EB-1 Visas for Priority Workers

The EB-1 is an employment-based visa that allows individuals to establish permanent residency in the United States. Put another way, an EB-1 green card allows foreign nationals to live permanently in the U.S. and continue to work in their field. The visa is designed for “priority” workers who have an extraordinary ability, are outstanding professors or researchers, or are multinational executives or managers. An application for an EB-1 visa does not necessitate Labor Certification, which is a lengthy process required for many other types of visas.

Extraordinary Ability

Applicants who can showcase their extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim do not need to have a permanent offer of employment in the Unites States and are able to self-petition, but those individuals must intend to work in their field of expertise. If the individual seeking an EB-1 green card has an offer of employment from a U.S. employer, however, that employer can help with the EB-1 application by filing the initial petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Form I-140.

Outstanding Professors and Researchers

Outstanding professors and researchers must show international recognition for their achievements in their field and have at least three years of experience in teaching or research in that field. Individuals seeking an EB-1 green card in this category must be seeking entry into the U.S. to pursue tenure or tenure-track teaching or research at a university or other educational institution within the country.  The position must be a permanent position. Not all types of employers can utilize this type of category. Instead, the employer must be “qualified,” meaning either a university, an academic institution, or an institute of private research entity with at least three full-time researchers on staff. A private U.S. employer needs to demonstrate a strong reputation and history of making significant achievements in research.

Multinational Executives and Managers

Multinational executives and managers must have been employed by their sponsoring firm or corporation in a managerial role outside the United States for at least one year in the three years prior to applying for a green card. The U.S. company is required to show that it has been a parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch office of the company abroad. If the individual seeking an EB-1 green card is already in the U.S. on a temporary visa, it is possible to qualify based on having worked as an executive or manager at that business for one of the three years before arrival in the United States.  There are specific definitions of what constitutes an “executive” or a “manager,” which must be met in order to qualify for an EB-1 green card.

Like other green card routes, when a person obtains EB-1 status, his or her spouse and children may join the EB-1 green card holder in the United States. To qualify as dependents, children must be unmarried and under the age of 21. Spouses and dependent children also may be able to apply for adjustment of status to be able to obtain employment authorization.