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Employment Based Immigration: First Preference EB-1

Proven exceptional employees working for companies outside the U.S in different capacities either as an academia or in other fields of research, corporate executives in multiple spheres of management can now apply for employment based, first preference visa also known as EB-1 visa.



This visa category is another way of securing permanent residency in the U.S through a work-based route. Targeted to benefit top rated members of any company’s labor force of extraordinary ability in terms of workplace deliverables.

Related Article: EB-2 Visa

Related Article: EB-3 Visa

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Potential beneficiaries who can show distinctive abilities in fields of commerce, education, sciences, arts or sports by virtue of consistent recognition either locally or internationally do not need to get a permanent offer from companies in the U.S and stand eligible to work for top corporations in the United States in their recognized field of expertise.

The amount of EB-1 visa that has been issued at the United States foreign service post since 2014 has been on the increase.


eb-1 visa


Who Is Eligible For The EB-1 Visa Application?

This permanent resident visa category is usually issued to 3 class of people:

  • those shown to have exhibited distinctive abilities over time in fields of business, sciences, sports, arts or education. These abilities must have been consistently recognized either national or internationally and awards garnered in approved fields of operation documented overtime.


  • exceptional scholars, particularly those who are professors and researchers, must have international acclaim for their unique academic accomplishments in their chosen fields of endeavor. It is also paramount to have contributed in this field for a period not lesser than 3 years in which period they must have obtained a huge body of experience in teaching or research in that field of academia. In order to enter the U.S as a tenured lecturer with a track record of exceptionality or a researcher per excellence who can easily fill a position in a U.S university or the equivalent of an institution of higher learning.


receiving an award


  • those who have been working exceptionally as executives or at management levels in foreign companies designated for transfer to the United States. It is mandatory that they be actively employed from the last 3 years with at least 1 year work experience in the above capacity in the same company outside the U.S. Executives and managers looking to take advantage of the EB-1 visa should be working in the overseas division of a U.S company or a subsidiary before they can be considered under this statue for transfer of expertise.

EB-1 Visa Eligibility Under The Extraordinary Category

A green card EB1 Extraordinary ability application is directly tied to the work-based immigration visa first reserved category referred to as EB1A or EB1EA. Of all 3 categories under EB-1, self petition is only accepted in EB-1A. This means individuals under this category can petition a case by themselves without the need of a U.S employer acting as a petitioner or sponsor.


eb-1 visa petition


It is worth stressing that the EB-1A status category is guided by a very high legal standard that entails the petitioner showing evidence of achievement, usually in the form of a certification that translates to some level of international recognition in his/her field of expertise.

If the petitioner finds this challenging, then he/she is required to meet no less than 3 of the 10 regulatory criteria that proves the intended recipient has risen to the zenith of his/her profession both from a national or international standpoint.

Criteria For Awarding An EB-1 Visa

Awarding a EB-1A visa is a 2 part adjudication process, which requires certain laid out criteria to be met (at least 3 of of 10) after which a second part ensues which is a vetting period whereby documentation evidence submitted by the petitioner are analyzed to make sure that that bearer indeed meets the qualification standard set for experts who are beneficiaries of this category.


Eb-1 visa document vetting process


As has been highlighted previously, EB-1A visa green card application comes with a huge benefit for academics such as PhD students, post doctorate research fellows, researchers and other members classed as advanced degree professionals.

There are 10 criteria out of which 3 have to be met for a foreign national to be classed as one who has shown distinctive ability in his/her field of expertise. They are:

  • Certificate or memorabilia that shows collection of national or international honors in the form of trophies, prizes or an award of distinctive achievement
  • Membership of a group, sect or association whose criteria for entry is excellence, backed by remarkable achievements in one’s professional field


membership of a labor association


  • Trade or industry publications with the applicant’s profile highlighted, showing that he/she is at the pinnacle of your career
  • Documented evidence that shows you single handedly or as part of a collective, critiquing the body of work of subordinates in your chosen field of expertise
  • Evidence of part played in making a difference of significance in the applicant’s chosen field
  • Evidence of written scholarly papers in trade or professional publications of note




  • Proof that an applicant’s artistic body of work has been shown in a top art exhibition of some sort
  • Proof of a lead role used to make a difference in a distinguished organization, group or order
  • Proof of significantly high wages compared with those received by peers in the same field of expertise
  • Proof of reaching significant heights commercially in the performing arts

Benefits Accruing To An EB-1 Visa

There are key benefits tied in with applying for this visa as a foreign national: for starters you are not required to apply for labor certification as this process is automatically waived.

Also qualified applicants do not require an offer from companies in the U.S, this means no permanent job placement is necessary for foreign nationals with exceptional ability and finally getting a green card processed and issued is quicker than the EB-2 or EB-3 status categories.


U.S sponsor


Professors And Researchers Per Excellence Category

The EB1 outstanding professor or researcher status for immigrants classed in this visa category (EB1B, EB-1B, EB1-OR) is the first preferential immigration level for these work-based professionals. Made up of form I-140 and its accompanying documents, the EB-1B petition entails that foreign national who is the potential recipient meets the requirement stenciled out in the EB1 outstanding researcher/professor criteria.

A United States corporate entity looking to hire a researcher or professor who has proven himself/herself exceptional in their academic field of endeavor is required to file a petition by filling a form I-140. In this situation, the corporate entity can file this document on behalf of the potential employee.




In the case of the category EB1-OR petition, documentation showing the applicant’s exceptional ability should be submitted by the petitioner. A permanent employment offer letter has to be included amongst the documents to be submitted in addition to proof of 3 years teaching or research experience.

Criteria For Awarding An EB1 Outstanding Professor And Researcher Visa

Out of the 6 criteria to be met before an EB1 outstanding professor and researcher visa is awarded, documents backing at least 2 criteria has to be submitted together with a placement offer from the United States employer. All 6 criteria are:

  • Certificate or memorabilia that shows collection of national or international honors in the form of trophies, prizes or an award of distinctive achievement
  • Membership of a group, sect or association whose criteria for entry is excellence, backed by remarkable achievements in one’s professional field


association meeting


  • Trade or industry publications with the applicant’s profile highlighted, showing that he/she is at the pinnacle of your career
  • Documented evidence that shows you single handedly or as part of a collective, critiquing the body of work of subordinates in your chosen field of expertise
  • Proof of written scholarly papers in trade or professional publications of note
  • Proof of self-written books or articles in the applicant’s field contributing to academic journals of international acclaim

EB1 C Certain Multinational Manager Or Executive Visa Category

If a U.S employer decides to relocate a foreign national working outside the United States as a multinational executive or manager immigrant conferring on him/her EB1 visa status, a criterion of qualification must be put in place to guide the relationship between the alien employer and the United States employer.




In most cases, the U.S employer is normally the parent, an affiliate or in some instances a subsidiary of the legal foreign corporate entity, in so doing a relationship framework that qualifies the applicant is put in place.

Qualifying Attributes Of A U.S Employer Under The EB1C Visa Status

To exploit the benefit inherent under the EB1C status, a regulatory qualifying relationship, in which the foreign employer together with the U.S employer must be shown to be one and the same by the petitioner. In such a way that they can prove to be a subsidiary, parent company or affiliate of each other. Three vital points have to be taken to heart;

  • The employer petitioning must have its origin in the U.S, in essence should be a U.S employer
  • The employer must have been operating for a period no less than a year as a subsidiary, an affiliate or show ownership of the same corporation that employed the applicant from abroad.
  • The job position in which the foreign national is being recruited for must be a managerial or executive position.




The position in question could be one related to essential functionality of the organization, with the applicant not necessarily in charge of receiving copious amounts of direct reports. A U.S employer is allowed to file a form I-140 which is a petition responsible for classifying foreign nationals as multinational executive or manager. In this instance, no labor certification is required for direct categorization.

EB1C Employment Offer Declaration

It is a matter of urgency that the potential employer in the U.S make available an employment offer, put out like a statement showing that the EB1 beneficiary is being employed in a managerial or executive capacity in the United States. In the above-mentioned statement, duties to be performed must be spelt out for all to see.


job offer


EB1C Implication For Indian And Chinese Applicants

In the months between 2016 and 2017, the search for EB1C-India green card skyrocketed, this led to a loss of value of the EB1-India and EB1-China green cards. This invariably meant that both Chinese and Indian scientist had to wait longer to get issued green cards,  this also was irrespective of their qualifications.

How To Apply For An EB-1 Visa

One of the benefits of applying under the EB-1 status which is quite different from what’s obtainable in EB-2 and EB-3 is the fact that EB-1 doesn’t require the process of application for labor certification.

When filed within the United States and when the recipient is from a country location in which EB-1 numbers are updated, applicants can file their I-140 immigration petition together with an I-485 application, for status adjustment. Both can be done concurrently.


eb-1 visa application


Also 2 more applications in I-131 and I-765 have to be filed because their approval bestows on the applicant employment authorization documentation on a temporary basis, as well as advance parole travel permit which covers the period in which the petition and application are being processed.

Within this context, foreign nationals with extraordinary ability, covered under EB-1 section A, are not required to show that they have an employer domiciled in the United States, they must only proof that they intend to keep operating in their current field in which they have shown over time to have extraordinary ability.




However, it goes without saying that the other EB-1 potential beneficiaries, like multinational executives, managers and outstanding professors or researchers need to have their applications sponsored by interested employers in the United States

It must be stressed that getting issued a legal permanent residence as a legal immigrant of extraordinary ability is in itself a very daunting task. People with extraordinary ability are the smallest percentage of the labor force who have attained a level of expertise that the rest of the population aspire to reach.

They are at the very top of their field. Potential recipients of this status have to submit evidence that meets 3 out of 10 in the list of criteria to prove that they are worthy to be conferred with this status. When the I-140 petition is approved by the USCIS, the alien will be granted status adjustment, assuming no irregularities surfaces such as a criminal record.

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fuse chronicles


travel and tourism blogger

Chinedu Okoronkwo known fondly by friends as Fuse is a Father, biochemist, certified business administrator and entrepreneur specializing in supply chain management and logistics, with vast experience in founding and building businesses in this space. Having worked in an embassy for a number of years and with a passion for traveling, he started Fuse Chronicles, a platform that offers information on everything related to global travels and issues confronting cultural acclimatization around the globe. 


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