficiary can obtain permanent residency in about a year. 

Other EB Visas

Though EB1 is the highest classification of visa given to aliens on an employment basis, there are two other EB visas to remain cognizant of when applying: EB2, and EB3. EB2 visas are reserved for professionals who have five or more years experience in a given field and have completed a master’s degree or higher at a university. And EB3 visas, or third preference, are tailored toward skilled workers who have two or more years of experience –– and can provide a service not readily available within the US already. EB4 and EB5 visas refer to specialized cases of immigration and foreign investors, respectively.


Hopefully this blog has helped shed some light on what an EB1 visa is and how it differs from other closely related visas. But attempting to immigrate to the United States, or to attempt to establish permanent residency can prove an extremely difficult task. Fortunately, you can contact the Pollak legal team today. Our passion is making your dream come true!


Karen-Lee Pollak is the Managing Attorney at Pollak PLLC located in Dallas, Texas. She is a frequent speaker, author and blogger on immigration issues. She can be reached at karenlp@pollakimmigration or under her twitter handle law_immigration.

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