In addition to immigrant visas for family members and immediate relatives, the United States also grants visas for individuals to work in the country.
The Employment Sponsored Visa allows foreign workers who have found an employer willing to hire them to reside permanently in the United States and work without an Employment Authorization Document.
What is the EB1 Visa?
The EB1 visa is the first category of employment-based immigrant visas that allows individuals with outstanding academic or professional achievements to reside permanently in the United States.
Those who can demonstrate these accomplishments are then allowed to live and work in the United States. They can also obtain U.S. documents such as a driver’s license, own real estate, get an education, get married and have children. You can also easily apply for U.S. citizenship with an EB1 visa.
Who Can Apply for the EB1 Visa?
The U.S. government divides the EB1 visa into three subcategories based on the different accomplishments of the individuals.
- People with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, education, sports, or business. The achievements of these individuals must be extensive and internationally recognized. No job offer is required to apply for an EB1 visa.
- Outstanding professors and researchers whose contributions to their field are internationally recognized. The professor or researcher must have at least three years of research or teaching experience and must demonstrate that they are coming to the U.S. to advance their field by accepting a research or teaching position at a university.
- Be a manager or executive in a multinational corporation and have worked in a foreign office of a U.S. company for at least one of the last three years. You are applying for an EB1 visa to continue working for that company and your position in the U.S. is equal to or greater than your position abroad.
What are the EB1 Eligibility Criteria?
Based on the three subcategories of the EB1 visa, there are several requirements that an applicant must meet.
Standard EB1 eligibility criteria
To qualify for the EB1 green card category, you must demonstrate that you meet at least three of the following criteria
- Must have received a national or international award/award in recognition of his/her achievements and excellence
- Belong to an association in its field and continually strive to promote its members.
- Has published work and research in his/her field and has been recognized in professional journals and the media.
- Has been asked to evaluate the work of others, either as an individual or as a panel.
- Has made a contribution in a field of academic, scientific, artistic, athletic or economic significance.
- Written articles that have been published in professional journals and major media outlets.
- Their work has been featured in exhibitions or other presentations.
- Have a proven record of playing a significant role in an outstanding organization.
- Have received a high salary and can expect to earn significantly more than their peers.
- Have achieved commercial success in the performing arts.
EB1 eligibility criteria for Professors and Researchers
For the Professor/Researcher category, you must meet two of the following criteria and have received an offer from a U.S. employer.
- The applicant must have received an award in recognition of their achievements.
- You must be a member of a professional association and seek the continued advancement of its members.
- Demonstrate that others have written and published about your work and accomplishments in the field.
- Demonstrate that you have been asked to evaluate the work of others, either as an individual or on a panel.
- Be an author who has made a scholarly contribution to their field.
- Have written and published an article or book in an international journal in their field.
EB1 Eligibility Criteria for Multinational Managers
Finally, to qualify for a Multinational Manager or Executive EB1 visa, you must have received a valid job offer from a company that has a branch or subsidiary abroad, and you must have been employed by or worked for that company.
How to Apply for the EB1 Visa?
Applying for an EB1 visa is a multi-step process involving both the employer and the foreign worker. The application process consists of two parts
- The U.S. employer obtains a work permit and files the required application.
- If approved, the foreign employee applies for an EB1 visa at the U.S. Embassy in his or her home country.
If the application is based on extraordinary ability, the employer is not required to file an application, but may file its own application. For EB1 visas for professors/researchers and multinational executives, you must have your employer file a petition on your behalf.
EB1 visa application procedures from U.S employer
Getting the labor certification
The first requirement for a U.S. employer to hire a foreign employee is to obtain a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor.
This is done by filing a form ETA 750 with the DOL. By filing this form, the U.S. employer is stating that it has attempted to find a suitable U.S. worker for the position but was unable to do so, and that the foreign worker will be paid the prevailing wage.
The form is processed by the DOL and the employer and employee are notified of the decision. If the certification is approved, the U.S. employer can proceed to the next step, but if the certification is denied, the foreign worker is not eligible for an EB1 visa.
Filing the petition
In addition to the labor certification, the employer must file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This is done by filing a Form I-140, Immigrant 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, the petitioner, will file a petition with USCIS and pay a fee.
USCIS will process the petition and notify your employer. If the case is approved, it will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC). If denied, the U.S. employer cannot hire the foreign worker.
Once the case is submitted to the NVC, the NVC assigns a case number and an invoice ID number. These documents are sent to the foreign worker’s home country as part of a package explaining how to file the application. However, due to the cap on EB1 visas, the NVC will not send this packet until the applicant’s priority date is up to date.
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 the EB1 visa application. This application will be processed by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you are applying.
Complete medical examination and vaccination
The NVC package also includes requirements for medical examinations and immunizations that must be completed by the applicant. The applicant must have the documents completed and signed by a licensed physician.
Compile the supporting documents file for the EB1 visa
After NVC approves your DS-260 form, you must send supporting documentation for the case.
To apply for an EB1 visa, you must submit the following documents in your application file.
- Passport (must be valid for at least 6 months from the date you plan to leave the U.S.)
- An employment contract from a U.S. employer
- An approved certificate of employment
- An approved petition
- DS-260 confirmation page
- A signed medical certificate and proof of immunization
- Two photos that meet the requirements for U.S. visa photos
- Documentation showing that you meet the criteria for the category for which you are applying
- Letters from previous employers
- Court records and criminal records
- Depending on your case, you may be asked to submit additional documentation, so follow NVC’s instructions carefully.
Attend the EB1 visa interview
The NVC will review your application and documentation and, if there are no additional requests, schedule an interview at the U.S. Embassy to which you are applying.
Attend the interview and answer questions about your background and other details as accurately as possible. The interviewer will make the final decision on whether to grant you an EB1 visa.
Receive the NVC package and travel to the U.S
Once your EB1 visa is approved, NVC will send you a package. You may not open this package under any circumstances.
You must bring this package with you when you travel to the United States and give it to the immigration officer at the U.S. port of entry. Only the immigration officer can open this package and decide whether or not you should be allowed to enter the United States.
What are the EB1 visa fees?
There are various fees associated with applying for an EB1 visa. The amounts vary and are determined by USCIS and the U.S. Embassy in the country where you are applying. Generally, you will be required to pay the following fees
- USCIS Form I-140 petition filing fee
- Form DS-260 processing fee
- Medical examination fee
- Fee for obtaining supporting documents
- Fee for translation from a foreign language into English
How long is the EB1 visa Processing Time?
The application process for an EB1 visa can take several months to several years. Since there is a cap on work-based visas, the review period for an EB1 visa can be quite long. This depends on when you apply and whether you are the next candidate for USCIS or NVC.
Do I Get Access to American Healthcare With an EB1 Visa?
Yes, EB1 visa holders are eligible to receive medical care in the United States. However, the cost of medical care in the U.S. is among the highest in the world.
Treatment for a broken leg or arm can cost up to $2,500, and an average stay in a U.S. hospital can cost more than $10,000. You need to choose a health insurance plan that is right for you and covers your needs in an overall affordable way.
How to get a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status?
After obtaining an EB1 visa, the next step is to obtain a green card. To change your status from an immigrant visa to permanent resident, your petition must first be approved by USCIS, you must obtain a visa, and you must reside in the United States.
You must then file an I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) with USCIS. This form will be processed and if approved, you will receive your green card in the mail in a few weeks.
Other Types of Employment Preference Visas
There are the following types of employment visas
- EB1 visa (First Preference Worker Visa) are for outstanding professors, researchers, individuals with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, business, sports, or education, and executives who have worked for a foreign subsidiary of a U.S. company in the past three years.
- EB-2 visa (second preference worker visa) are for professionals with advanced degrees and exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business.
- EB-3 visa (third preference worker visa) are for skilled workers with two or more years of experience, skilled workers with advanced degrees, or unskilled workers with less than two years of experience (EW-3 visas).
- EB-4 visa, or fourth preference worker visa, are for workers of various religious, governmental, or international organizations.
- EB-5 visa, or fifth preference worker visa, are for investors in the United States who invest between $500,000 and $1 million in the U.S. economy.