What is an EB-1 Visa?
An EB-1 visa is an employment-based green card for those who want to enter the US. It is based on the applicant’s displayed extraordinary ability in their field. This field includes arts, athletics, sciences, education, and business. It can also mean they are an outstanding researcher or professor or are a particular multinational executive or manager. Although they are some of the most difficult visas to obtain, they are also some of the most appealing, as the wait to receive one can be a lot shorter than that of other visas and the requirements, though strict, are less than that of additional visas.
Due to its incredibly strict guidelines, the application process for an EB-1 Visa can be daunting. By working with an attorney that is well-versed in these types of visas, you can ensure that your application will be submitted thoroughly, saving you time and money in the future in your quest to get to the US. Contact my office at 407-499-5680 to learn how I can best assist you.
What is Considered Extraordinary Ability?
There are minimum qualifications that one must be able to demonstrate to prove extraordinary ability. A minimum of three from the below list must be established and sustained, meaning that you provide evidence that you will continue to work in your area of expertise once arriving in the US. You can also bypass this list of qualifications if you have received a prestigious award such as an Olympic Gold Medal, a Pulitzer Prize, and more.
The list of qualifications is as follows:
- Evidence that you have been asked to judge the work of others, individually or on a panel
- Evidence that your work has been displayed at artistic exhibits or gallery showcases
- Proven commercial success in the performing arts
- Evidence of having authored scholarly books or articles pertaining to your field
- Documentation of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
- Membership in associations that require outstanding achievement in order to be a member
- Documentation of published material about you in professional or major trade publications or major media
- Evidence that your original work contributed to scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related significant strides in your field
- Evidence that you are worth and can command a much higher salary in relation to others in your field based on your contributions
- Proof that you have sustained the role of leading (or other critical roles) a distinguished organization
Suppose it can be proven that you are capable of three of the above ten items. In that case, it can show that you are an individual with Extraordinary Ability and, therefore, a candidate for an EB-1 visa. Other notable achievements to document would be patents or inventions or proven success in running a business. The above list of items can be best established through your consulting of several independent sources that can verify your achievements and become references for you. You can apply for yourself with the help of a trusted attorney that can assist you with this process.
What Does Being an Outstanding Researcher or Professor Mean?
If the applicant can prove two of the six items below, they are considered a candidate in this category.
- Evidence of having authored scholarly books or articles in your field
- Proven membership in associations that require outstanding achievement
- Evidence of being a judge, either alone or on a panel, of the work of others in the same or similar field
- Proven receipt of major prizes or other awards for outstanding achievement
- Published material in professional publications written by others that speaks to the applicant’s work in the academic field
- Evidence of scientific or scholarly contributions in their field
If two of the above characteristics can be proven, your US employer can file on your behalf for you to be reviewed for an EB-1 visa. Your employer must also establish that they can pay the current wage consistently and provide this information via tax returns, annual reports, and more. As with the list above, having a long list of independent resources that can provide a reference on your behalf is a great way to provide evidence for your application.
How Do I Qualify as a Multinational Manager or Executive?
This category of applicants requires that the individual had been employed outside the US for at least a year in the last three consecutive years preceding the application. The petitioning employer must be a US-based employer and intend to continue to employ you in a multinational managerial or executive capacity. The employer has to have been in business for at least a year in the US prior to the application as well.
What Happens After I Apply?
The USCIC will review your I-14- application, and they will send you a receipt notice, so you know they successfully received your application. They will send you a notice of your Biometrics appointment, which entails checking for criminal background or relevant prior immigration violations. A decision will be sent to you in writing, and you can move on to the next step.
What Are Some Advantages of an EB-1 Visa?
One of the main advantages of an EB-1 visa is that the applicant doesn’t need an active job offer to participate in the process. They can certainly have one, which would be helpful, but it is not legally necessary for them to have an active job offer on the line. This also allows the applicants to avoid the PERM labor certification, which can extend the application process quite a bit. The PERM process is thorough and complex, as it is in place to ensure that applicants aren’t taking employment opportunities from existing US citizens. This process can be extensive as it requires documentation from the prospective employers regarding the current job market concerning the position open for the candidate applying for their visa.
Due to avoiding the PERM process, the application process for the EB-1 is considerably shorter than other visa applications. In fact, an express application process is commonly available that can get your approvals done in as quick as 15 days.
You are also to file for early work authorization for family members while you wait for your permanent residence paperwork to finalize, which can shorten the process.
What Are Some Disadvantages of an EB-1 Visa?
Due to the burden of proof resting on your shoulders in order to get your application approved, the process can seem more complex than others. Due to the way the process is designed (somewhat of a fast track), you are required to offer extensive explanations and evidence as to why you satisfy the categories necessary for approval. It can be vital to work with an experienced attorney who can assist you in gathering the essential paperwork and referrals to ensure a successful application process.
There may be a Request for Evidence (RFE) issued to gain some clarity on the evidence you provided, meaning that it doesn’t fully satisfy the requirements for your application. This can mean extra work on your part and diligent teamwork with your attorney to ensure that you have checked off enough boxes in your respective category to achieve approval.
What Are Some Advantages of an EB-1 Visa vs. the EB-2 Visa?
There are a few distinct advantages between the EB-1 and EB-2 visas. They typically involve a shorter priority date waiting period for the EB-1 vs. the EB-2. Due to the abilities mentioned above to avoid things like the PERM certification process (which can take up to six months in some cases) and also that the EB-1 process tends to have far fewer applicants due to its strict requirements or standards for applicants.
Another advantage is that you can sponsor yourself with the EB-1, and you need to designate a sponsor in the EB-2 application process. You can also file both your I-140 and your I-485 petitions simultaneously to speed up the operation of the decisions that need to be made on those documents, leaving a quicker decision time on the entire process from start to finish.
A final note relative to the timeline of an EB-1 vs. other visas is that all of the applicable countries involved with the EB-1 visas have current priority dates. What this means for you is if your application is approved, the rest of the process can be pretty rapid. In some cases, some visa applicants have provided sufficient paperwork and all other requirements but wait months or even years for their priority date to be current.
Why Hire an EB-1 Visa Lawyer?
One of the distinct advantages of the EB-1 visa is that you can self-petition your application process rather than having someone do so on your behalf. However, the strict burden of proof relies on you to prove that you meet the many qualifications. This process can lead to obstacles and setbacks in the timeline and unnecessary stress for you, in addition to potentially added costs if you need to provide additional proof or if your original application is denied. Working with an experienced immigration law attorney who has worked with these cases for years can help you streamline your efforts, ensure your time is being spent as efficiently as possible, and help you get to the next step of obtaining your EB-1 visa and beginning your employment in the US.
Contact me at 407-499-5680 today to discuss your specific questions and learn more about your immediate options. Let’s put a plan in place together that will allow for your desired outcome in the most effective timeline possible. This is an exciting time for all applicants, and I’d love to become your trusted professional resource in helping you on this incredible adventure.