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Basics of the EB-1 Green Card

February 28, 2018

The EB-1 category is the first preference category for employment-sponsored green cards. There are 3 sub-categories of EB-1 filings: (1) Extraordinary Ability (EB-1 A), (2) Outstanding Researcher (EB-1 B), and (3) Multinational Manager (EB-1 C). Most foreign workers prefer applying under the EB-1 category because it means obtaining a green card faster and bypassing the labor certification process. However, filing under the EB-1 category is not for everyone.

EB-1A Extraordinary Ability

The EB-1 Extraordinary Ability category is reserved “for the small percentage of individuals who have risen to the very top of their field of endeavor.” This requires extensive supporting evidence to document your work and achievements, such as:

  • evidence of media coverage of your work,
  • receipt of national/international awards,
  • authorship of scholarly articles,
  • founding of a successful company,
  • patents,
  • presentations at conferences
  • industry events

The EB-1 extraordinary ability category is a very difficult threshold to meet, and most employees will not qualify.

As an applicant, you have the burden of proof to show:

  1.  Extraordinary ability in the arts/sciences/business which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and achievements that have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation; and
  2. That you will continue to work in the field of your extraordinary ability in the US; and
  3. That your work will substantially benefit prospectively the US; and
  4. Evidence of a one-time achievement of a major internationally recognized award (e.g. Nobel Prize)

Or at least 3 of the following:

  1.  Receipt of lesser nationally/internationally recognized prizes or awards (not including academic awards or nominations);
  2.  Membership in an association in the field which requires outstanding achievement of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts;
  3. Published material about the person in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
  4. Participation as a judge of the work of others;
  5. Evidence of original scientific contributions of major significance;
  6. Authorship of scholarly articles;
  7. Artistic exhibitions or showcases;
  8. Performance in a leading or cultural role for organization or establishment that has a distinguished reputation;
  9. High salary or remuneration in relation to others in the field; or
  10. Commercial success in the performing arts.

EB-1B Outstanding Researcher

The EB-1 Outstanding Researcher criteria require that you currently perform outstanding research in your field of expertise and that your research has made significant contributions to the advancement of the field (not only towards the company’s business). The government has placed increasingly heightened scrutiny on this category. In addition, the EB-1 Outstanding Researcher category requires that you are employed in a research-based role and that you have an advanced degree in your field (typically a Ph.D.).

As an applicant, you have the burden of proof to show:

    1. International recognition as outstanding in a specific academic area; and
    2. 3 years of experience in teaching or research in the academic area; and
    3. That you will conduct research with an employer that employs at least 3 full-time persons in research activities and has achieved documented accomplishments in an academic field (excluding engineering or product design); and

 Evidence of at least 2 of the following:

a. Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement;
b. Membership in an association which requires outstanding achievement;
c. Published material in professional publications written by others about your work;
d. Evidence of your participation as a judge of the work of others;
e. Evidence of original scientific research; or
f. Authorship of scholarly books or articles in the field.

EB-1C Multinational Manager or Executive

The EB-1 Multinational Manager category is for senior managers and executives who are transferred from outside the US to an affiliated company in the US. It is critical that the majority of job duties relate to strategic or policy management. In order to qualify as a manager, you must have been employed by the company abroad for at least one year in a managerial capacity in the 3 years prior to entry as a non-immigrant. First-line supervisors are not considered to be acting in a managerial capacity merely because they have supervisory duties.

If you are a functional manager, you must be able to demonstrate that your roles in the U.S. and abroad meet the following:

  1. managed a corporation, department, or essential subdivision or function;
  2. functioned at a senior level; and
  3. exercised discretion over the day to day operations of the activity or function.

The majority of the job duties must relate to operational or policy management and the applicant cannot be an individual contributor. In addition, significant documentation must be submitted to establish all the requirements are met.

Please reach out to your EIG attorney if you have any questions about the categories or your qualifications.