EB-1 Foreign Nationals of Extraordinary Ability,
Outstanding Professors and Researchers,Multinational
Executives and Managers.
The extraordinary ability (EB-1) visa is reserved for the small
percentage of people who have risen to the very top of their
professional field. These individuals have proved extraordinary
ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics with
ongoing national or international acclaim. All of the above
individuals are eligible for permanent residence without having to
obtain a labor certification.
The applications for the first two groups of individuals require
substantial documentation establishing their national and/or
international renown and expertise. Multinational executives and
managers are only able to apply if they have worked for at least
one year for companies with the appropriate ownership
relationships and affiliations.
First Preference EB-1 Priority Workers
(No Labor Certification is required)
Priority workers are divided up into three subcategories:
1) Workers of Extraordinary Ability
Extraordinary ability is demonstrated through achievements that
have been publicly recognized in a period of sustained national or
2) Outstanding Professors and Researchers
An applicant qualifies for this category if they have an
international reputation in being particularly outstanding in a
particular academic field and have three years minimum of either
teaching or research experience in that field. Additionally, the
applicant must accept a teaching or tenure position at a research
university or accept a job conducting research with a research
organization or industry.
3) Multinational Executives and Managers
The qualifications for multinationals and executives are similar to
L-1 intracompany transfer visas.
An applicant may qualify for this category only if a qualified
company outside the U.S. employed them as an executive or
manager for at least one out of the past three years. The position
must be similar and with an United States branch, affiliate or
subsidiary of the same company.
You don’t need a labor certification, but you must show evidence
that you’ll continue to work in the United States in your field of
expertise. Documentation could include:
- Letter(s) from prospective employers
- Evidence of prearranged commitments, such as contracts
- A statement detailing how you plan to continue your work
while in the U.S.
You must show evidence that you’ve won national or international
acclaim and that your achievements have been recognized in
your field of expertise. Proof must include evidence of a one-time
achievement (such as an oscar or nobel prize) or at least three
of the following:
- Receiving a lesser national or international award or prize
for excellence in your field
- Membership in associations in your field, which require
outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by
recognized national or international experts
- Published material relating to your work in a professional or
major trade publication or major media
- Participation as a judge of others’ work in your field
- Original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic or business-
related contributions of major significance in your field
- Authorship of scholarly articles in your field, in professional
or major trade publication or other major media
- Having your work displayed at artistic exhibitions or
- Performing in a leading or critical role for organizations with
a distinguished reputation
- Making a high salary compared to others in your field
- Commercial successes in the performing arts (as shown by
box office receipts or record, cassette, CD or video sales)
All extraordinary ability petitions- called “I-140s,” must be filed at
the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (previously
INS) Regional Service Center with jurisdiction over where you’ll
Second Preference EB-2
(Labor Certifications are normally required for this category)
This category is applicable to workers who are members of the
professions holding advanced degrees or
their equivalent and workers who have exceptional ability in the
sciences, arts or business.
1) Advanced Degree Professionals
An advanced degree professional must hold a graduate level
degree, or a professional degree requiring postgraduate
education. An applicant can substitute the advanced degree
requirement with a bachelor's degree plus five years of
progressively responsible experience.
2) Persons of Exceptional Ability
This subcategory covers applicants in the area of arts, sciences
and business. Although the standard is less than international
acclaim the applicant must still be considered significantly more
accomplished than the average person in that profession.
EB-2 Workers With Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability
Individuals in this category normally must have a job offer and an
approved labor certification. The labor certification process is
comprehensive and involves demonstrating that the foreign
worker will not be taking a job away from a U.S. worker. If
individuals in this category can show that their entry is in the U.S.
national interest, both the labor certification and job offer
requirements can be waived.
Third Preference EB-3 (Labor Certification is required)
The EB-3 category is divided into three subcategories:
1) Skilled Workers
To qualify for this subcategory workers must be engaged in
occupations that need two years of training or experience. These
positions do not normally require a bachelor's degree.
Professionals include such occupations as architects, lawyers,
physicians, engineers, accountants, therapists and chemists. The
professionals subcategory in preference three requires that the
applicant have a bachelor's degree.
3) Unskilled workers
Occupations generally requiring less than two years of experience
fall into this category. The applicant must meet the qualifications
of the job and the job must not be seasonal or temporary.
Applicants categorized as unskilled workers will have to wait much
longer than applicants in the other subcategories, since this
category is severely backlogged.
EB-3 Skilled Workers and Professionals
Individuals in this category typically must have a job offer and
approved labor certification. While there is also an EB-3 unskilled
labor category, it is so backlogged that it really makes no sense
to proceed with a labor certification for an unskilled laborer.
Fourth Preference Religious Workers EB-4
The EB-4 Category encompasses religious workers, and former
employees of the United States government and other
This category covers religious workers that
1) have been a member of the religious organization of a
recognized religion that has a non-profit organization in the U.S.
for at least two years.
2) employed in that religious group for two years and
3) the sole reason for coming to the United States must be to
work as a religious worker for their religious organization.
The applicant must have a "Letter from the Authorized Official"
who belongs to the applicant's religious organization. The letter
(a) that the applicant performed work as a religious worker before
applying for the visa. Volunteer work does not suffice as work
experience. The applicant must have a minimum of 2 years
experience in the religious occupation or vocation.
(b) The letter must also show that the applicant qualifies for the
(c) Finally, the letter must explain how the applicant will be paid.
The applicant's organization will also need to provide
documentation demonstrating that it is a tax-exempt non-profit
In addition, the law provides three categories of religious workers
under EB-4 classification. They include:
(1) ministers of religion,
(2) professionals working in religious vocations or occupations;
(3) other workers in religious vocations or occupations.
Based on the information you provided, the third category
appears most appropriate for your intended employment. Working
in a religious occupation requires that the individual's occupation
relate to a traditional religious function. For instance, positions
that have met this definition are religious instructors, counselors,
EB-4 Special Immigrants
Ministers and other religious workers are eligible for permanent
residence in this classification provided they have worked for the
past two years in that same occupation for the same religious
Fifth Preference EB-5
10,000 visas per year have been set aside for investors who
either invest at least $500,000 in "targeted employment areas"
(rural areas or those experiencing high unemployment) or those
who invest $1,000,000 anywhere else. The new U.S. business
must create at least 10 jobs. There are numerous restrictions and
regulations regarding this category and anyone proceeding is
strongly advised to seek immigration counsel before doing so.
BOGLE & CHANG, LLC
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