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EB1A Visa vs. EB1B Visa

What are the EB1A and EB1B Visas? 

The EB1A and EB1B visas are both employment-based immigration visas that allow individuals to come to the United States permanently for the purpose of employment. The EB1A and EB1B visas are not interchangeable, however.

Each visa comes with its own eligibility criteria for different types of workers. Both visas allow eligible individuals to live and work in the United States as Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), otherwise known as Green Card holders. 

This permanent status allows EB1A or B visa holders to remain in the United States without having to seek visa extensions, except for every 10 years when the EB1A or B Green Card must be renewed by the visa holder. 

Unlike other visas, neither the EB1A nor EB1B visas require visa applicants to receive and submit a permanent labor certification from the United States Department of Labor as part of the application process.

Other than their similarities, the EB1A and EB1B visas have some key differences that applicants must know before submitting a petition. This article examines those differences in greater detail below. 

How are the EB1A and EB1B Visas Different? 

There are a few key differences between the EB1A and EB1B visas that applicants must know before submitting a petition:

Specific Career and Field of Expertise

First and foremost, each visa is available to workers in certain careers.

The EB1A visa is specifically available to individuals with extraordinary ability and expertise in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.

On the other hand, the EB1B visa is specifically available to professors and researchers who have demonstrated international recognition for outstanding achievements in a particular academic field and have at least three years of experience in teaching or research.

Offer of Employment

A chief difference between the EB1A and EB1B visas is that EB1A applicants may self-petition for the visa by filing Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker without first obtaining an offer of employment from an employer in the United States.

EB1B applicants, however, must have their employer or prospective employer file Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker along with the offer of employment on the EB1B applicant’s behalf. The employer or prospective employer must be able to prove they have the ability to pay the wage they offered to the EB1B applicant. This can be done using a federal income tax return, audited financial statements, or an annual report. 

Different Eligibility Criteria

The EB1A and EB1B visas each have different and particular eligibility criteria that applicants must be able to demonstrate through evidence in order to be issued a visa. 

Generally, EB1A visa applicants must be able to demonstrate their extraordinary ability by presenting evidence of sustained national or international acclaim. 

EB1B visa applicants must be able to demonstrate their outstanding achievements in a particular academic field by presenting evidence of sustained international recognition of their achievements. Additionally, EB1B applicants must have at least three years of experience in teaching or research in their academic field and must be entering the United States in order to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching at a university, institution of higher education, or a private employer. 

EB1A Evidence of Eligibility 

In order to prove an applicant has an extraordinary ability in the fields of science, arts, education, business, or athletics, he or she must demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for achievements in their field of expertise.

They must do so by providing evidence of:

  • Receipt of a one-time major, internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize; or
  • At least three of the following forms of documentation:
    • Documentation of the applicant’s receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
    • Documentation of the applicant’s membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields;
    • Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the applicant, relating to the applicant’s work in the field for which classification is sought, which shall include the title, date, and author of such published material, and any necessary translation;
    • Evidence of the applicant’s participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in an allied field of specialization to that for which classification is sought;
    • Evidence of the applicant’s original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
    • Evidence of the applicant’s authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional journals, or other major media;
    • Evidence that the applicant’s work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases; 
    • Evidence that the applicant has been employed in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation;
    • Evidence that the applicant has either commanded a high salary or will command a high salary or other remuneration for services, evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence;
    • Evidence of the applicant’s commercial success in the performing arts;
  • If the above criteria do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish the beneficiary’s eligibility. 8 CFR 214.2(o)(3)(iii)(A)(B) 

After an applicant submits evidence to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the USCIS will evaluate the documentation to determine whether it proves that the applicant has risen to the top of his or her field of expertise.

The strength of the evidence will be determined by the USCIS by comparing the applicant’s evidence of extraordinary ability with others in the field who have demonstrated extraordinary ability. Extraordinary ability is not determined by comparing the applicant to the general population. Instead, the USCIS will compare it to the applicant’s peers in his or her field of expertise. 

EB1B Evidence of Eligibility

In order to prove an applicant has outstanding achievements in a particular academic field, he or she must demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for achievements in their academic field.

EB1B applicants must be able to prove that they are an outstanding professor or researcher by submitting to the USCIS 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. 

Upon receipt of evidence, the USCIS will evaluate the proffered documentation to determine whether it proves that the applicant is an outstanding professor or researcher.

The strength of the evidence will be determined by the USCIS by comparing the applicant’s evidence of outstanding achievement and international recognition with others in the field who have outstanding achievements and international recognition in their own right.

International recognition and outstanding achievement is not determined by merely comparing the applicant to the general population, but to the applicant’s peers in his or her academic field. 

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Sweta Khandelwal

Sweta completed her Masters in Law from the University of California, Los Angeles and her JD from the Faculty of Law, Delhi University in India and has been practicing law for 15+ years getting visas, green cards, and citizenship for 1000+ clients, 100+ companies across 50+ nationalities.

Sweta has been recognized as a ” Super Lawyer, Rising Star,” and as amongst the ” Top 40 under 40″ immigration attorneys in California (American Society of Legal Advocates). She is also the recipient of the Advocacy Award by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Sweta is also a chartered accountant — the equivalent of a CPA. This makes her uniquely positioned to understand the immigration needs of her business clients in the broader context of their corporate objectives.

Sweta is actively involved with immigration issues and immigrant communities in various capacities. She has assumed key roles at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), both at the local and national level. She has been a past chair at the Santa Clara Valley Chapter at AILA and has also been involved in various practice area committees at AILA National. Sweta has addressed multiple conferences/forums in the United States and worldwide on immigration and business issues.

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