EB-1 Visa: An Elite Employment-Based Immigrant Visa
An EB-1 visa is an employment-based immigrant visa that allows foreign nationals with extraordinary abilities and achievements to live and work in the United States permanently. The EB-1 visa is for workers that are considered “First Preference” workers. This type of visa is reserved only for elite immigrants that can prove their excellence, extraordinary ability, or outstanding achievements in their fields.
You may be eligible for an EB-1 visa if you can prove that you fit into one of these three EB-1 occupational subcategories:
- A noncitizen of extraordinary ability
- An outstanding professor or researcher
- A multinational executive or manager
This guide will explain the differences between the occupational subcategories of EB-1 visas, discuss the steps for applying for an EB-1 visa, and tackle some of the frequently asked questions about EB-1 visas.
EB-1 Visa Guide
The EB-1 visa has three occupational subcategories: EB-1A, EB-1B, and EB1-C. Each occupational subcategory has certain eligibility requirements that must be met and certain evidence that must be submitted with the petition. No labor certificate is needed to petition for an EB-1 visa in any of these subcategories.
EB-1A Immigrant Visa for Extraordinary Ability
To qualify for an EB-1A visa, you must be a foreign national who can show that you have extraordinary ability in either the sciences, the arts, education, business, or athletics. You will need to show proof that you have sustained national or international recognition for your extraordinary ability. To prove this, you will either have to show USCIS proof of either one major internationally recognized award (like a Pulitzer Prize or an Oscar), or you will have to show them proof of three less renowned major awards or accomplishments. Some examples provided by USCIS as acceptable evidence of extraordinary ability and achievement include:
- Winning a national or international award for excellence
- Being featured in a major trade publication or major media outlet
- Being asked to judge the work of others in your field
- Original scientific, scholarly artistic, or business –related contributions of major significance
- Documentation that you are paid significantly higher than others in your field because of your extraordinary talent
- Commercial success in the performing arts
- Having an important position in a distinguished organization
This is an elite immigrant visa in that it is reserved for very distinguished immigrants with extraordinary talent. If you are an EB-1A visa applicant, you don’t need to have an offer of employment from anyone, nor do you need a sponsor at all. If you are an EB-1A visa applicant, you can file a Form I-140, Petition for an Alien Worker on your own behalf.
EB-1B Immigrant Visa for Outstanding Professors and Researchers
To qualify for an EB-1B visa you must be able to show that you are an outstanding professor or researcher. To prove this, you must show USCIS that you have been internationally recognized in your academic field. You must have at least three years of teaching experience in your field or three years of research experience in your field.
You will need at least two pieces of evidence documenting your outstanding work. Some examples of proof you can submit that USCIS will consider include:
- Receiving a major prize or award for outstanding achievement
- Membership in an elite association related to your field
- Having a professional publication in your field write about your work
- Original scientific or scholarly contributions in your field
- Having written a scholarly book or articles in scholarly journals with international circulation pertaining to your field
If you are applying for an EB-1B visa, you also need to show USCIS that you have a job offer from a U.S. employer. Plus, your future employer must prove that they have documented accomplishments themselves and that they employ at least three full-time researchers. This subcategory of EB-1 visas requires an employer to act as a sponsor and submit a petition on the employee’s behalf. The form the employer must file is Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.
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EB-1C Immigrant Visa for Multinational Managers or Executives
Multinational managers or executives can qualify for an EB-1C visa, if they meet some requirements. For this visa, you must prove that you were employed as a manager or executive for at least one full year during the preceding three-year period by an overseas company affiliated with the U.S. employer. You also must show that your job offer in the United States is also to be a manager or executive. This subcategory of EB-1 visas requires the employer to act as a petitioning sponsor. The form the employer must file is Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.
Applying for an EB-1 Visa
To apply for an EB-1 visa, a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker must be submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Typically, Form I-140 is filed by the employer, but as noted above a foreign national of extraordinary accomplishment can file their own Form I-140. That may seem simple enough. After all, Form I-140 is only nine pages long. However, it’s always best to seek guidance from an experienced immigration lawyer before petitioning for any visa, even an EB-1 visa.
There are several reasons to have an attorney help you prepare and file Form I-140 including the following:
- Along with the petition, the petitioner must submit an enormous amount of evidence to support the petition. Besides just initial evidence and evidence of achievements, supplemental forms may need to be filed.
- Denials of EB-1 visas can occur over inconsistent, incorrect, or missing information. Simple mistakes on a petition are grounds for denial.
- Even an EB-1A visa can get denied over a decades-old criminal conviction. Sometimes even a lack of vaccination records can throw a wrench in the EB-1 visa approval process. A skilled attorney will know how and when to apply for a Waiver of Inadmissibility for most Grounds of Inadmissibility that might be lurking in the immigrant’s past.
- Forms are constantly changing and so are fees. Filing a petition with an outdated form or the wrong filing fee can mess up the petition process. Experienced immigration attorneys are used to the unexpected and will greatly increase the chance of your EB-1 visa approval.
EB-1 Visas: Frequently Asked Questions
Does an EB-1 visa grant you a green card?
No, but an EB-1 visa is an immigrant visa, which means that once the immigrant is in the United States, provided they meet other requirements, they can immediately apply for a green card. Someone in the country on an EB-1 visa can file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
Can my Form I-140 be expedited?
While you can pay for Premium Processing and file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, there might be situations where your lawyer might not recommend it.
If I’m approved for an EB-1 visa, can my family come with me to the United States?
If your petition is approved by USCIS, your spouse and your unmarried children who are under the age of 21 may be eligible to apply for visas as derivative applicants.
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