EB-1 Visa: Requirements, Petitions, and Process

EB-1 Visa: Requirements, Petitions, and Process

An EB-1 Visa is an employment-based, first preference visa. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has five levels of visa preferences specifically for employment-based immigration ranging from EB-1 to EB-5. This is the type of visa you can apply for when you receive a job offer from a U.S. company and you plan to permanently live in the country.

People who qualify for these visas are priority workers who have special talents, researchers, and certain businessmen or businesswomen. This visa is the easiest path towards receiving a green card because of the EB-1 requirements. Depending on certain factors, EB-1 visa holders usually have the shortest wait-time of all other green card applicants. Other liberties the EB-1 green card includes are the ability to live and work in the U.S., travel freely in and out of the U.S., and pursue U.S. citizenship.

There are about 40,000 EB-1 visas available each year and they are split between three subcategories: EB-1A, EB-1B, and EB-1C. Each subcategory has its own criteria for applying, and application processing time does not depend on the subcategory.

EB-1 Green Card Requirements and Sub-Categories


An EB-1A green card is categorized by extraordinary ability. This means you must be able to demonstrate an extraordinary ability by having a one-time national or international acclaim — a Pulitzer, an Oscar, an Olympic Medal — or you need to meet   the USCIS sees as evidence. Your extraordinary ability can fall under the category of science, arts, education, business, or athletics. Unlike the other two sub-categories, you can apply for yourself in what is called self-petitioning. No employment certification is required.


An EB-1B green card is categorized by outstanding professors and researchers. In order to be recognized for an EB-1B Visa, you must demonstrate international recognition for outstanding achievement in your academic field. You must have at least 3 years of experience teaching or researching and must be entering the U.S. to pursue tenor track or a comparable position.  Unlike an EB-1A visa, your prospective U.S. Employer must provide an offer of employment and must fill out an I-140 form for you — you are not allowed to self-petition.


The last subcategory in the first preference visa is EB-1C for certain Multinational managers or executives. To qualify for this visa, you must have worked for 1 year in the past 3 years before the petition or the most recent lawful nonimmigrant admission if you are already working for the employee who will petition for your visa. Your employer must have and intend to employ you in a managerial or executive role. Like the EB-1B, your prospective employer must be your petitioner.

EB-1 Visa Processing: I-140

The first step in the EB-1 visa process is to file an I-140. In order to be granted an EB-1 visa, a File I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, must be submitted to the USCIS. With this form, the USCIS can classify an alien as eligible to receive an immigrant visa based on employment. For EB-1B and EB-1C visas, your employer is the one who fills out this form as your petitioner.

Requirements for Form I-140 include:

  • Letters from current or former employees/trainers with their name, address, title, and description of duties the benefit performed as evidence to qualify your status.

General tips regarding I-140 forms include:

  • Make sure the form is up to date.
  • Make sure the petitioner signs the form and includes their information.
  • Submit one check per form.
  • File your form at the correct address.
  • Submit only one copy of evidence.

Once you’ve filed your petition, you can check your case status online. It’s important to keep in mind that the processing time for you EB-1 visa application depends on two factors — your individual case and the amount of people from your country who applied for the same visa.

Priority Date and Final Action Date

There are two dates you need to pay attention to during your application process —Priority Date and Final Action Date

The date the USCIS receives your EB-1 petition becomes your priority date, a fixed date that will not change. Your EB-1 application is your individual case, meaning your priority date is yours alone.

Final action dates vary monthly depending on how many people applied for an EB-1 visa. This date is not dependent on whether the visa is EB-1A, EB-1B, or EB-1C.

The U.S. Department of State releases a Visa Bulletin every month which gives the final action dates for that month. They determine the final action date depending on the number of visas that can be given and the number of people who applied. If the EB-1 petitions for a country (China, India, Mexico, etc.) is less than the annual limit, the final action date will move forward, becoming sooner than expected. If EB-1 petitions (or any petition) for a country exceeds the annual limit, the final action date is pushed back. The date stays at the expected date if the expected number of petitions are submitted.

Labor Certification

First preference workers do not need a DOL labor certification. Labor certifications are submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). In some cases of employment-based immigration, you need a DOL Certification in order to submit an immigration petition to the USCIS. Of the five levels of employment-based immigration, second preference EB-2 and third preference EB-3 are the levels of preference that require this labor certifications. The exception to this is if an EB-2 petitioner can obtain a national interest waiver (NIW).

DOL labor certifications, also known as PERM labor certification, verify there are insufficient available, qualified, and willing U.S. workers for the position being offered. It also verifies that hiring an immigrant worker will not adversely affect the wages of U.S. workers employed in similar work positions.

Application Process: Paperwork Costs and Documentation

The filing fee for a Form I-140 is $700. The direct filing address depends on whether you are filing the form by itself or paired with other forms. The processing time also depends on the location your file is sent to. Some locations that get more files will most likely take longer to process. After the USCIS receives the form, it may take up to 6 months for the form to the processed.

Premium processing is another option to consider. For an additional fee of $2,500 for EB-1 requests, the USCIS guarantees a 15-day maximum processing period. You will need to fill out an I-907, request for premium processing service. After your form is processed, you will be issued an approval notice, denial notice, notice of intent to deny, request for evidence, or the USCIS can open an investigation for fraud or misrepresentation.

Contact an Immigration Lawyer Today

Working with EB-1 Visa Lawyer by your side can benefit those who wish to apply for the EB-1 Visa. Our experienced lawyers at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. have over 30 years of practice in immigration and nationality law.  We will counsel you at every step of the petitioning process, making sure the best information about your expertise is displayed. Contact us for more information at (312) 444-1940 to schedule a consultation today.

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