While the O visa class is a temporary status reserved for foreign workers with extraordinary abilities and achievements, the EB-1 Green Card is a more permanent option for those same foreign professionals as well as several more qualified occupations. Find out if you qualify for this employment-based green card option.
EB-1 Green Card Category
This prestigious green card category is reserved for those who can prove that they will provide substantial contributions to the U.S. economy, society, and culture. Because this is a very broad category, the EB-1 has been broken down into three subcategories, each with different requirements and qualifications.
The EB-1A is one of the most difficult green cards to obtain. This is because it requires extensive evidence of your outstanding achievements. To qualify, you must show that you have achievements in either science, education, athletics, or business.
Your contributions to your field must be internationally recognized. You may present evidence of a single exemplary achievement such as a Nobel Prize, Oscar, Olympic Medal or Pulitzer Prize or you may submit three of the following:
- Any evidence of a less prestigious award that is internationally acclaimed.
- Being a member of a group or institution in your field that demands outstanding achievement.
- Having officially judged the work of your peers on a panel or individually.
- Evidence of your published work in widely-known trade publications or other media.
- Any evidence of your significant contributions to your field.
- Having your work showcased at an exhibition.
- Having written academic articles in widely-known trade publications or other media.
- Evidence of having led a reputed organization.
- Showing commercial success or receiving a large salary for your contributions.
The main advantage of the EB-1A is that it does not require an offer of employment to petition. Therefore, you are able to petition on your own behalf. This is a trait that is unique to this subcategory and sets it apart from other employment-based green cards and work visas.
This subcategory of the EB-1 green card is reserved for those who can prove that they are exemplary researchers or professors who are intending to enter the U.S. to pursue tenure. If you have been working as a professor or researcher for at least 3 years or performing these duties while pursuing an advanced degree, you can provide evidence of two of the following criteria in order to petition:
- Any substantial awards for your extraordinary achievement in your field.
- Original academic research contributions to your field.
- Acting as a judge for your peers on a panel or individually.
- Published works in publications that were not written by you.
- An academic book or article that you have written in contribution to your field.
Unlike the EB-1A, you must have a valid and permanent offer of employment from a U.S. employer in order to qualify for an EB-1B. A permanent offer is any job offer that is not contingent on a contract that limits the employment period.
The EB-1C was created as a pathway for foreign professionals who are qualified under L-1A visa regulations to immigrate to the U.S. To qualify for this green card category, you must have spent at least one of the last three years before your petition serving outside the U.S. as an executive or manager of a multinational U.S. organization. You can then enter the U.S. in that capacity for that same employer.
In order to be a qualified employer, the organization must have been in business in the U.S. for a minimum of one year. It must also have a branch of headquarters in the U.S. as well as another one in a different country to fulfill the multinational requirement. This can also apply to any affiliates or subsidiaries of your employer.
You qualify as an executive if you:
- Direct management processes within the organization.
- Create team goals and overarching policies.
- Have been given extensive freedom in the decision-making process.
- Operate under minimal supervision from higher ranking employees.
You qualify as a manager if you:
- Have the authority to hire and fire employees underneath you.
- Manage a department, function, or process withing the organization.
- Direct daily tasks and functions of your department.
- Supervise the work of others in a managerial capacity.
It is important to note that you do not require a Labor Certification to qualify for the first preference level of the employment-based green card.
Application Process and Timeline
The application process for an EB-1 green card is relatively simple. If you are applying for an EB-1A, you can submit an I-140 Petition for Alien Worker on your own behalf. If you are interested in either the EB-1B or EB-1C subcategories, you will need to have your employer file an I-140 on your behalf.
If you are already in the U.S. under nonimmigrant status and wish to adjust your status, you can file an I-485 along with your I-140. Concurrently filing an I-131 temporarily grants your advanced parole and filing the I-765 allows you to work in the U.S. while your immigrant status is being processed.
Concerning the timeline, the USCIS reports that 100% of all the I-140 petitions filed in this fiscal year (2017) have been processed in fewer than 180 days. If you would like to have it processed sooner, you can opt for premium processing service. For a fee, you can have the USCIS make a decision on your petition in 15 calendar days.
EB-1 Green Card Fees and Cost
Here are the filing fees for the documents mentioned above as of the most recent update from the USCIS on December 23, 2016:
- $700 for the I-140. This payment is mandatory and must be made by your employer unless you are self-petitioning for an EB-1A green card.
- $410 for the I-765. This payment is only mandatory if you wish to work during the interim period while your I-140is being adjudicated. Please note that $85 will also be required for biometric services.
- See this worksheet to learn if you need to pay the fees for the I-131 to be able to travel in and out of the U.S. during your I-140’s adjudication period.
- $1,225 for optional premium processing.
How Our Immigration Attorneys Can Help
Choosing the right green card option can be difficult, that’s why it is always advisable to consult an immigration attorney before making any decisions. Our experienced lawyers have helped countless others find their optimal green card path by assessing each client’s unique qualifications and achievements.
If you feel like you qualify for the EB-1 green card, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our attorneys and schedule a consultation.