EB1 Visa US Employment Application Process

The EB-1A Visa, or the Extraordinary Ability green card, is part of the EB-1 employment-based set of permanent residency visas.

The EB1 visa is the first category in employment-based immigration visas. EB1 allows people with excellent academic or work achievements to immigrate to the US permanently.

The person who proves they have these achievements can live and work in the US afterward. They can obtain US documents such as a driver’s license, own property, continue their education, and get married and have children. After a certain point that they have held the EB1 visa without any problems, they can also apply for US citizenship.

Who Can Apply for the EB1 Visa

Based on the various achievements that people can have, the US government has divided the EB1 visa into three sub-categories:

  •  Outstanding professors and researchers who have received international recognition for their contributions to their fields:  The professors and researchers must have at least three years of experience in research or teaching, and they must prove that they are coming to the US to continue advancing their field in a research or teaching position in a university.
  • Multinational managers or executives who have worked for an international branch of a US company for at least one year in the past three years: They must be applying for an EB1 visa to continue working for that company, and their position in the US must match or be higher than the one they had in a foreign country.
  • People with extraordinary abilities in arts, science, education, athletics, and business: The achievements of these people must be extensive and internationally recognized, and they do not need an employment offer to apply for the EB1 visa.

How do I qualify for EB-1?            

The evidence submitted must meet at least 3 out of 10 criteria set by USCIS or provide proof of a truly exceptional single achievement.

  • You can demonstrate extraordinary ability in your field (sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics) through sustained national or international acclaim.
  • We have membership in one or more associations in the field that require outstanding achievement as a condition of membership.
  • Proof of published material about the beneficiary in professional or major trade publications or other media.
  • Evidence of having been invited to judge the work of others, whether as an individual or part of an expert panel.
  • Evidence of original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field.
  • Evidence of authorship of scholarly books or articles (in journals with international circulation) in the field.
  • Evidence of performance in a leading or critical role in respected organizations.
  • And possibly evidence of commanding a high salary (or other significantly high remuneration) compared to others in the field.
  • Published material in professional publications written by others about the beneficiary’s work in the academic field.
  • Original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field

EB1 Eligibility Criteria

Based on the three sub-categories of the EB1 visa, there are various requirements that applicants must meet.

Standard EB1 eligibility criteria

To qualify for the green card category, you must prove that you meet at least three of the criteria below:

  • Be a member of an association for their field which continuously asks for advancements from their members.
  • Have received a national or international prize/award for their achievements and excellence.
  • Contribution in your field in a scholarly, scientific, artistic, athletic, or business-related significant way.
  • Have your work featured in exhibitions or other showcases.
  • Evidence that you have performed a crucial role in a distinguished organization.
  • Have published papers or research in your field which has been recognized in journals or the media.
  • Receive a high salary, and you are expected to be paid significantly compared to others in your field.
  • Be the recipient of commercial success in performing arts.

EB1 Eligibility Criteria for Professors and Researchers

For the Professor or Researchers category, you must meet two of the criteria below and have an offer from a US employer.

  • Be the recipients of awards/prizes for your achievements.
  • Proof that others have written and published material about your work and achievements in your field.
  • Evidence that you were asked to evaluate the work of other people either as an individual or in a panel
  • Be an author of scholarly or scientific contributions in your field.
  • Have written and published articles or books in international trade journals in your field.

EB1 Eligibility Criteria for Multinational Managers

Finally, to qualify for the Multinational Manager or Executive EB1 visa, you must have a valid job offer from the company with a branch or subsidiary in the foreign country and be employed or worked with them.

How to Apply for the EB1 Visa?

Applications for the EB1 visas have multiple steps which involve both the employer and the foreign employee. The application process has these two parts:

  • The US employer obtains labor certification and files the necessary petitions
  • If approved, the foreign employee then applies for the EB1 visa at a US Embassy in their home country.

If you are applying based on Extraordinary Abilities, you do not need an employer to file a petition, but you can file one yourself. However, you must have an employer file the petition for the Professor/Researchers and Multinational Manager EB1 visas.

EB1 Visa Application Procedures from US Employer

Getting the Labor Certification

The first requirement for a US employer to hire a foreign employee is to get a labor certification from the US Department of Labor. This is done by filling out Form ETA 750 to the DOL. By submitting this form, the US employer states that they tried to find a US employee for that job but could not, and the foreign worker will be paid a prevailing wage.

The DOL processes the form, and the employer and employee are notified of the decision. If approved, the US employer can go on to the next step, but the foreign worker cannot get an EB1 visa if the certification is denied.

Filling the Petition

In addition to the labor certification, the employer must petition the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This is done by filing Form I-140, Immigration Petition for Alien Worker. The employer must also attach financial statements, audits, and tax returns to prove that the company is financially stable. For the Extraordinary Ability EB1 visa, you, as the applicant, can file the petition to USCIS and pay the fee.

USCIS will process the petition and will notify the employer. If approved, the case will go to the National Visa Center (NVC). If denied, the US employer cannot hire a foreign worker.

When the case goes to the NVC, they assign a case number and invoice ID number. These documents will be part of the package with instructions on applying that will be sent to the foreign employee in their home country. However, since there is a cap on the EB1 visas, the NVC will only send this package when the applicant’s priority date becomes current.

EB1 visa application procedures from foreign worker

File Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application

The applicant or foreign worker must complete this form which serves as an application for the EB1 visa. The US Embassy or Consulate will process the state they are applying for.

Complete medical examination and vaccination

The NVC package will also include requirements about medical examinations and vaccination that the applicant must conduct. The applicant must go to a licensed doctor to complete the documents and have them signed.

Compile the supporting documents file for the EB1 visa

After the NVC approves your Form DS-260, you must send the supporting documents for your case.

To apply for an EB1 Visa, you must provide the following documents to your application file:

  • Your passport, which must be valid for more than six months after your intended departure to the US
  • Your employment offer from the US employer
  • The approved labor certification
  • The approved petition
  • Your DS-260 confirmation page
  • Your signed medical and vaccine documents
  • Two photographs meeting the requirements for a US visa Photo
  • Proof that you meet the criteria for the category you are applying
  • Letters from previous employers
  • Court and criminal records
  • The NVC might require other supporting documents depending on the case, so you must follow their instructions carefully.

Attend the EB1 visa interview.

The NVC will review your application and supporting documents, and if there are no more requirements, they will schedule an interview for you at the US Embassy you are applying from. Attend the interview and be as specific as possible in answering the questions regarding your background and other details. The interviewer will make the final decision on whether they should issue you an EB1 visa or not.

Receive the NVC package and travel to the US.

If your EB1 visa is approved, you will receive a package from the NVC. It would be best if you did not open this package. When you travel to the US, take it with you and give it to an immigration officer at a US port of entry. Only they can open it and decide whether you should be allowed to enter the country.

What are the EB1 visa fees?

There are many fees that you are responsible for paying while you apply for the EB1 visa. The amounts vary and are decided by USCIS and the US Embassy in the country you are using from. In general, you will have to pay the following fees:

  • USCIS Form I-140 petition filing fee
  • Form DS-260 processing fee
  • Medical examination fees
  • Fees for obtaining supporting documents
  • Any translation fees from a foreign language to English

How long is the EB1 visa Processing Time?

The processing time for an EB1 visa can be from a few months to a few years. However, the EB1 processing time can be extended since employment-based visas have a cap. This is defined by when you apply and whether you are next in line from USCIS and NVC.

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