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First Preference

First Preference (EB-1) Employment-Based Permanent Residency Applications
The first employment-based immigration preference category covers "priority workers," applicants whose skills and talents are significant to the US.  The annual cap on EB-1 visas is 40,000, plus any visas left over from the fourth and fifth employment based preference categories. Since the annual cap on visas in the EB-1 category never is met, there are no backlogs in visa processing in this category.
One of the most significant aspects of the EB-1 category is that a labor certification is not required.  As a result, the entire Green Card process is much faster than in categories for which a labor certification is required.
The EB-1 category covers three groups:
  1. Aliens of extraordinary ability
  2. Outstanding professors and researchers
  3. International managers and executives

Extraordinary ability is defined as a "level of expertise indicating that the individual is one of those few who have risen to the top of the field of endeavor."  This category covers applicants with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or sports. The extraordinary ability category does not require a job offer, as long as the applicant states that he or she will continue to work in the field of their extraordinary ability in the US. In this EB1 category, the applicant may file a petition on his or her own behalf; it is not necessary to have a sponsoring employer file the petition.  Further, it is not necessary to obtain a labor certification to apply for a Green Card as an alien of extraordinary ability.
There are two ways in which to prove that a candidate qualifies in the extraordinary ability category. First, the applicant may demonstrate that he or she have received a major, internationally recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize or an Academy Award. The second alternative is to provide evidence of three of the following criteria:
  1. Receipt of lesser national or international prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor
  2. Membership in associations in the field of endeavor that require outstanding achievements of their members
  3. Published material about the applicant and his or her work in professional journals, trade publications, or major media
  4. Participation, either in a group or alone, as a judge of others in the same or a similar field
  5. Original scientific, scholarly, or artistic contributions of major significance in the field of endeavor
  6. Authorship of scholarly articles in the field, published in professional journals or major media
  7. Display of the applicant's work at artistic exhibitions or showcases in more than one country
  8. Performance in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations with a distinguished reputation
  9. Commanding a high salary compared to others in the field
  10. Commercial success in the performing arts, as shown by box office receipts and sales
  11. Receipt of lesser national or international prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor
Other suitable evidence may be provided to demonstrate extraordinary ability.  The documentation in this alternate category generally includes evidence that is specific to the particular occupation of the applicant.
The second Green Card application subcategory within the EB-1 category is for Outstanding Professors and Researchers.  The documentary requirements for in the Outstanding Professor\Researcher category are as follows:
  1. International recognition as outstanding in a specific academic field; and
  2. At least three years experience teaching or conducting research in the field of expertise. The teaching or research experience can be gained while the applicant is enrolled in an advanced program if the applicant had full responsibility for the courses taught, or the research is recognized as outstanding; and
  3. An offer of employment. The offer of employment may be expressed as follows:
    • A tenure or tenure-track teaching position or a comparable research position, or
    • A research position with no fixed term in a position in which the employee would generally have the expectation of permanent employment, or
    • A research position with a private company, if the employer has at least three full-time researchers and has documented research accomplishments in the field.
Unlike the extraordinary ability sub-category, applicants in the outstanding professor or researcher subcategory must have a job offer. However, it is not necessary to obtain a labor certification to apply for a Green Card as an outstanding professor or researcher.
Applicants can demonstrate qualification as an outstanding professor or researcher by meeting at least two of the following criteria:
  1. Receipt of a major international prize or award for outstanding achievement in the academic field,
  2. Membership in associations that require outstanding achievements of their members,
  3. Material in professional publications written by others about the applicant’s work,
  4. Participation as a judge of the work of others in the field,
  5. Original contributions in the field, or
  6. Authorship of scholarly books or articles in journals with international circulation.
Additionally, applicants must submit letters from past employers documenting at least three years of teaching or research experience.
The sponsoring employer must submit a letter outlining the employment offer to the professor or researcher. The letter must include the basic terms of employment, including the salary offered, and a detailed description of the position offered to the applicant.
Private employers must demonstrate that they employ three full-time researchers and that research conducted by the employer has resulted in documented accomplishments.  Employers may demonstrate such accomplishments through published articles, patents, and other evidence of research expertise.
The third Green Card application subcategory within the EB-1 category is for Multinational Executives and Managers.  To qualify as a multinational executive or manager based on a transfer to a US company, the applicant must have worked for an affiliate of the Petitioner for at least one year out of the three years preceding his or her transfer to the US. The qualifying work experience need not necessarily have been completed in one continuous period, but may be aggregated. The prior work for the foreign affiliate and the anticipated work for the US entity must be in an executive or managerial capacity. The US business must have been established at least one year prior to the filing of the EB-1 petition.
Executive capacity within the EB-1 category refers to a position in which the managerial employee:
  1. Directs the management of the company or a component or function of the company;
  2. Establishes goals and policies;
  3. Exercises wide latitude in discretionary decision making; and
  4. Receives only general supervision or direction from higher level executives, board of directors, or stockholders.
The overall size of the company is also a factor in determining whether or not a position qualifies as an executive position. The larger the company, the easier it is to qualify the employee as a multinational executive.
Managerial capacity is defined as a position in which the employee personally:
  1. Manages the company or a department, subdivision, function or component of the company,
  2. Supervises and controls other supervisory, professional or managerial employees, or manages an essential function within the company or a department or subdivision of the company;
  3. Has authority to make personnel decisions or recommend personnel actions; and
  4. Exercises discretion over day-to-day operations of the activity or function.
As with executives, the size of the company is an important factor.  The larger the company, the easier it is to qualify the employee as a multinational manager.