What are EB-1 visas?

EB-1 visas allow individuals with extraordinary ability in their field of expertise, outstanding professors and researchers, and certain multinational managers or executives to permanently come to the United States for employment. There are three types of EB-1 visa: EB-1A, EB-1B, and EB-1C. The EB-1A visa is available for persons of extraordinary ability in their field of expertise. The EB-1B visa is available for outstanding professors and researchers. And, the EB-1C visa is available for certain multinational managers or executives.

What are the differences between the EB-1A, EB-1B, and EB-1C visas?

EB-1 visas are all available for permanent employment-based workers. However, all EB-1 visas are applicable to different types of workers.

  • EB-1A
    The EB-1A visa is available for workers with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. An EB-1A visa holder’s extraordinary ability must be the subject of sustained national or international acclaim and his or her achievements must be recognized in his or her field through extensive documentation.
  • EB-1B
    The EB-1B visa is available for professors and researchers who demonstrate international recognition for outstanding achievements in a particular academic field and have at least three years of experience in teaching or researching within that field.
  • EB-1C
    The EB-1C visa is available for managerial or executive workers who work for a United States firm or corporation outside of the United States and seek to enter the United States to continue work for the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the employer.

Who qualifies for each type of EB-1 visa?

  • EB-1A

    To qualify for an EB-1A visa, an applicant must show evidence of his or her extraordinary ability and expertise in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. An EB-1A visa applicant does not need an offer of employment to qualify. However, an applicant must prove that he or she is coming to the United States to continue work in his or her area of expertise.
    How to Prove EB-1A Qualifications
    EB-1A visa applicants may prove their qualifications by presenting evidence of a major, internationally-recognized one-time achievement or award, such as a Pulitzer, Oscar, or Olympic Medal.Alternatively, EB-1A visa applicants must meet at least 3 of the 10 following criteria in order to prove their sustained national or international acclaim and recognition in their field of expertise:

    • Evidence of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence;
    • Evidence of published material about the applicant in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
    • Evidence of the applicant’s original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field;
    • Evidence that the applicant has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases;
    • Evidence of the applicant’s performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations;
    • Evidence of the applicant’s commercial successes in the performing arts;
    • Evidence of the applicant’s membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members;
    • Evidence that the applicant has been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel;
    • Evidence of the applicant’s authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
    • Evidence of the applicant’s performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
    • Evidence that the applicant commands a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field.
  • EB-1B
    To qualify for an EB-1B visa, an applicant must show evidence of his or her outstanding achievements in a particular academic field. An EB-1B applicant must have at least three years of experience in teaching or researching in his or her respective field. An applicant must be seeking to enter the United States to pursue tenure, a tenure track teaching, or comparable research position at a university or other higher education institution. Before applying for an EB-1B visa, an EB-1B applicant must also have a job offer from a university, higher education institution, or a department, division or institute of a private employer.
    How to Prove EB-1B Qualifications
    EB-1B applicants must be able to prove that they are an outstanding professor or researcher. To do so, applicants must meet at least 2 of 6 criteria below:
  • Evidence of the applicant’s membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement;
  • Evidence of the applicant’s published material in professional publications written by others about the alien’s work in the academic field;
  • Evidence of the applicant’s original scientific or scholarly research contributions in his or her academic field;
  • Evidence of the applicant’s receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement;
  • Evidence of the applicant’s participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field;
  • Evidence of the applicant’s authorship of scholarly books or articles in scholarly journals with international circulation in the field
  • EB-1C

    To qualify for an EB-1C visa, an applicant must show evidence of his or her managerial or executive capacity. A qualifying manager or executive must have worked for a firm or corporation outside the United States for at least one year during the three years before submitting his or her application. An EB-1C applicant must desire to enter the United States in order to continue working for that same firm or corporation, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the employer.

    The employer the EB-1C applicant works for must also be a United States employer and the employer must also have been doing business for at least one year as an affiliate, a subsidiary, or as the same corporation or other legal entity that employed the applicant abroad.

What is the process for obtaining an EB-1 visa?

The application process for all types of EB-1 visas is substantially similar. Generally, the application process is led by the applicant’s employer. However, EB-1A visa applicants may uniquely apply on their own because EB-1A visa applicants are not required to have an employer to enter the United States. EB-1A visa applicants may also be eligible to apply for permanent resident status by filing Form I-485, which is the application to register as a permanent resident or to adjust status.

All EB-1 applicants must complete and sign Form I-140 according to the form’s instructions. The form is submitted with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). After completing and signing the form, it must be submitted with the applicable filing fee and documentary evidence showing the applicant meets the qualifications for the EB-1A, EB-1B, or EB-1C visa.

Premium Processing

Premium process is available for EB-1A and EB-1B visa applicants. This will expedite the process by which the visa application is reviewed and approved for an additional fee.

Applicants Already Inside the United States

EB-1 visa applicants already in the United States at the time they apply must file Form I-485 to change their visa status along with Form I-140.

Applicants Outside the United States

EB-1 applicants who are outside of the United States must also submit the online Form DS-261 application. These applicants must also schedule an interview with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate near them. At their interview, applicants will be required to have their biometrics taken and will be asked questions about the applicant’s background, experience, and interest in coming to the United States permanently. Applicants must bring the following items to their interview:

  • Copy of printed Form DS-261;
  • Copy of Form I-140;
  • A valid passport;
  • A photo conforming to the United States Department of State’s photo requirements;
  • Evidentiary documents proving the applicant’s qualifications;
  • Approved PERM Labor Certification;
  • The applicant’s CV or resume;
  • An affidavit of support from the applicant’s employer

How much does it cost to get an EB-1 visa?

  • The Form I-140 filing fee is $700.
  • The Form I-485 filing fee is $750-$1,450, dependent on the applicant’s age.
  • The biometrics fee for overseas applicants is $85.
  • The Form DS-261 filing fee for overseas applicants is $445.
  • The affidavit of support for overseas applicants is $88.
  • The premium processing fee (available for EB-1A & EB-1B visas) is $1,440.

Family of EB-1 visa holders

The spouse or unmarried children under 21 years of age may accompany the EB-1 visa holder in the United States. The family member(s) must apply to accompany the visa holder in the United States at the same time or after the EB-1 visa holder applies.

How long are EB-1 visas valid?

All EB-1 visas are valid for 10 years, at which time EB-1 visa holders may apply to renew their EB-1 visa.