EB-1 Classification for Persons with Extraordinary Abilities

The EB-1 visa program is an employment-based (EB) option open to individuals within three specific groups of immigrants. According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, “You may be eligible for an employment-based, first-preference visa if you are an alien of extraordinary ability, are an outstanding professor or researcher, or are a certain multinational executive or manager.”

While individuals from within all three occupational categories can petition under the broader EB-1 program, each category has its own unique requirements, creating the following visa options:

  • EB-1A – Aliens of Extraordinary Ability
  • EB-1B – Outstanding Professors and Researchers
  • EB-1C – Certain Multinational Managers or Executives

Each category has strict, specific requirements, which we explore below.

The EB-1A Visa: Qualifications for an Alien of Extraordinary Ability

To obtain an EB-1A visa, the applicant must show that they are an Alien of Extraordinary Ability. There is no need for an offer of employment to immigrate to the United States for those who qualify for this status. The processing time for these applications tends to be short because petitioners can directly file the I-140 petitions without PERM filing.

The applicant must demonstrate that they have an extraordinary ability through continued acclaim in their nation in athletics, business, education, the arts, or the sciences. There must be a substantial amount of documentation showing the applicant is recognized in their field. This classification is difficult to receive, as there are so few people that fall into this category.

Some of the options of evidence that would qualify include winning a Pulitzer Prize, receiving an Olympic medal, or winning an Oscar. Those who lack major awards that would count as evidence could also meet three of the Extraordinary Ability green card criteria that follow:

  • Evidence of membership in associations in the field that require their members to have outstanding achievements
  • Evidence of receiving national or international prizes that are lesser known than those mentioned above
  • Evidence of being the author of scholarly articles that were published in professional or large trade magazines, or that were published in other major media
  • Evidence of being asked to judge the work of others – this could be as part of a panel or individually
  • Evidence that shows published material about them that were in major media, professional publications, or major trade publications
  • Evidence of original and major business, athletic, artistic, scholarly, or scientific contributions related to the field
  • Evidence of work being shown in artistic exhibitions
  • Evidence that the applicant can command a high salary when compared with others in the same field
  • Evidence the applicant was a leader or played a critical role in renowned organizations
  • Evidence of commercial success in the performing arts field

The EB-1B Visa: Outstanding Researcher or Outstanding Professor Requirements

It is possible to apply for an EB-1 visa as an Outstanding Researcher or Outstanding Professor. To qualify for an Outstanding Researcher or Outstanding Professor visa, the applicant must be internationally recognized in an academic field and have at least three years of experience teaching or researching in that field. They must want to enter the United States for a tenure or tenure-track teaching or researching position. The person must also have a job offer from an employer in the United States and meet at least two of the following criteria.

  • Evidence showing that the applicant received major prizes or awards showing outstanding achievement
  • Evidence of published material in professional publications written about the applicant’s work in their academic field
  • Evidence of judging others’ work in the same academic field as part of a panel or an individual
  • Evidence of being a member of an organization or association that requires members to have outstanding achievements
  • Evidence showing the applicant’s original scholarly or scientific research contributions in their field
  • Evidence of authoring scholarly articles or scholarly books in their field

The EB-1C Visa: Multinational Executive or Manager Requirements

To qualify for an EB-1 visa as a manager or executive, the applicant must meet all of the following requirements:

  • The party that petitions must be a US employer
  • The employer must have been doing business for at least a year as the same corporation, an affiliate, or a subsidiary or other legal entity that employed the applicant abroad
  • The applicant must enter the US to continue working for that organization
  • The applicant must have been employed by the foreign company outside of the US for at least one of the three years before they applied for the EB-1
  • The applicant’s employment outside of the United States needs to have been as an executive or manager with the same employer or a subsidiary or affiliate of the employer.

It is important to note that all of these requirements must be met for managers and executives.