Individuals who qualify for an EB-1 visa (referred to as the “Employment First Preference” category) must fall into 1 of 3 subcategories: (a) Individuals Demonstrating Extraordinary Ability; (b) Outstanding Professors and Researchers; or (c) International Executives and Managers. The requirements for each subcategory are outlined below. Applicants in all 3 subcategories may apply for permanent residency without going through the labor certification (PERM) process.
Individuals Demonstrating Extraordinary Ability: EB-1(a)
To qualify for an EB-1(a) visa, the applicant must demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. The foreign national must be one of a few others who have reached the top of their field and his or her achievements must be recognized through extensive documentation. Unlike other employment-based visas, no offer of employment is required for the EB-1(a).
Evidence in support of an EB-1(a) application can include either the receipt of an internationally acclaimed award like the Nobel Prize, or documentation in 3 of the following areas:
• Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence;
• Membership in associations in the field that demand outstanding achievement of their members, as judged by national or international experts;
• Published material about the foreign national in professional or major trade publications;
• Evidence of the foreign national’s original contributions of major significance to the field;
• Authorship of scholarly articles;
• Evidence the foreign national has performed in a leading or critical role for organizations that have a distinguished reputation;
• Evidence that the foreign national commands a high salary in relation to others in the field; or
• Evidence of commercial success in the performing arts.
The EB-1(a) applicant must submit clear evidence that the applicant is coming to the U.S. to continue work in his or her area of expertise. Evidence can include pre-arranged commitments such as contracts or letters from prospective employers or a statement from the applicant detailing plans on how he or she intends to continue his or her work in the U.S.
Outstanding Professors and Researchers: EB-1(b)
To qualify for an EB-1(b) visa, the applicant must demonstrate that he or she is recognized internationally as outstanding in a specific academic field; has at least 3 years of experience in teaching or research in that field; or has received an offer of a tenured or tenure-track teaching or research position at a university or comparable research position with a private employer if the employer has at least 3 full-time researchers and documented accomplishments in the research field.
The petitioning employer must submit at least 2 of the following forms of evidence:
• Documentation of major awards or prizes received;
• Documentation of the applicant’s membership in associations in the academic field;
• Published material in professional publications;
• Evidence of the applicant’s participation as the judge of the work of others in the same or similar field;
• Evidence of the applicant’s original scientific or scholarly research contributions to the academic field; or
• Evidence of books or articles in scholarly journals with international circulation authored by the applicant.
International Executives and Managers: EB-1(c)
To qualify for an EB-1(c) visa, an applicant must receive an offer of employment from a U.S. organization that is the parent, subsidiary, affiliate, branch, or joint venture of the previous employer abroad.
The foreign national must have been employed in a managerial or executive capacity for at least one continuous year in the preceding 3 years by the overseas entity of the U.S. organization and demonstrate that he or she is coming to the U.S. to work in a managerial or executive capacity.