Foreign nationals may be eligible for an employment-based, first-preference visa if he or she is a (1) Noncitizen of extraordinary ability, (2) Outstanding professor or researcher, or (3) Certain multinational executive or manager. Each occupational category has certain requirements that must be met to establish eligibility.
Extraordinary Ability (EB-1A) Requirements
You must demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim to apply for an EB-1A visa. To demonstrate that you have sustained national or international acclaim and that your achievements have been recognized in your field of expertise, a foreign national must either include evidence of a one-time achievement (major internationally recognized award) or evidence of 3 of the 10 listed criteria (or comparable evidence if any of the criteria do not readily apply):
- Lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
- Membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members
- Published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media.
- Judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel, in your field
- 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
- Work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases.
- Performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
- Command a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field
- Commercial successes in the performing arts
Outstanding Professors and Researchers (EB-1B) Requirements
A U.S. employer, including a university institution of higher learning or private employer, may petition for a professor or researcher who is internationally recognized as outstanding in a specific academic area to work in a tenured or tenure-track position or a comparable position to conduct research. This EB-1B visa category requires an offer of employment from a US employer (sponsor). The private employer must show documented accomplishments and that it employs at least 3 full-time researchers.
The foreign national must demonstrate international recognition for his or her outstanding achievements in a particular academic field. The foreign national must have at least 3 years’ experience in teaching or research in that academic area and must be entering the United States to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or a comparable research position at a university, institution of higher education, or private employer.
To demonstrate that you are an outstanding professor or researcher, you must include evidence of 2 of the 6 listed criteria below (or comparable evidence if any of the criteria do not readily apply):
- 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 noncitizen’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
Certain Multinational Manager or Executive (EB-1C) Requirements
The foreign national applying for an EB-1C visa must have been employed outside the United States for at least 1 year in the 3 years preceding the petition or the most recent lawful nonimmigrant admission if he or she is already working for the U.S. petitioning employer. The U.S. petitioner must have been doing business for at least 1 year, have a qualifying relationship to the entity you worked for outside the U.S., and intend to employ the foreign national in a managerial or executive capacity.
All three of the above subcategories do not require the labor certification process, significantly reducing the overall processing time to obtain a US Green Card, or lawful permanent residency. The EB-1A category does not require a US company to sponsor the foreign national’s Green Card; the foreign national must, however, provide documentation establishing that he or she intends to continue to work in the field of endeavor upon immigrating to the United States. The EB-1B and EB-1C categories require a US company or organization to sponsor the foreign national.
How Much Evidence Must the Foreign National Produce?
Immigrant Petitions requesting EB-1 classification are reviewed under the “preponderance of the evidence” standard. This means that the foreign national and US company sponsor (if applicable) must prove that it is “more likely than not and probably true,” that the evidence shows the foreign national meets the standard governing each respective classification.
Please see, Matter of Chawathe, 25 I&N Dec. 369, 376 (AAO 2010) (“[T]ruth is to be determined not by the quantity of evidence alone but by its quality. Therefore, in adjudicating the application pursuant to the preponderance of the evidence standard, the director must examine each piece of evidence for relevance, probative value, and credibility, both individually and within the context of the totality of the evidence, to determine whether the fact to be proven is probably true”). See Kazarian v. USCIS, 596 F.3d 1115, 1122 (9th Cir. 2010). USCIS has interpreted Kazarian as applicable to outstanding professor and researcher petitions. See Evaluation of Evidence Submitted with Certain Form I-140 Petitions; Revisions the Adjudicator’s Field Manual (AFM) Chapter 22.2, AFM Update AD11-14, PM-602-0005.1, issued December 22, 2010.
EB-1 Application Process
- Extraordinary Ability: The foreign national may apply for himself or herself, as both the Petitioner and Beneficiary, by filing a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.
- Outstanding Professors and Researchers: The foreign national’s U.S. employer, the Petitioner, must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, on behalf of the foreign national, the Beneficiary. As part of the application process, the US employer must be able to demonstrate a continuing ability to pay the offered wage as of the priority date. The US employer may use an annual report, federal income tax return, or audited financial statement to demonstrate a continuing ability to pay the foreign national’s wage.
- Multinational Manager or Executive: The foreign national’s U.S. employer, the Petitioner, must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, on behalf of the foreign national, the Beneficiary. As part of the application process, the US employer must demonstrate a continuing ability to pay the offered wage as of the priority date. Your employer may use an annual report, federal income tax return, or audited financial statement to demonstrate a continuing ability to pay your wage.
Family of EB-1 Visa Holders
If Form I-140 petition is approved, the foreign national’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be eligible to apply for admission to the United States in E-14 or E-15 immigrant status, respectively. Read more about family-based permanent lawful residence here.