What Is an EB-1 Visa?

The EB-1 visa is an employment-based visa that is intended for priority workers who have either extraordinary abilities or are outstanding professors or researchers. The EB-1 visa also includes some multinational executives and managers who are transferred to the United States. EB-1 is a first-preference visa and is considered a green card, as it establishes lawful permanent residence for a foreign national in the United States.

Employment-based immigration visas contain three subgroups for which you can apply:

  • EB-1A: Workers of extraordinary ability.
  • EB-1B: Outstanding professors and researchers.
  • EB-1C: Multinational executives and managers.

Though there are some similarities, each have slightly different criteria to qualify for the visa.

While it can be a complicated and lengthy application process, applying for an EB-1 visa is generally easier than other work-based categories, largely due to the status of the individual applicant.

For subcategories B and C, the onus on the employer is simpler because the foreign national must already be employed by the company. Subcategory A requires no job offer from a U.S. company at all and can be petitioned individually.

EB-1A Subcategory: Workers of Extraordinary Ability

The EB-1A visa is for foreign nationals in the top of their field who demonstrate an extraordinary leadership ability in the sciences, business, education, arts, or athletics. Recipients of this subcategory must show how their work would benefit the U.S. and that they will continue to work in their field if granted residency in the country.

If you qualify for this visa, you must have achieved national and international recognition of your work, such as the Nobel Prize or the Academy Award. In contrast to the other subcategories, applicants for the EB-1A visa are not required to show proof of employment or job offer within the United States, and as your work has garnered national and international acclaim, you are permitted to self-petition and not required to obtain a labor certification.

To obtain the EB-1A visa, you must provide additional documentation to support your standing as a worker of extraordinary ability. At least three of the following must be evidenced:

  • You received a lesser national or international award or prize in your field.
  • You are a member of an association in a field that requires outstanding achievement to join.
  • Your work has been published in professional trade journals or major media publications.
  • Served as a judge of others’ work on a panel or individually.
  • Your original work has provided a significant contribution to your field.
  • You authored scholarly articles in your field.
  • Proof your work was displayed during showcases or art exhibitions.
  • You held a leadership or critical role in one or more distinguished organizations.
  • Your position in your field commands a high salary or rumination compared to others in your field.
  • If you are a member of the performing arts, evidence of commercial success.

EB-1B Subcategory: Outstanding Professors and Researchers

To qualify for the EB-1B subcategory, you must hold an international reputation as an outstanding academic or researcher whose work may benefit American employers. This subcategory does require documentation of legitimate job offers in the U.S. In contrast with the EB-1A subcategory, self-petition is not permitted, and application for this visa must be made by the potential employer instead.

To qualify for this subcategory, you must meet each of the following criteria:

  • International recognition as an outstanding academic or researcher in your filed.
  • At least three years of teaching or research experience.
  • For employment with colleges and universities, the offer must be for a tenured or tenure-track position only, and positions with a research organization must be permanent.

To certify that you are an outstanding professor or researcher, you must be able to prove two of the following:

  • That you have received major outstanding achievement prizes or awards in your field.
  • You are a documented member of associations in a field that requires outstanding achievements to join.
  • That you are published in professional trade journals or major media publications written by others about your work.
  • You served on a panel or individually as a judge of others’ work.
  • Can show your original scholarly or scientific contributions to your field.
  • You have been published in national and international academic or research books, journals, or articles.

EB-1C Subcategory: Multinational Executives and Managers

The EB-1C subcategory is for multinational executives or managers who have been employed with a qualified company in another country for at least one of the past three years. Petition for this visa also requires that the employer file the petition rather than the individual employee.

To qualify for this visa, you must be taking an executive or manager position with the American branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of the same company.

To qualify as an executive, you must show:

  • You oversee management of the company or are employed in a leading role or function of the company.
  • You determine goals and policies of the organization.
  • You have authority to make executive level decisions.
  • You have only general supervision from higher-level executives, boards of directors, or stockholders of the company.

To qualify as a manager, you must show:

  • That you manage the company or a department or subdivision of the company.
  • You serve as supervisor of other supervisors and managers or oversee an essential function of the company.
  • You have the authority to hire and terminate employees.
  • You are authorized to make day-to-day operating decisions independently.

Keep in mind that the terms “executive” and “manager” may have different meanings and qualification outside the U.S. You and your employer must be able to show that the position you hold is comparable to the American business definition of executive and manager.

How Long Is the Process to Be Granted an EB-1 Visa?

As with any immigration visa, the process can be lengthy and involve many steps. In addition to the required documentation listed above, there will be fees, additional forms, and you may have to attend interviews and biometrics testing.

Many people who apply for priority worker visas find it very beneficial to seek help from a lawyer who is experienced in the employment-based immigration application process.

Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Help Clients Apply for EB-1 Visas

Applying for an employment-based visa can be complicated and confusing. Our Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. are here to answer your questions. Call us at 215-925-4435 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and nationwide.