The Employment-Based Immigration First Preference or EB-1 Visa is for outstanding foreign individuals looking to work and reside in the United States of America full time. This visa is a type of ‘green card’ and will allow approved applicants long-term stays in the U.S. The EB-1 Visa is often granted to those that are, for lack of a better word, ‘important.’ Meaning, that if a foreigner has a specific skill-set or special status, they may be able to apply and receive the EB-1 Visa.  Lawler made it clear that there are different basic categories that an applicant can fall under: educators and researchers, world-class athletes and renowned artists, or high-ranking businessmen/women which are the three common applicant types.


Visa Criteria:


In order to successfully procure an EB-1 Visa, the applicant will need to prove their importance in one of the three following fields:


  1. Extraordinary Abilities

The EB1 Extraordinary Ability Visa is for individuals that can prove their excellence and superior skill in their field. Ideally, the applicant’s proof would be in the form of an international award such as a Nobel Prize, etc, or they meet a minimum of three out of ten specific requirements.


The EB1 Extraordinary Ability Visa, otherwise known as the EB1A or EB1EA may be applied to directly by the applicant and does not require any labor sponsorship or labor certification.  However, the petitioner must continue work in their specific field.

As listed officially by Homeland Security, the alien petitioner may only be granted the EB1A Visa by meeting at least three of the following ten criteria:

  • Evidence of receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
  • Evidence of membership in associations in the field, which demand outstanding achievement of their members
  • Evidence of published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  • Evidence of judging the work of others, either individually or on a panel
  • Evidence of original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field
  • Evidence of authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  • Evidence that work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases
  • Evidence of performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
  • Evidence that of high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field
  • Evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts


  1. Outstanding Professors and Researchers

EB1 Outstanding Professors and Researches Visa (EB1B, EB-1B, EB1-OR) is for individuals that are of a superior academic level and have procured employment with an academic institution in the United States of America. Full-time, permanent employment must be submitted in the form of a written job-offer for a minimum duration of three years

As listed officially by Homeland Security, the alien petitioner may only be granted the EB1B Visa by meeting at least two of the following six criteria:

  • Evidence of receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement
  • Evidence of membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement
  • Evidence of published material in professional publications written by others about the alien’s work in the academic field
  • Evidence of participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field
  • Evidence of original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field
  • Evidence of authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field


  1. Multinational Executive or Manager


Multinational Executive or Managers may gain an EB-1 Visa with the sponsorship of their international employer, looking to transfer them from their international post to a position within the United States.  The employer does not need to match exactly, but there must be a qualifying relationship as set by Homeland Security.


As listed officially by Homeland Security, the alien petitioner may only be granted the EB-1 Visa by proving their employer is a subsidiary or affiliate of their current employer and is sponsoring their move to the U.S. Upon application the petitioner must provide the following:


  • The petitioning employer must be a U.S. employer.
  • The employer must have been doing business for at least 1 year, as an affiliate, a subsidiary, or as the same corporation that employed the beneficiary abroad.
  • The beneficiary must be employed in a managerial or executive position.


Visa Application Process:

Compared to other visas, the EB-1 is considered easier to apply for, but possibly more difficult to obtain. Although two of the EB-1 categories do require employer sponsorship, overall none of the categories require any labor certifications, which are often a strenuous process. However, it can also be difficult to be granted an EB-1, as the criteria are not entirely black and white and may be subject to opinion. For instance, the applicant may consider themselves the most to “have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor” but whether Homeland Security agrees or deems the petitioner’s skills necessary to the country, is up to the reviewers.


Homeland Security outlines the application process for the three categories as follows:

  • Extraordinary Ability (EB1A/EB1AE): You may petition for yourself by filing a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.
  • Outstanding Professors and Researchers (EB1B, EB-1B, EB1-OR): Your employer must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.
  • Multinational Manager or Executive: Your employer must file USCIS Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.


Visa Privileges:


With the EB-1 Visa you are considered an immigrant, green-card holder or resident alien and your rights are based on these permanent, yet temporary principles.


What an EB-1 Visa holder cannot do: EB-1 Visa holders cannot vote in public elections, participate in jury duty or trials, nor can they hold most elected government positions.


What an EB-1 Visa holder can do: EB-1 Visa holders may buy and sell property, they may own businesses, and can serve in the United States Military. If a military draft is in place, EB-1 Visa holders may be drafted.


After three or five years, an EB-1 Visa holder may try to apply for U.S. citizenship.



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