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EB-1: Green Card based on Extraordinary Abilities

The first preference of the EB (employment-Based) categories is the EB-1, which grants the green card and, consequently, the right to permanent residence in the United States for qualified foreign professionals.

EB-1 eligible candidates must demonstrate outstanding skills in science, arts, education, business or athletics through evidence of national or international acclaim and significant contributions in their areas of expertise.

To qualify for the EB-1 process based on extraordinary skills, applicants must also present proof that they have received internationally recognized awards (Pulitzer, Oscar, Olympic Medal, etc.) or meet at least 3 of the 10 criteria below, established by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

1. Awards and national or international recognition.
2. Affiliation and distinguished contributions in professional associations.
3. Professional publications in relevant media channels.
4. Participation in evaluator or judging the work of other professionals.
5. Relevant scientific, academic, artistic or athletic backgrounds.
6. Authorship of academic articles published in relevant professional media.
7. Artistic exhibitions
8. Evidence of performance and extraordinary leadership in professional organizations
9. Evidence of financial compensation superior to the majority of professionals working in the same area.
10. Evidence of commercial success and acclaim in artistic performances.

One of the most significant advantages of the EB-1 process is that it is not mandatory to have a job offer in the U.S., labor certification or minimum investment. The candidate’s qualification is based on their career and how much they can contribute to the U.S. job market using their experience and technical knowledge. However, those applying for the EB-1 category must demonstrate they will continue to work in their area of expertise in the United States once they receive a green card and become Legal Permanent Residents.

The EB-1 immigration category is also available to prominent teachers and researchers who plan to work in high-level positions in educational or research institutions in the U.S. and certain multinational managers or executives. The criteria and documents required in such cases vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who qualifies for a Green Card through the EB-1 category?

The EB-1 visa is an employment-based green card available to foreign nationals who demonstrate extraordinary ability in their field, whether the sciences, the arts, education, business, or athletics. Evidence proving extraordinary is by “sustained national or international acclaim.”

What are the main benefits of the EB-1 process?

EB-1 green card applications do not require a sponsorship or job offer in the U.S. and neither go through the PERM process (where the Department of Labor would need to establish that existing U.S.-based workers could fill the same position). Besides, the spouse and any minor children of the green card holder may be eligible for admission into the U.S. Premium Processing is available for EB-1 immigrants, which significantly results in a shorter period to have the application processed by the USCIS.

Does the EB-1 process require a sponsor or job offer?

The EB1-1 category requires no employer sponsorship (though an employer may sponsor such a petition) and does not require a Labor Certification to show that there are no minimally qualified U.S. workers for the job.

How long does it take for an EB-1 to be approved?

It usually takes 10 to 14 months for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process Form I-140, depending on which service center is reviewing the petition and on the backlog of immigration benefits currently being processed at the USCIS during the time of the application.

What happens after the EB-1 approval?

USCIS mails the applicant a Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card, upon approval. The date the Form I-485 is approved becomes the date of adjustment, determining how soon the newly adjusted Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) may apply for U.S. citizenship. Permanent Resident Cards are valid for ten years.


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