Guide To EB-1 Visas
Employment-based immigration enables companies and other organizations to hire foreign talent.
One type of employment-based immigration puts people in the EB-1 category, which is an employment-based, first-preference visa available to people of extraordinary ability, outstanding professors or researchers, and certain multinational executives and managers.
A skilled, knowledgeable business immigration attorney can help you obtain an EB-1 visa for yourself or to bring in a foreign worker.
What is an EB-1 Visa?
An EB-1 visa is a temporary authorization to come to – and stay in – the United States. With an EB-1 visa, you don’t need a labor certification – but in some cases, a prospective employer must provide you with a job offer.
Not everyone qualifies for this type of visa. They’re only available to:
- Persons of extraordinary ability
- Outstanding professors and researchers
- Some multinational managers and executives
EB-1 Visas for Persons of Extraordinary Ability
If you can demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim, you may be eligible for an EB-1 visa because you’re a person of extraordinary ability. You must meet at least three of the ten criteria listed below or show evidence of a one-time achievement (such as an Olympic medal, a Pulitzer Prize or an Oscar, for example), and you must provide evidence that once you’re in the United States, you’ll continue to work in your area of expertise.
Criteria for demonstrating extraordinary ability include evidence of:
- Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
- Your membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members
- Published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media
- Your having been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel
- Your original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic or business-related contributions of major significance to the field
- Your authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media
- Your work having been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases
- Your performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
- Your ability to command a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field
- Your commercial successes in the performing arts
You must meet at least three of these criteria (or provide evidence of a one-time achievement).
Some of the advantages of applying for this type of visa as a person of extraordinary ability is that:
- You don’t require a labor certification
- You don’t need a job offer or permanent job position
- You can petition for yourself
That means it can be faster and easier to obtain a green card when you come to the U.S. in this category – and if you’re interested in becoming a permanent resident of the U.S., this may be something you’d like to talk to an immigration attorney about.
Application Process for EB-1 Visas for Persons of Extraordinary Ability
If you meet three of the criteria listed above as a person of extraordinary ability, you can apply for an EB-1 visa yourself – you don’t need an employer to do so. Many people in this situation choose to work with an attorney.
EB-1 Visas for Outstanding Professors and Researchers
People who are considered outstanding professors and researchers can come to the U.S. on an EB-1 visa. In order for the U.S. government to consider you an outstanding professor or researcher, you must demonstrate that you’ve earned international recognition for your outstanding achievements in your academic field. You must also have at least 3 years of experience in teaching or research in that academic area (and you must be able to prove it). If you want to come to the U.S. under this immigration category, you must show that you’re entering the country to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching – or you must be coming to work in a comparable research position at a university, institution of higher education, or for a private employer.
You must show that you have an offer of employment from a prospective U.S. employer, and that employer must show document accomplishments – and it must also employ at least three full-time researchers. Finally, you must meet at least two of the six criteria listed here for the U.S. government to consider you an outstanding professor or researcher:
- 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 the field, provided that they are in scholarly journals with international circulation
Many employers that need to hire an outstanding professor or researcher choose to work with an immigration attorney to streamline the process. An immigration lawyer can tell you what you need to do to bring in foreign talent, as well as what requirements you must meet. He or she can also file paperwork on your behalf.
Application Process for EB-1 Visas for Outstanding Professors and Researchers
The application process for EB-1 visas for outstanding professors and researchers requires the employer to file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. A person cannot apply for a visa in this category themselves – an employer must do so.
The employer must show that it’s able (and will continue to be able) to pay the wage it offers the prospective worker. USCIS will accept several types of documentation to prove the employer’s ability to pay, such as annual reports, federal income tax returns or financial statements.
EB-1 Visas for Multinational Managers or Executives
Some multinational managers and executives are eligible for EB-1 visas. Only people who have been employed outside the United States by a U.S. petitioning employer for at least a year out of the previous 3 years, or the most recent lawful nonimmigrant admission may apply. The U.S. petitioner – the company – must have been doing business for at least a year, have a qualifying relationship to the entity the worker worked for outside the U.S., and intend to employ the worker in a managerial or executive capacity.
While no labor certification is required for an EB-1 visa for a multinational manager or executive, the petitioning employer must:
- Be a U.S. employer
- Intend to employ the worker in a managerial or executive capacity
- Have been doing business in the United States for at least a year as a legal entity with a qualifying relationship to the entity that employed the worker abroad
Application Process for EB-1 Visas for Multinational Managers or Executives
Only a U.S. employer can file a petition for an EB-1 visa for a multinational manager or executive. The employer has to file USCIS Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. The employer must also be able to demonstrate its ability to continue to pay the worker the offered wage. There are several acceptable methods of proof, including federal income tax returns, annual reports and audited financial statements.
Common Questions About EB-1 Visas
Many people choose to work with a business immigration attorney to file for EB-1 visas – and that’s true whether they’re individuals of extraordinary ability or they’re companies that need to bring in foreign talent. These types of visas can be confusing, particularly when it comes to meeting the USCIS’s stringent requirements, but an attorney will be able to answer all your questions, explain the process, and give you legal advice if something goes wrong.
Check out these common questions about EB-1 visas to see if yours are answered here – and if they’re not, please feel free to call us and schedule a free consultation with an experienced business immigration lawyer.
How Much Does it Cost to Apply for an EB-1 Visa?
Form I-140 has a $700 filing fee, and the Department of State visa processing fee is $345.
How Do You Apply for an EB-1 Visa?
There are a few steps that everyone must follow when applying for an EB-1 visa. Your lawyer will complete the majority of these steps for you – you won’t have to worry about them. These are the steps:
- Complete and sign Form I-140, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
- Include the appropriate filing fee with the petition (as well as the biometrics fee, if applicable)
- Gather documents that prove eligibility
- Submit the form
What Happens After You Apply for an EB-1 Visa?
After USCIS receives your petition for an EB-1 visa, whether you filed for it yourself or you filed on behalf of a company, it will send you a receipt notice of your Form I-140, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker. You’ll also receive notice for a biometrics appointment. Additionally, you may need to attend an interview. If USCIS determines that you need an interview, you’ll receive notice of your interview date and time from USCIS. Sometimes interviews coincide with biometrics appointments.
At your interview, the immigration official may ask you questions about your work in the United States, your experience, your extraordinary ability and the arrangements you’ve made so far in the U.S. Just answer honestly and tell the truth – and if you don’t know something, it’s okay to say so.
How Hard is it to Get USCIS to Approve an EB-1 Petition?
When you apply for an EB-1 visa, it’s your responsibility to prove that you meet the appropriate criteria (or your employer’s responsibility). You must provide evidence with your application.
USCIS officials look at these applications using two steps.
First, the adjudicator – the person making the judgement on the application – looks at whether the petitioner has submitted evidence that meets all the required criteria. Then, if the petitioner does meet the criteria to come in under the category for which he or she applied, the adjudicator will consider all of the submitted evidence to make a determination.
Information for Families of EB-1 Visa Holders
If USCIS approves your petition for an EB-1 visa, your spouse and children – provided that they are unmarried and under the age of 21 – may be able to apply for admission to the United States in E-14 and E-15 immigrant status.
Do You Need to Talk to an Immigration Attorney About EB-1 Visas?
If you’re considering an EB-1 visa as a pathway to the United States, we may be able to help you. Call us today to schedule a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney who can evaluate the evidence in your case and answer all your questions. If an EB-1 visa isn’t the right choice for you, your lawyer can also help determine if there’s a more appropriate visa that will meet your needs.
Learn what EB-1 Visas, EB-2 Visas and EB-3 Visas are for Priority Workers