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Understanding employment-based immigration: EB-1 visas

Those foreign nationals looking to secure permanent residence here in the United States can apply for one of four employment-based visas. The EB visa for which a person applies will depend on their unique circumstances. For instance, a person holding an advanced degree would likely seek to secure an EB-2 visa.

In today's post, we'll start examining EB-1 visas, which are treated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as a first-preference visas reserved for priority workers.

There are three classifications of foreign nationals who can apply for EB-1 visas:

  • Outstanding professors and researchers
  • Multinational executives and managers
  • Those who exhibit extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics

Extraordinary ability

According to USCIS, those seeking to secure an EB-1 visa based on their extraordinary ability must file a Form I-140 and do not need to show an offer of employment here in the U.S.

More importantly, they must be able to demonstrate their extraordinary ability by either 1) showing they have received an internationally recognized award (i.e., a Nobel Prize, Pulitzer, Olympic medal, Academy Award, etc.) or 2) fulfilling three out of ten criteria established by the agency for proving extraordinary ability in a chosen field.

These ten criteria include the following:

  • Providing evidence that you are a member of an association that requires members to have made some type of outstanding achievement.
  • Providing evidence that you have received awards/prizes for excellence that have less national or international recognition.
  • Providing evidence that major media outlets or trade publications have published material about you.
  • Providing evidence that you have made an original and significant contribution in science, art, education, business or athletics.
  • Providing evidence that you have been asked to serve as a judge tasked with evaluating the work of others.
  • Providing evidence that you have achieved commercial success in the performing arts.
  • Providing evidence that artistic events have displayed your work.
  • Providing evidence that you earn considerably more than others in your field.
  • Providing evidence that major media outlets or trade publications have published your scholarly articles.
  • Providing evidence that you have played a significant or leading role within influential organizations.

We'll continue to discuss EB-1 visas in future posts. Consider speaking with a skilled legal professional if you would like to learn more about employment-based immigration.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Employment-based immigration: First preference EB-1," Accessed March 11, 2015

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