The first preference category, EB-1, represents foreign workers who have been identified as being the highest priority for employment-based immigration. The EB-1 category is further divided into three subcategories: 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 have risen to the very top of their field. At a minimum, the individual must show that she has received a major one-time achievement (e.g., the Nobel Prize) or, in the alternative, at least 3 out of 10 of the following criteria:
- Evidence receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence;
- Evidence of membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members;
- Evidence of published material about the alien in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
- Evidence of service as the judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel;
- 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 or major trade publications or other major media;
- Evidence that the alien’s work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases
- Evidence of the alien’s performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations;
- Evidence that the alien commands a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field; or
- Evidence of the alien’s commercial successes in the performing arts.
Outstanding Professors and Researchers (EB-1-2)
Outstanding professors must show international recognition for outstanding achievements in a particular academic field. First, the alien must demonstrate at least 3 years of experience in either teaching or research in the academic area for which he is seeking recognition. Second, the alien must prove that he is entering the United States in order to pursue a tenure- or tenure-track teaching position, or a comparable research position, at either a university or an institution of higher education. Finally, the alien must show at least 2 out of the 6 following criteria:
- 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; or
- Evidence of authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field.
Multinational Managers or Executives (EB-1-3)
Under this category, the alien must demonstrate that he has been employed outside the United States in the 3 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. The 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. Finally, the regulations further provide detailed definitions of the terms “affiliates,” “doing business,” “executive capacity,” and “managerial capacity,” all of which are critical in preparing an EB-1-3 petition.
Advantages to the EB-1 Category
Individuals who qualify for EB-1 visas enjoy certain advantages over other, lower preference categories. First, aliens who are seeking an EB-1-1 Extraordinary Ability visa may petition for themselves – they do not require employer sponsorship. Outstanding Researcher or Professor (EB-1-2) and Multinational Managers or Executives (EB-1-3) aliens must have an employer sponsor, but do not have to complete the labor certification process. For all EB-1 visa categories, the alien beneficiary may also include her spouse and children in the petition.
For highly successful individuals with proven track records, the EB-1 category can provide numerous advantages to an individual seeking citizenship in the United States. The requirements of these categories, however, are highly detailed and fact-specific. Moreover, because many of the category requirements are broad, USCIS officers must make subjective decisions based on their opinion of the evidence that is submitted. If you are interested in pursuing an EB-1 visa, it is strongly advised to seek counsel from an immigration attorney experienced in handling these petitions. If you have any questions about EB-1 visas or the employment-based immigration process in general, we at Donati Law would be honored to assist you.