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EB-1 Employment-Based Immigrant Visas (Green Cards)

The EB-1 category for “priority workers” is divided into three categories which share the following advantages:

  1. No labor certification requirement;
  2. Visa number (the “priority date”) is immediately available according to the Visa Bulletin; and
  3. The I-140 Petition (Petition for Alien Worker) and I-485 (Adjustment Application) can be filed concurrently.

EB-1-1 – Aliens of Extraordinary Ability

An individual is exempt from the labor certification process if he or she qualifies as an individual with extraordinary ability in the first preference category.  There are two ways in which to qualify for extraordinary ability.  If the individual has achieved a one time award of recognized international significance, that would be sufficient to establish eligibility. The example given in regulations is a Nobel Prize but practical experience suggests that lesser but prominent awards will suffice. 

If the individual does not possess such an award, the individual would have to produce at least three of the following types of evidence to demonstrate that he is of sustained or international acclaim:

  • Receipt of lesser national or international prizes or awards;
  • Membership in an association in the field for which classification is sought which requires outstanding achievement of their members as judged by recognized national and international experts;
  • Published material about the person in a professional or major trade publication or other major media;
  • Participation as a judge of the work of others;
  • Evidence of original scientific, scholastic, artistic, athletic or business related contributions of major significance;
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in the field;
  • Artistic exhibitions or showcases;
  • Performance in a leading or a cultural role for organizations or establishments that have distinguished reputations;
  • High salary or remuneration in relation to others in the field; and
  • Commercial success in the performing arts.

In addition to the above, the regulations permit one to produce any other type of evidence that the applicant feels would be helpful to evaluating national or international acclaim.

It is also helpful to obtain affidavits or letters from industry leaders attesting to the individual's outstanding contributions within the field and his reputation nationally and internationally. 

If an individual meets the requirements above, either the sponsoring company, or the individual himself or herself (if self-sponsoring) would submit a Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker with USCIS along with supporting documentation to evidence his or qualifications.  This petition requests that the individual be classified as employment based first preference (“EB-1”).  If and when the petition is approved and when the individual's priority date is current, he or she would then be able to submit an application for permanent residence.  If the individual’s priority date is current, he or she would also be eligible to file the application for permanent residence at the same time as the immigrant visa petition.

It is important to note that no actual offer of employment is required in the instance of an "extraordinary ability" petition.

EB-1-2 – Outstanding Professors and Researchers

An individual will be exempt from the labor certification process if he or she qualifies for the first preference category as an outstanding professor or researcher.  To qualify as an outstanding professor or researcher, an individual must demonstrate that he is recognized internationally as outstanding in a specific field.  The individual must be offered 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, the company must employ at least three full time researchers and have documented accomplishments in the academic field in which the position is offered.  In addition, the individual must have an advanced degree and at least 3 years of research experience in the field. 

To establish that an individual is recognized internationally as outstanding in a research field, he must present at least two of the following:

  • Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement;
  • Membership in an association which requires outstanding achievement;
  • Published materials in professional publications written by others about the applicant's work;
  • Evidence of the person's participation as a judge of the work of others;
  • Evidence of original scientific research; and
  • Authorship of scholarly books or articles in the field. It is also helpful to obtain affidavits or letters from industry leaders attesting to the individual's outstanding scientific contributions within the field and his reputation nationally and internationally.

If an individual meets the requirements above, the company would submit an I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker to USCIS along with supporting documentation to evidence his or her qualifications.  This petition requests that the individual be classified as employment based first preference (“EB-1”).  If and when the petition is approved and when the individual's priority date is current, he or she would then be able to submit an application for permanent residence.  If the priority date is current, an individual may also elect to file the immigrant petition and application for permanent residence at the same time.

EB-1-3 – Multinational Executives and Managers

An individual will be exempt from the labor certification process if he or she qualifies for the first preference category as a multinational executive or manager.  Essentially, this provision parrots the requirements of L‑1 status for executive or manager:

  1. The individual must have the requisite prior employment with the foreign affiliated entity (one year during the three years before coming to the United States);
  2. The individual must be coming from an executive or managerial position; and
  3. The individual must be coming to work in the United States in an executive or managerial position with a U.S. qualifying organization.  Since the standard is essentially the same as the L‑1 category, individuals who originally entered as L‑1 executives or managers are readily converted to this category.

To begin the permanent residence process for individuals in these positions, the sponsoring employer needs to complete Form I‑140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.  This petition requests that the individual be classified as employment based first preference (“EB-1”). In addition, the employer would submit an affidavit and supporting documents about the company, the position, and the individual to demonstrate that the position is exempt from the labor certification process.

Once the visa petition is approved and when the individual’s priority date is current, he is then eligible to apply for permanent residence.  Assuming the individual is in the United States and has no prior violations of his immigration status, an application for permanent residence and other requisite documents are then filed with USCIS.  The immigrant petition and the application for permanent residence can be filed concurrently.  If the individual is outside the United States or has previously violated his status, he would Consular process at the closest U.S. Consulate.

Other types of employment-based visas are also available. Please also visit the rest of our website to see other ways to obtain a green card to live in the United States. 

 

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