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First Preference Category Visas – EB-1

First Preference Category visas also known as, EB-1 (Employment Based) visas are dedicated for three types of foreign individuals, those who:

  1. have an extraordinary ability,
  2. are an outstanding professor or researcher, or
  3. are a multinational executive or manager.

This type of visa allows a foreign individual a quick path to obtain a green card. Only a small percentage of individuals qualify for this category of visa. Recipients of EB-1 visas are considered “priority workers”. Because of this, the visa numbers under this category are consistently current, meaning that it is uncommon for there to be a wait list for a visa under this employment based category. This list is known as the Visa Bulletin and can be found at:



Some employment-based visas require that the applicant’s prospective employer first obtain a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor prior to filing the visa petition (form I-140) and green card application (Form I-485). Persons in the EB-1 preference category are not required to obtain a labor certification approval.

On December 22, 2010, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a policy memorandum clarifying how USCIS officers must evaluate EB-1 applications. The policy memorandum provides that, the USCIS evaluation should involve a two-part analysis:

  • The applicant must have submitted evidence listed in the federal regulations, and
  • The USCIS officers must evaluate the evidence all together when considering the petition

Evaluation of Evidence Submitted with Certain Form I-140 Petitions.

Each subcategory of the EB-1 visa has it’s own specific requirements:

      1. Individuals who have an extraordinary ability must show ongoing national or international acclaim in their field. The applicant must have recognition and be a leader in his or her field of expertise (sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics). An applicant can demonstrate that they meet these requirements in two ways:
        • By submitting evidence of having received an internationally recognized award such as an Olympic Medal, Golden Globe, American Music Award, Oscar)


        • By submitting evidence of fulfilling three out of the ten requirements listed in the Federal Regulations at 8 CFR 204.5(h)(3).

Also, individuals with extraordinary ability, can file their own visa petition (Form I-140), and do not have to have specific job offers, so long as they are entering the U.S. to continue work in the area in which they have extraordinary ability.

    1. Individuals who are an outstanding professor or researcher must show international recognition in the academic field and must possess at least three years of experience in teaching or research. The applicant must have a specific job offer from a university or comparable institution as a teacher or researcher. The job offer must be a tenure, tenure track teaching or research position. The employer must file a visa petition with evidence of fulfilling two out of the six requirements listed at 8 CFR 204.5(i)(3)(i)
    2. Individuals who are multinational executives or managers must have a job offer as a manager or executive from a U.S. employer. The employer must file a visa petition and provide evidence showing that, in the last three years, the applicant was employed as a manager or executive for at least one year by the employer’s overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch company. In addition, the U.S. employer must show that they have been actively engaged in doing business for at least one year prior to filing the visa petition and that they have the ability to pay the prospective employee’s salary.

Employment-Based Immigration: First Preference EB-1