Are you an individual with extraordinary ability, an outstanding professor or researcher, or a multinational manager or executive looking to work and live in the United States? If so, the EB-1 Visa, also known as the EB-1 Green Card, might be the perfect opportunity for you.

In this article, we will explore the different categories of the EB-1 Visa, the evidence required to demonstrate your worth, the application process and timeline, the fees and costs, the benefits for your family, and how this visa can be a path to US citizenship. Let’s delve into the world of the EB-1.

What is the EB-1 Visa?

man walking in united statesThe EB-1 Visa is an employment-based immigrant visa category that allows foreign nationals to permanently live and work in the U.S. It is designed for individuals with extraordinary abilities, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational executives and managers.

It is one of the priority worker visa categories, meaning that it typically has shorter waiting times compared to other employment-based visa categories.

This visa is highly regarded and does not require a PERM labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The EB1 visa is an immigrant visa classification that is broken into 3 distinct sub-categories:

  • EB1A for people with extraordinary abilities;
  • EB1B for outstanding professors and researchers; and
  • EB1C for multinational managers and executives.

Benefits of the EB-1 Visa

An EB-1 Visa saves you time. The immigration process in the US is notoriously lengthy. Many I-140 Immigrant Petitions take long periods of time to process and approve, but the EB-1 Visa can be relatively quick and straightforward. These are some of the reasons why:

No labor certification

EB-1 cases are exempt from the “default” employment-based requirement of a PERM labor certification. Labor certification is the lengthy and intricate process that employers undergo to prove there are no qualified US workers to perform the job. EB-1 petitioners and beneficiaries can avoid this process and save valuable time as well as the risk of denial at the PERM stage.

Premium processing option

USCIS will respond to the EB-1 petition (Form I-140) within 15 days if you choose this option for the EB-1A or EB-1B Visa and within 45 days if you apply for premium processing for an EB-1C Visa. Premium processing costs $2,500.

Concurrent filing and early work authorization

You can file the EB-1 Immigrant Petition (Form I-140) at the same time as the permanent residence application (Form I-485), as long as you meet certain requirements and if you are already in the United States. This allows you to apply for employment and travel authorization while you wait for your application to be processed, giving you the freedom to work and travel in the meantime.

Your spouse and children under 21 can also be granted authorization by USCIS to start working in the country before the permanent residence is approved.

EB-1A: Extraordinary Ability

The first category under the EB-1 Visa is for individuals able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. 

To qualify for this visa, you must demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim and international recognition for your achievements. You must provide evidence that you have risen to the very top of your field, including (but not limited to) major awards, published material about your work, membership in distinguished associations, and evidence of your contributions to the field. 

The main advantage of the EB-1A visa is that not only do you not need an existing job offer for an EB-1 I-140 Immigrant Petition, you can petition entirely for yourself. Therefore, unlike the other categories, you do not need to have sponsorship from a company to apply for this visa. 

Evidence Necessary 

You must be able to provide that you have submitted evidence in at least three of the following evidentiary categories below or provide evidence of a one-time achievement such as a Pulitzer, Oscar, Olympic Medal. You also need evidence showing that you will be continuing to work in the area of your expertise.

No offer of employment or labor certification is required. 

You must present evidence of:

  • Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
  • Membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members 
  • Published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  • Having been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel 
  • Original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field 
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media 
  • Your work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases 
  • Performance in a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations 
  • Cmmanding a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field 
  • Commercial successes in the performing arts 

EB-1B: Outstanding Professors and Researchers

The second category of the EB-1 is designed for outstanding professors and researchers. To qualify, you must demonstrate international recognition for your outstanding achievements in a particular academic field.

You must have at least three years of experience in teaching or research and have a job offer of a permanent teaching or research position with an appropriate institution of higher learning or research institution.  

Evidence necessary 

You must present evidence of at least two items in the list below (or comparable evidence) and an offer of employment from the prospective US employer.  

  • Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement 
  • Evidence of Membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement 
  • Evidence of Published material in professional publications written by others about the noncitizen’s work in the academic field 
  • Evidence of Participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field 
  • Evidence of Original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field 
  • Evidence of Authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field 

EB-1C: Multinational Manager or Executive

golden visa lawyer portugalThe third category of the EB-1 Visa is for multinational managers or executives who have been employed for at least one of the three preceding years by the same multinational firm or corporation.  

 This visa category also allows overseas companies to expand their business to the United States by permitting the overseas company to transfer executives and managers with direct knowledge of the company’s operations to the United States to assist with the start-up.

In order to qualify as an Executive or Manager, certain requirements must be met. 

To qualify, you must be coming to the United States to continue working for that employer in a managerial or executive capacity.

Evidence necessary 

 Some examples of evidence you can submit include: 

  • Documentation of your employment history with the multinational firm or corporation 
  • Evidence of your executive or managerial capacity 
  • Description of the duties you will perform in the United States 
  • Proof of the multinational company’s qualifying relationship

 It is important to note that the US Employer also needs to meet certain requirements, such as: 

  • The employing company must have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent, subsidiary, affiliate, etc.)  
  • The employing company must conduct business in the United States and in one other country. The business may be done directly or through a subsidiary.  
  • The company must exist for at least one year in the United States. 

EB-1 Application Process

  • Step 1: File and submit Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker), along with the supporting documents. This petition will be filed by your employer, if you are applying for EB-1B or EB-1C, or by yourself, if you’re applying for EB-1A.
  • Step 2: Once the I-140 petition is approved, you will make an Immigrant Visa Electronic Application (Form DS-260), using consular processing at a US Embassy or consulate abroad. However, if you are already living in the US, you will apply to adjust your status (Form I-485).
  • Step 3: Attend a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints, photographs, and signatures. You will also need to attend the immigration medical exam.
  • Step 4: Attend the visa interview.
  • Step 5: If the application is approved, you will receive your green card, allowing you to work and live in the United States.

EB-1 Fees and Costs

When applying, there are several fees and costs to consider, which change depending on whether you are applying from outside or inside the US.

Applying from within the US (adjustment of status)

  • Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) filing fee: $700
  • Form I-485 (the application to adjust status for applicants living in the US) filing fee: $750-$1,140 per person. (This fee varies depending on age)
  • Biometrics fee (if applicable): $85
  • Premium processing fee (optional): $2,500
  • Medical examination (performed by an authorized physician): $100 to $500 (depending on the doctor and the location)

Applying from outside the US (consular processing)

  • Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) filing fee: $700
  • DS-260 (immigrant visa electronic application) fee: $325 per person
  • Immigrant fee: $220
  • Premium processing (optional): $2,500
  • Medical examination (performed by an authorized physician): $100 to $500 (depending on the doctor and the location)

EB1 Green Card Processing Time

canada work visa how long it takesThe timeline for the EB-1 Visa application process can vary based on factors such as the current processing times, the workload of the immigration authorities, and how complete your application is. Currently, the process can take between eight months to two years.  

The processing time for Form I-140, the first step of the EB-1 process, currently averages four months, according to USCIS historic processing times data, but it varies case by case. Note that with premium processing, the I-140 can be expedited to 15 days or 45 days, depending on the subcategory of the visa.  

If the applicant already lives in the US, the average waiting time for Form I-485 for employment visa applications is currently 17.5 months.  Applicants from inside the US can receive employment and travel authorization while they wait for the application to be approved.

If you are applying from abroad via consular processing, the case will be transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing. The NVC will forward the petition to the nearest embassy or consulate, which will arrange an in-person interview.

The timeline for this stage of the process depends on where the applicant is based. 

Family of EB-1 Visa Holders

 As an EB-1 Visa holder, you have the opportunity to include your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 in your application. They can accompany you to the United States and can enjoy many of the same benefits as you do, such as access to education. 

They may also be eligible for work, if they apply for an employment authorization document (EAD), which allows them to legally work in the United States for any employer, including self-employment. It’s important to note that the EAD is granted for a specific period of time and must be renewed if the family member wishes to continue working in the US.  

Path to US Citizenship 

One of the significant advantages of the EB-1 Visa is that it puts you on a path to US citizenship. After residing in the United States as a lawful permanent resident for a certain period, typically five years, you can apply for naturalization and become a US citizen. This grants you all the rights and privileges that come with citizenship, including the ability to vote and hold public office. 

Pros and Cons of the EB-1 Visa

Like any immigration option, the EB-1 has its pros and cons. Some benefits of this visa include: 

  • Premium processing available and no requirement for a labor certification 
  • No need for a job offer under the EB-1A category 
  • Access to a path to US citizenship

However, the cons include:  

  • The high standards of evidence required to qualify
  • Limited visa numbers available each fiscal year
  • The complexity and potential length of the application process

Why work with Global Citizen Solutions?

Global Citizen Solutions is a boutique investment migration consultancy firm focused on finding the right residency or citizenship by investment program for individuals wishing to secure their future and become global citizens. With offices in Portugal, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Brazil, our multilingual team guides individuals and families from start to finish, providing expert advice considering freedom, mobility, taxation, and security.

  • We have helped hundreds of clients from 35+ countries in all the top Residency by Investment and Citizenship by Investment programs. With an in-depth and comprehensive understanding of the area, we provide our clients with solid guidance. We have a team of immigration lawyers, and immigration advisers specialized in US immigration.
  • Our team has never had a case rejected. Our 100 percent approval rate sets us apart from our competitors and guarantees that you can expect a successful application.
  • Our transparent pricing covers all the processes from opening your bank account, document certification, and legal due diligence to investment and submission. As there is one fee for the entire process, you can be confident that you will not face any hidden costs later.
  • All data is stored within a GDPR-compliant database on a secure SSL-encrypted server. You can be safe knowing that your personal data is treated with the utmost security.
  • Global Citizen Solutions provides an all-encompassing solution. Our support can continue even after you receive your passport. We offer additional services such as company incorporation, Trusts, and Foundations formation.
  • The BeGlobal Onboarding System® allows you to access the status of your application every step of the way, something that sets us apart from our competitors.


Frequently Asked Questions About the EB-1 Green Card

Who is eligible for a green card EB-1?

The EB-1 Visa grants permanent residence to individuals who demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, outstanding professors or researchers, or multinational managers or executives. 

What are the different subcategories within the EB-1 Visa category?

The different subcategories of the first preference EB-1 Visa are EB-1A, for foreign nationals of extraordinary ability; EB-1B, for outstanding professors and researchers; and EB-1C, for multinational managers or executives.

How long does it take to get an EB-1A green card?

The processing time for an EB-1A green card can vary depending on several factors, including the USCIS workload and the completeness of your application. It may take between eight months to two years from the time of filing to receive a decision on an EB-1A petition.  

How hard is it to get an EB-1 Green Card?

Obtaining an EB-1 can be challenging because it requires meeting high standards of achievement and providing substantial evidence to demonstrate you meet the eligibility criteria.

The requirements for each subcategory are rigorous, and the level of evidence needed is demanding. It’s crucial to have a strong case with substantial supporting documentation to increase your chances of success. 

Only foreign nationals who can demonstrate extraordinary ability are able to secure an EB-1A green card. You will need to demonstrate outstanding achievement evidence of extraordinary ability, in a managerial or executive capacity in a leading or critical role.

In the case of outstanding professors who are eligible for EB-1 B, it’s necessary to present major media evidence of published articles and national or international acclaim.

For an EB-1C application, evidence includes proof of being in a managerial or executive position, multinational company affiliation, and the ability to transfer or create employment opportunities.

Which is better, the EB-1 or EB-2?

The choice between EB-1 and EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) categories depends on your individual circumstances and eligibility. Both have different criteria. While EB-1 is often considered more prestigious with faster processing, EB-2 NIW may be more suitable if you have a high level of expertise and/or qualifications without meeting EB-1’s exceptional standards.

Is the EB-1 Visa easy to get?

Obtaining an EB-1  is not easy due to the high standards and requirements for eligibility. It requires that you demonstrate outstanding achievement evidence, confirming extraordinary ability, outstanding research or teaching, or managerial or executive capacity.  

What are the benefits of the EB-1 Visa?

It offers several benefits, including:

  • Priority processing without the need for a labor certification
  • The ability to self-petition under the EB-1A category, without requiring an employer sponsor
  • In most countries, there is no significant backlog for visa numbers, which means faster processing times compared to some other employment-based visa categories
  • Eligibility for a path to US citizenship after meeting the necessary residency requirements
  • The opportunity to include your spouse and unmarried children under 21 as derivative beneficiaries, allowing them to accompany you to the US and potentially obtain work authorization

Can I leave the US whilst on an EB-1 Visa?

Yes, as an EB-1 Visa holder, you are generally allowed to leave the US temporarily for business or personal reasons. However, it’s important to maintain your intent to reside in the US as a permanent resident and meet the required residency obligations.  

Do I need a job offer from a US employer to apply for an EB-1C Green Card?

Yes, you must have a job offer from a company that operates in the United States (for one year or longer) and at least one other country.

Can I include my family members in my EB-1 application?

Yes, you can include your immediate family in your application: spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old.

Can I apply for an EB-1 Visa while in the US on a non-immigrant visa?

Yes, in this case you will apply to adjust your status, using the Form I-485.

Do I need to hire an immigration attorney for my application?

While it’s not mandatory, it is worth considering hiring an immigration attorney for your application to provide guidance and give you the best possible chance of success.

What is EB-1A green card?

The EB-1A green card is a sub-category of EB-1 visas. It is for individuals able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim.

How many EB-1 green cards are there a year?

The United States issues around 40,000 EB-1 Immigrant Visas and Green Cards for US permanent residency every year.

Who falls under EB-1 category?

The EB1 visa is an immigrant visa classification that is divided into 3 separate sub-categories: 1. EB1A for people with extraordinary abilities; 2. EB1B for outstanding professors and researchers and 3. EB1C for multinational managers and executives.

What is the EB1 green card processing time?

The timeline for the EB-1 Visa application process can vary based on factors such as the current processing times, the workload of the immigration authorities, and how complete your application is. Currently, the process can take between eight months to two years.