EB1 Visa for Priority Workers
You may be eligible for an Employment-Based Immigration First Preference [EB1] visa if you are a priority worker. In general, this visa category is reserved for highly capable people.
So, who can be a priority worker? A priority worker is a worker who 1) has extraordinary ability in the fields of science, art, education, business, or athletics; 2) is an outstanding university professor or researcher; or 3) is an executive or manager of a multinational company being transferred to a job in the US. These three categories are discussed in detail below.
What are the EB1 Visa Categories?
1. Alien of extraordinary ability - EB1A
As an alien of extraordinary ability, you must have attained recognition and achievements in your field of expertise. No offer of employment or labor certification is required for this category. This designation applies to various professional fields, ranging from arts and business to athletics and education. To prove recognition, you can show a one-time major international recognized award that speaks for itself such as the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer, Oscar, Olympic Medal; or you must meet at least 3 out of the 10 following criteria:
- Evidence of receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
- Evidence of your membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members
- Evidence of published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media|
- Evidence that you have been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel
- Evidence of your original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field
- Evidence of your authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media
- Evidence that your work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases
- Evidence of your performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
- Evidence that you command a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field
- Evidence of your commercial successes in the performing arts
2. Outstanding professors and researchers - EB1B
For this category, you must demonstrate international recognition and/or outstanding achievements in your particular academic field of expertise; have at least 3 years of experience in teaching or researching in the scientific or other scholarly/academic fields; have an offer of employment from a qualified US employer (university, institution of higher education, or a private employer that employs at least 3 full-time researchers) in a job position that shows tenure track teaching, or a comparable research position. In addition, you must also meet at least 2 of the following 6 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
- Evidence of authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field
An offer of employment is needed for this category but no labor certification is required.
3. Multinational manager or executive - EB1C
For this category, you must have been employed abroad in a managerial or executive capacity for at least 1 year in the 3 years preceding the petition or the most recent lawful nonimmigrant admission if already working for the US petitioning employer. The US petitioner/employer must have been doing business in the US for at least 1 year; have a qualifying relationship (parent, subsidiary, or affiliate) to the entity you worked for outside the U.S.; and intend to employ you in a managerial or executive capacity.
This category requires a US employer to sponsor you, but there is no labor certification required for this category.
Comparison of the Categories
To further differentiate between the 3 EB1 visa categories, we would say that in general, an EB1A requires a higher standard of achievement and ability than an EB1B. An EB1A designation applies to various professional fields, ranging from the arts and business to athletics and education, while an EB1B designation applies to scientific or other scholarly fields.
The EB1C is an avenue for multinational managers or executives who do not need to demonstrate international recognition and/or outstanding achievements, only foreign qualified employment of one year in the previous three years before entry into the US by the parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of the US Employer.
What is the EB1 application process for priority workers?
EB1A Alien of Extraordinary Ability: You may self-petition by filing a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker with USCIS. This is a convenient avenue because you do not need an US Employer willing to sponsor you.
EB1B Outstanding Professors and Researchers: Your U.S. employer must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker with USCIS on your behalf.
EB1C Multinational Manager or Executive: Your U.S. employer must file Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker with USCIS on your behalf.
USCIS processing times vary depending on the EB1 visa subcategory you are filing for. According to the USCIS website, currently average regular processing time for an EB1 visa can take anywhere from:
- 3.5 Months to 15 Months for Alien of Extraordinary ability
- 2 Weeks to 7.5 Months for Outstanding professor or researcher
- 8 Months to 22.5 Months for Multinational executive or manager
To expedite the process, you can file the I-140 petition under Premium Processing for the alien of extraordinary ability and outstanding professor or researcher categories. To file Premium Processing you must use the Form I-907 and pay the additional $2,500 fees to the USCIS. Under Premium Processing, USCIS has to adjudicate the petition in 15 days. Note that if USCIS sends a Request for Evidence asking for additional documentation, the clock stops until you submit the requested information/documents.
At the I-140 stage you will list your dependents (your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21) on your petition. When the I-140 petition is approved, you can file dependent visa(s) for your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21.
What are the advantages of the EB1 Visa?
Qualifying for an EB1 visa can certainly be more difficult and require above-average qualifications, but the benefits that come with it are well worth it. Here is a list of the main advantages you will receive while in an EB1 immigrant visa status:
- Decreased waiting times for priority dates
- Ability to live and work in the U.S.
- Ability to travel in or out of the U.S.
- Option to apply for dependent visas for your spouse or unmarried children
- Ability to file for Adjustment of Status (AOS) with path to citizenship in the US
As listed above, one huge advantage for the EB1 visa for Priority Workers is the decreased waiting time for a priority date. Currently (as per the visa bulletin for September 2021) the EB1 priority date is current, meaning that you can concurrently file your AOS at the same time as the I-140 petition, regardless of the beneficiary’s country of nationality. At the time the AOS application is filed, you can also file for the Employment Authorization Card (EAD) and Advance Parole (AP) which will allow you to work in the US and return to US after foreign travel while the AOS petition is pending adjudication with USCIS. When filing for AOS, you can also file for your dependents AOS.
All the 3 EB1 visa subcategories for Priority Workers provide a faster alternative to the more traditional employment based-green card process which requires a labor certification (PERM) to be filed with the Department of Labor. By bypassing the PERM, the process is significantly shorter and much faster.
While the benefits are many, EB1 petitions also tend to come with a higher level of scrutiny from USCIS, so consulting with an immigration attorney experienced in handling EB1 cases will highly increase the approval rate of your EB1 visa petition. Our law firm is well versed in filling EB1 visa petitions and can assist you in filing your EB1 visa petition.
My name is Michael Ashoori and I'm a U.S. immigration lawyer and the founder of Ashoori Law. As an immigration lawyer, I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States. If you have any questions, feel free to schedule a free consultation by clicking this link.
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Michael Ashoori, Esq.
President of Ashoori Law
I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer and I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.
Since starting my law firm, I’ve helped hundreds of people from all over the world with their immigration needs. I’m very passionate, hard-working, and committed to my clients.
Got a question? Send me an email.