EB-1 Employment Based Green Card Options

EB-1 First Preference Employment Green Cards

There are several options available for people interested in obtaining a green card through employment, spread among four different preference categories, in addition to a fifth for investors (EB-5). The EB-1 First Preference category is available for foreign nationals who either have an extraordinary ability (EB-1A), are an outstanding professor or researcher (EB-1B), or are a multinational executive or manager (EB-1C).

One of the many benefits to all green cards offered under this preference category is that Labor Certification is not required. This means that the labor market where you would like to live and work does not need to be tested, saving you and your potential employer a lot of headaches and frustration.

Please note that the below is a broad overview of the green cards found in the First Preference Employment category. As each case is unique, we encourage you to contact one of our attorneys for a free no-obligation assessment of your particular circumstances.

EB-1A Extraordinary Ability Green Card

The EB-1A (or EB-1-1) Extraordinary Ability Green Card is the highest classification for foreign nationals looking to emigrate to the United States. To be eligible, you must be considered to be part of the small percentage of individuals who have risen to the very top of their field of endeavor. Foreign nationals who obtain these green cards are often seen as the “cream of the crop” in their respective fields.

To qualify, you must satisfy the following three requirements:

  • You must possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics as demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim, and your achievements must have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation (see below); and
  • You seek entry in the US to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability; and
  • Your entry into the US will substantially benefit the United States.

Proving Extraordinary Ability

Extraordinary ability in the field is proven by submitting evidence of a one-time achievement (e.g., Pulitzer, Oscar, Olympic Medal, Grammy, Olivier, BAFTA, Nobel, etc.). If that is not possible, then it can be proven by submitting evidence of at least three of the following:

  • Receipt of 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.
  • You have been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel.
  • Your original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field.
  • Your authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media.
  • Your work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases.
  • Your performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations.
  • You command a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field.
  • Your commercial successes in the performing arts.

It’s important to note that merely meeting being able to document three of the above prongs does not mean that you are guaranteed a green card. Careful analysis of the probative weight of the evidence provided is therefore required and essential to determining eligibility for this green card category. If our firm is retained, we will direct the gathering of evidence and review it under the Kazarian two-part analysis.

Additional Notes on the EB-1A

  1. EB-1A does not require employer sponsorship, which means you may self-petition.
  2. The initial application can be filed via Premium Processing. For an additional fee, USCIS will make a decision on the case (either an approval, a Request for Evidence, or a denial) within 15 calendar days. If additional evidence is requested, a final decision will be made within 15 days of filing the evidence.

EB-1B Outstanding Professors and Researchers Green Card

The EB-1B (or EB-1-2) Outstanding Professors and Researchers Green Card is available for foreign nationals who stand apart in the academic community through eminence and distinction based on international recognition.

To qualify, you must have 3 years’ experience in teaching or research in a particular academic area. Please note that experience in teaching or research while working on and advanced degree may be counted if the degree was eventually acquired, and you had full responsibility for the class taught OR the research has been recognized as outstanding in the academic field.

Unlike the EB-1A, this green card requires a job offer for a permanent teaching or research position, such as one of the following roles:

  • a tenure (or tenure track) teaching position within a university or institution of higher education;
  • a comparable position at university or institute of higher education to conduct research; or
  • a comparable position to conduct research with a private employer if it employs at least 3 (three) full-time researchers and the departmental, division or institution has achieved documented accomplishments in an academic field.

Proving International Recognition of Outstanding Achievements in a Particular Academic Field

In order to prove international recognition for outstanding achievements in a particular academic field, you must submit documentation of at least two of the following:

  • Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement.
  • Membership in an association which requires outstanding achievement.
  • Published material in professional publications written by others about your work.
  • Evidence of your participation as a judge of the work of others.
  • Evidence of original scientific research.
  • Authorship of scholarly books or articles in the field.

USCIS will recognize comparable evidence where the above standards do not readily apply. Again, it’s important to note that merely meeting being able to document three of the above prongs does not mean that you are guaranteed a green card. Careful analysis of the probative weight of the evidence provided is therefore required and essential to determining eligibility for this green card category. If our firm is retained, we will direct the gathering of evidence and review it under the Kazarian two-part analysis.

Additional Notes on the EB-1B

  1. The petition must be filed by a US employer and must include a job offer letter as well as evidence that the employer has the ability to pay the offered wage.
  2. Research does not include engineering or product design because such activity is the “technological application of existing research.”
  3. The initial petition can be filed via Premium Processing. For an additional fee, USCIS will make a decision on the case (either an approval, a Request for Evidence, or a denial) within 15 calendar days. If additional evidence is requested, a final decision will be made within 15 days of filing the evidence.

EB-1C Multinational Manager or Executive Green Card

The EB-1C (or EB-1-3) Multinational Manager or ExecutiveGreen Card is available for foreign nationals who have worked abroad for a qualifying company in a managerial or executive capacity and will be coming to the United States to work for a US company in a similar capacity. The basic requirements are as follows:

  • You have been employed abroad for one year in the last 3 (three) years preceding the application by a “firm or corporation or other legal entity or an affiliate or subsidiary thereof.”
    • If you are currently in the US working for the same US employer, then this 3-year period is the time preceding your initial entry into the US.
  • You must be sponsored by a US employer who has been doing business in the US for at least 1 (one) year.
  • The US employer must be an affiliate, a subsidiary, or the same corporation or other legal entity that employed you abroad.

For purposes of both the role abroad and the proposed role in the United States, below are the definitions of managerial and executive:

A managerial role is defined as an assignment within an organization in which the employee primarily:

  • Manages the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization;
  • Supervises and controls the work of other supervisory, professional, or managerial employees, or manages an essential function within the organization;
  • Has the authority to hire and fire or recommend those as well as other personnel actions, or if no other employee is directly supervised, functions at a senior level within the organizational hierarchy; and
  • Exercises discretion over the day-to-day operations of the activity or function for which the employee has authority.

An executive role is defined as an assignment within an organization in which the employee primarily:

  • Directs the management of the organization or a major component or function of the organization;
  • Establishes the goals and policies of the organization, component, or function;
  • Exercises wide latitude in discretionary decision-making; and
  • Receives only general supervision or direction from higher level executives, the board of directors, or stockholders of the organization.

Additional Notes on the EB-1C

  1. The petition must be filed by a US employer and must include a job offer letter as well as evidence that the employer has the ability to pay the offered wage.
  2. The initial petition cannot be filed via Premium Processing. As of August 2019, USCIS is reporting average processing times of around 6-11 months.