EB-1 Visa


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Immigration Law
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Employment-Based Immigration: First Preference

Visas for foreign persons with certain extraordinary abilities, outstanding research/professorship, or managers and executives.

Individuals can obtain an EB-1 visa if they are one of the three types of applicants:


If an individual is of ‘extraordinary ability’ and has achieved ‘sustained national or international acclaim in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics’, they can apply for a permanent residence status. These Applicants must be able to show that they have risen to the very top of their field, and if they are able to show this, a self petition can be filed, doing away with the need to have an employer. The Applicant must prove these achievements and have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation. They can demonstrate this ‘extraordinary ability’ by either showing evidence of one large achievement, such as a Pulitzer prize or Olympic medal, or by showing they meet three out of the ten criteria listed below:
  1. Evidence of receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence.
  2. Evidence of membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members.
  3. Evidence of published material about the applicant in professional or major trade publications or other major media.
  4. Evidence that the applicant has been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel.
  5. Evidence of the applicant’s original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field.
  6. Evidence of authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media.
  7. Evidence that the applicant’s work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases.
  8. Evidence of performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations.
  9. Evidence that the applicant commands a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field.
  10. Evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts.


The EB-1B can be obtained by an Applicant who is internationally recognized as ‘outstanding in a particular scientific or scholarly field’. This type of visa requires employer sponsorship unlike the EB-1A. There are three three requirements for someone seeking a petition as an ‘Outstanding Researcher/Professor’, which includes:
  1. International recognition for being outstanding in a specific academic field; 2. At least three years of relevant research or teaching experience: Research or teaching experience obtained while in pursuit of an advanced degree, such as a Ph.D., can be counted towards the three-year requirement, only if the Applicant has obtained the degree, and if the teaching duties were such that the Applicant had full responsibility for the class taught, or if the research conducted toward the degree has been recognized within the academic field as outstanding. The Applicant must document their work history with letters from current and/or former employers describing work duties, and years of employment; and, 3. A job offer for a permanent research position or a tenured or tenure-track teaching position from the sponsoring employer: Generally, a job offer is given by a university or other similar academic or scientific institution, but it can also be offered by a private employer. If the offer is from a private employer, the employer must have at least three full-time researchers along with accompanying documentation supporting their accomplishments within the field.


The EB-1C category of visa, was created for managers and executives who meet the L-1A non-immigrant visa standards and who wish to obtain a green card. Although it is possible to apply for an EB-1C visa directly, most Applicants will obtain an L-1A and then transfer to an EB-1C visa.

One of the attractive qualities of this visa is that there is no labor certification required. In order to qualify for an EB-1C visa, an Applicant must meet the following:
  1. Have been employed abroad for one year in the previous three years prior to entry into the U.S., by the parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of the U.S. employer or petitioner. The central qualification is that the entity abroad and the petitioner need to have common control, usually evidenced by more than fifty percent common ownership. 2. The employment that qualifies and that was performed abroad was in a ‘Managerial’ or ‘Executive’ capacity. Managers must: Manage a function or a department of the organization. Supervise the work of others as well as hire and fire subordinates. Be able to control the daily activities and salaries of employees Executives must: Be able to direct managers in your organization. Make far-reaching decisions without substantial supervision Establish large-scale goals and policies 3. The qualifying foreign entity must continue to be doing business and have the requisite qualifying relationship with the petitioner at the time the immigrant petition is filed. 4. The U.S. employer must have been doing business for at least one year and have the ability to pay the immigrant’s salary. 5. The U.S. employer must have been doing business for at least one year and have the ability to pay the immigrant’s salary. As with most employment-based petitions, a work petition is filed with the USCIS. If the manager or executive is already in the U.S. in a valid nonimmigrant status, and adjustment petition, maybe concurrently filed with USCIS if visas are available. If the Applicant is abroad, they have to wait for the employment petition to be approved before consular processing, which is a process akin to adjustment of status, but takes place outside the U.S. Persons who wish to enter the U.S. more quickly or those establishing new companies may find it more convenient to obtain L-1A visas first and then apply for the EB-1C once the immigrant petition can be supported.


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David A. Bredin


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