EB-1 Employment-Based Immigration

Understanding and Applying for EB-1 Petitions

The EB-1 is the first preference visa for workers who are seeking permanent U.S. residency through employment. Because this visa is reserved for “high priority workers,” it is faster to obtain than the other four employment-based (EB) green card categories, but it is also highly competitive. 

Because the EB-1 visa can be challenging to obtain, working with an EB-1 attorney throughout the complicated application process is often in the applicant’s best interest. 

Below you’ll learn more about each of the three types of EB-1 visas and when it may be a good idea to work with an attorney.

Types of EB-1 Petitions 

EB-1A: Extraordinary Ability

The EB-1A is the first preference among EB-1 visas. 

A primary benefit of EB-1A is that while the two other EB-1 visas require a job offer from a U.S. employer, EB-1A applicants can petition for themselves, making the application process significantly faster.  

The EB-1A is reserved for experts at the top of their field. This makes the application process exceptionally competitive. The small percentage of individuals granted EB-1A visas are leaders in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. 

Do I Qualify for EB-1A?

To qualify, the applicant must plan to continue working in their field of expertise after becoming a permanent resident of the United States. Because it can be difficult for applicants to determine whether they qualify for this category, working with an experienced EB-1 attorney can be helpful. 

During the application process, EB-1A applicants must provide evidence that their expertise will, in some way, benefit the United States. The requirements for an EB-1A visa are extensive.

To apply, the applicant must:

  • Present evidence of extraordinary ability in business, science, arts, education, or athletics
  • Document notable achievements within their field and demonstrate that they are well-respected by their colleagues
  • Continue working in their field of expertise
  • Be nationally or internationally acclaimed in their field.

Documenting Expertise for EB-1A

To properly document this expertise, EB-1A applicants must provide evidence that they have received an internationally renowned award, such as a Nobel Prize, in their field. If the applicant has not received a highly-coveted award, they instead may provide alternative documentation of their other achievements. 

To satisfy the application criteria for this case, they must provide at least three of the following:

  • Evidence of less prestigious national or international awards
  • Proof of membership in prestigious organizations within their field
  • Documentation showing they have contributed significantly to their field
  • Documentation showing achievements have been promoted by the media or by major trade publications

In addition to this list of requirements, proof of a high salary can often strengthen an application. 

What is the Self-Petition for EB-1A?

Once all evidence has been gathered, the applicant may self-petition by completing the USCIS I-140 Petition Form. 

After this form is approved, the applicant must submit an I-485 Application to change their status to EB-1A. 

If this application is approved, legal and permanent U.S. citizenship will be granted.

Because the requirements for the EB-1A visa are stringent and the process is extremely competitive, the best course of action is to work with an experienced immigration lawyer who can help answer difficult questions and ensure your application is as strong as possible. 

EB-1B: Outstanding Professors and Researchers

The EB-1B visa is the second preference EB-1 visa. 

To be approved for this type of visa, the applicant must have a permanent job offer from a U.S. employer who will petition for them. 

While EB-1B visa approval does not require PERM Labor Certification, the application process still typically takes longer than the EB-1A process.

Qualifying for EB-1B

To qualify for EB-1B status, the applicant must demonstrate a highly accomplished record in a scientific or scholarly field. Additionally, their employment offer must be from a university or institution of higher education. 

For the outstanding researcher visa, the applicant must provide evidence of international accomplishments, and bring at least three years of experience as a teacher or researcher. 

Additionally, they must be seeking U.S. citizenship because they have received tenure or a tenure-track offer of employment from their sponsoring institutions. 

Researchers can qualify if they will contribute an equivalent level of research to a university or other comparable institution. 

Proving EB-1B Accomplishments

Similarly to the EB-1A, EB-1B visa applicants must prove international acknowledgment within their field by providing evidence of at least two of the following:

  • Prestigious prizes or awards in their field
  • Membership of acclaimed organizations in their field, where they garnered achievements with the organization
  • Recognition in the media or in professional publications within their field
  • Judged the work of peers in their field
  • Contributed significant scholarly or scientific research in their field
  • Published books, articles, or contributions to internationally-circulating journals

Working With Employers for EB-1B

Because employers submit visa petitions for this sub-category of visa, applicants must work closely with their employers to ensure they provide sufficient evidence in support of their application. 

Employers petitioning for EB-1B applicants should work with an immigration lawyer to ensure all applications are correctly completed.

A skilled EB-1 visa lawyer will have the expertise to advise employers on the strength of the employee’s application and help them negotiate this complex process. 

EB-1C: Multinational Executives and Managers

The EB-1C visa, reserved for multinational executives and managers, is a third-preference EB-1 visa. 

If an employer wants to transfer an alien employee working abroad to a U.S. branch of the company, they apply for the EB-1C visa on behalf of the employee. 

Qualifying for the EB-1C Visa

To qualify for EB-1C visa status, specific requirements must be met by both employers and employees. 

EB-1C for Employers

For employers, there must be a qualifying corporate relationship between the U.S. employer and the foreign company. To qualify, the employing organization must be a U.S. parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of the foreign company. 

The company must also have existed in the U.S. for at least one year, have the ability to pay the applicant’s salary, and do business either directly or through a subsidiary. 

In addition to meeting these requirements, the employer must provide documentation proving their existence, including a business license, business plans, quarterly reports, income tax returns, and other documents.

EB-1C for Employees

On the employee side, for a manager or executive to qualify for EB-1C status, they must have been employed as a manager or executive by the foreign company for at least one year within the past three years before entering the United States. 

Also, their employer must submit documentation demonstrating the applicant’s managerial or executive qualifications. 

For example, a manager’s application might include evidence that the individual: 

  • Was in charge of managing a specific department of the organization 
  • Acts as a supervisor of other employees
  • Participates in hiring and firing 
  • Determines the salaries and daily work of employees

Similarly, an executive application might include evidence of an individual who:

  • Oversees managers
  • Makes key decisions without supervision 
  • Determines company goals and policies

Documentation for EB-1C

In addition to providing evidence of managerial or executive experience, employee resumes, diplomas, and other documentation must be submitted. Because the process can be complex and requires countless pieces of evidence, businesses will benefit from working with a qualified immigration lawyer who can ensure that application criteria are met and that the application is properly completed and submitted on time.

Hiring an EB-1 Attorney

The reality is that most EB-1 applications are complex, and with multiple employment visa categories beyond EB-1, it can be difficult to determine which visa the applicant best qualifies. A qualified EB-1 attorney will have handled many similar cases and can steer applicants in the best direction for their circumstances. 

Even small mistakes in applications can result in the denial of visa applications. 

If you need help with your EB-1 visa application, or if your visa has been denied or delayed, David Hirson & Partners LLP can help. Get in touch with us for a free consultation on your case at 949-383-5358.