Employment-Based Immigration: First Preference EB-1

You may be eligible for an employment-based, first preference visa if you have an extraordinary ability, are an outstanding professor or researcher, or are a multinational executive or manager. Each occupational category has certain requirements that must be met:

EB-1A Visa, Aliens of Extraordinary Ability

  • You must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. Your achievements must be recognized in your field through extensive documentation. No offer of employment is required.
  • You must meet 3 of 10 criteria below, or provide evidence of a one-time achievement (i.e., Pulitzer, Oscar, Olympic Medal)
  • Evidence of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence.
  • Evidence of membership in associations in the field that demand outstanding achievement of their members.
  • Evidence of published material about the applicant in professional or major trade publications or other major media.
  • Evidence of participation by the alien as a judge, either individually or on a panel, of others’ work.
  • 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 journals or major trade publications or other major media.
  • Evidence of work that has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases.
  • Evidence of having taken on a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations.
  • Evidence that the applicant commands a high salary or other significantly high remuneration relative to others in the same field.
  • Evidence of commercial success in the performing arts, as shown by either box office receipts or cassette, compact disc, video, or DVD sales.

EB-1B, Outstanding professors and researchers

Aliens residing in the U.S. or abroad are eligible to apply for this designation, provided they meet three general qualifications stipulated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):

  1. International recognition for outstanding achievements in a particular academic field.
  2. At least three years of relevant research or teaching experience in that particular academic field.
    • Note that research or teaching experience accrued while in pursuit of an advanced degree, such as a Ph.D., can be counted toward this requirement, but only in three scenarios: the alien had already acquired the degree; the teaching duties were such that the alien had full responsibility for the class taught; or the research conducted toward the degree was recognized within the academic field as outstanding.
    • Aliens must document their work history with letters from current and former employers describing work duties and duration of employment.
  3. A job offer for a permanent research position or a tenured or tenure-track teaching position from the sponsoring employer.
    • Generally, the job offer is given by a university or academic or scientific institution, but it can also be offered by a private employer. If the offer is from a private employer, the employer must have at least three full-time researchers on its workforce. Additionally, the employer must supply documentation speaking to its own research accomplishments and standing in the relevant academic or research field.

General evidence to prove the beneficiary is an EB-1B outstanding 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 scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field

EB-1C, Multinational Manager or Executive

The EB-1C petition for multinational managers and executives allows international companies to transfer their top-level employees to the U.S. as permanent residents. To apply, a sponsoring employer submits Form I-140 on behalf of an employee to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Requirements for successfully applying in this category are divided between both the petitioning employer and employee beneficiary.

Employer Requirements

  1. The company must be a U.S. employer with a qualifying relationship with a foreign company, such as a parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate. (These are collectively referred to as “qualifying entities.”)
  2. The company must operate in the U.S. and in at least one other country, either directly or through a qualifying entity, in the regular, systematic, and continuous provision of goods or services.
  3. The company must have been conducting business in the U.S. for at least one year prior to filing.

Some of these requirements are relatively easy to satisfy and do not require extensive documentation, especially for cases involving well-known and established companies. However, when a petitioning company is small or has only recently been established, the employer should be prepared to provide extensive documentation to establish eligibility. Accordingly, we recommend that such companies in particular seek the professional services of an experienced immigration attorney.

Employer Requirements

Prospective beneficiaries of an EB-1C visa must have been employed in a managerial or executive capacity by the overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary or branch of the U.S. employer for at least one of the three years prior to filing the petition. They must also intend to immigrate to the U.S. to work in a managerial or executive capacity with the employer. Additional conditions apply according to the professional capacity an alien is seeking to assume.

To qualify as a manager, the alien must prove that he or she personally:

  1. Manages the organization, department, component, or function;
  2. Supervises and controls the work of other supervisory, professional, or managerial employees, or manages an essential function within the organization, or a department or subdivision of the organization;
  3. Has the authority to hire, terminate, and make other personnel decisions; and
  4. Exercises discretion over day-to-day operations of the activity or function.

Generally speaking, unless the employees they supervise are professionals, first-line supervisors are not considered “managers” for EB-1C purposes. There may be exceptions. For instance, a junior supervisor at an accounting firm may qualify under this definition because the employees he or she oversees are professional accountants (item number 2 above).

To qualify as an executive, the alien must prove that he or she primarily:

  1. Directs the management of an organization, major component, or function;
  2. Establishes goals and policies;
  3. Exercises wide latitude in discretionary decision-making; and
  4. Receives only general supervision from higher executives, the board of directors, or stockholders.

If you have further questions regarding this topic or need our legal representation, please contact us for a valuable consultation with our Immigration Lawyer.