EB-1 Immigrant Visas

EB-1 visas are for the highest priority of workers. These visas are divided into three categories: Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Professors or Researchers, and Multinational Managers or Executives.

Extraordinary Ability (EB-1-1)

The Extraordinary Ability visa is reserved for individuals who can demonstrate that they have risen to the very top of their field of endeavor.  At a minimum, an applicant must prove that he or she has either received a major one-time achievement (e.g., Nobel Prize, First Prize at the Van Cliburn Competition) or that he or she meets at least 3 out of 10 of the following criteria: 

  • Lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence.
  • Membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members.
  • Published material written by others about the alien and appearing either in professional or major trade publications or other major media.
  • Service as the judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel.
  • Original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field.
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media.
  • Displays of the alien’s work at artistic exhibitions or showcases
  • Performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations;
  • High salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field;
  • Commercial successes in the performing arts (e.g., ticket or CD sales)

Outstanding Professors and Researchers (EB-1-2)

EB-1-2 Outstanding Professor or Researcher visas are similar to EB-1 visa but still have important distinctions. First, an applicant must show international recognition for outstanding achievements in a particular academic field. In addition, the alien must prove at least 3 years of experience in either teaching or research in the academic area for which he or she is seeking recognition. The applicant must also show that he or she is entering the United States in order to pursue a tenure-track teaching position (or a comparable research position) at either a university or an institution of higher education.

Beyond the above criteria, the applicant must also demonstrate at least 2 out of the 6 following criteria: 

  • Major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement.
  • Membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement.
  • Published material, written by others and appearing in professional publications, about the alien's work in the academic field.
  • Participation, either on a panel or as an individual, as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied academic field.
  • Original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field.
  • Authorship of scholarly books or articles in the field appearing in scholarly journals with international circulation. 

Multinational Managers or Executives (EB-1-3) 

For EB-1-3 Multinational Manager or Executive visas, an applicant must demonstrate that he or she has been employed outside the United States in the three years preceding the petition for at least 1 year by a firm or corporation and that he is seeking to enter the United States to continue service to that firm or organization. Such employment outside the United States must have been in a managerial or executive capacity and with the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the employer. Moreover, the employer must have been doing business for at least 1 year, as an affiliate, a subsidiary, or as the same corporation or other legal entity that employed the alien abroad.  The related immigration regulations provide detailed definitions of the terms “affiliates,” “doing business,” “executive capacity,” and “managerial capacity,” all of which are critical in determining whether an applicant will qualify for an EB-1-3 visa.

Advantages to the EB-1 Category

Because the EB-1 category is considered the highest priority, individuals who qualify for EB-1 visas enjoy certain advantages over other, lower preference categories.  EB-1-1 Extraordinary Ability visa applicants are permitted to apply for themselves – they do not require a sponsoring employer. EB-1-2 Outstanding Researcher or Professor and EB-1-3 Multinational Managers or Executives applicants must have a sponsoring employer, but the employers do not have to complete the lengthy and complicated labor certification process. Finally, EB-1 visas are generally far more available; in the other, lower preference categories, applicants must often wait very long times for a visa number to become available.

For all EB-1 visa categories, the applicant, referred to as the principal beneficiary, may also include his or her spouse and children in the petition as derivative beneficiaries.