EB1 Visa: The Complete Guide

EB1 VisaWhen it comes to obtaining a visa to live and work in the United States, the EB1 visa is a highly sought-after option.

The EB1 visa, also known as the Employment-Based Extraordinary Ability Green Card, First Preference, offers numerous benefits for immigrants with extraordinary abilities in their respective fields.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore what the EB1 visa entails, its eligibility criteria, the associated benefits, requirements, fees, and processing times.

What Are EB1 Visas?

EB1 visas are permanent residency visas designed for immigrants seeking to settle in the United States. These visas fall under the employment-based category and are highly coveted due to the advantages they offer. However, the EB1 visa is exclusively available to immigrants who can prove their extraordinary ability in fields such as arts, sciences, business, or other areas. In order to establish extraordinary ability, individuals must provide evidence of sustained national or international acclaim.

EB1 Visa Criteria

To be eligible for an EB1 visa, certain criteria must be met. As mentioned earlier, individuals must demonstrate extraordinary ability in order to obtain a visa. This can be accomplished by winning international or national awards as an individual, team, or company. Additionally, evidence of coaching others to achieve significant recognition can also be considered.

Another criterion involves being a member of a group or association that has high achievement standards, as judged by professionals. It’s important to note that paid memberships do not meet this requirement.

Being featured in high-profile publications is another important criterion for the EB1 visa. This includes recognition in large media or trade magazines, while local media is generally excluded.

Furthermore, applicants can strengthen their case by providing additional evidence. Notable achievements within their field, contributions made, such as high salaries, patents or inventions, or running a highly profitable enterprise, can all serve as valid proof.

It is advisable to consult with an attorney specializing in immigration law to ensure that all relevant criteria are met and to increase the chances of a successful EB1-1 visa application.

Benefits of EB1 Green Card

The EB1 visa comes with several benefits that make it highly desirable among immigrants. Let’s explore some of the advantages offered by this green card:

Exemption from the PERM process:

Unlike many other green cards, the EB1 visa does not require individuals to go through the Program’s Electronic Review Management (PERM) process. The PERM process involves the Department of Labor’s assessment of whether a U.S.-based worker can fill the position intended for the immigrant applicant.

Current visa priority dates:

The waiting time for an EB1 visa can be significantly shorter compared to other green cards. This means that individuals applying for an EB1 visa may face less enforced waiting time.

While the benefits of the EB1 visa are appealing, it’s important to note that obtaining this visa can be challenging, and not all applicants will be successful.

EB1 Visa Requirements

To qualify for an EB1 visa, specific requirements must be met. Let’s examine these requirements in detail:

Extraordinary Ability:

The extraordinary ability must be proven in one’s particular field, such as arts, business, education, athletics, or sciences. To establish extraordinary ability, applicants must meet at least three out of the ten criteria set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Alternatively, exceptional achievements in the field can also be presented as evidence.

Outstanding Professor or Researcher:

This criterion applies to individuals who have gained international recognition for their outstanding performance in a specific academic field. Additionally, a minimum of three years of experience as a teacher or researcher in the same academic field is required. The intention to pursue tenure-track or tenure teaching or to assume a research position in a university or equivalent educational institution within the U.S. must be demonstrated. The evidence provided should meet at least two of the six criteria specified by the USCIS.

Multinational Executive or Manager:

This criterion is intended for individuals seeking to continue working for a business or organization that employed them in an executive or managerial capacity in a different country. The employment must have occurred within the three years preceding the application. Furthermore, the petitioning employer must be a U.S.-based employer and have engaged in business for at least one year prior to submitting the application.

EB1 Visa Fees

Applying for an EB1 visa requires careful consideration of the associated fees. It is important to budget accordingly to cover the costs involved in the application process. Here is a detailed breakdown of the fees associated with an EB1 visa:

I-140 Basic Filing Fee:

The I-140 basic filing fee is the responsibility of the employer and amounts to $700. This fee is paid when submitting the Form I-140, which is the petition for the EB1 visa.

I-485 Filing Fee:

The I-485 filing fee varies depending on the age and refugee status of the applicant. It is important to note that the I-485 fee covers the application for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident.

Here is a breakdown of the I-485 filing fees:

If the applicant is below the age of 14 and filing without a parent, the filing fee is $1,140.

If the applicant is below the age of 14 and filing with a parent, the filing fee is $750.

For applicants above the age of 78, the filing fee is $1,140, and no biometrics fee is required.

For applicants between the ages of 14 and 78, the filing fee is $1,225, which includes the mandatory biometrics fee.

Biometrics Fee:

In certain cases, applicants are required to provide biometrics, such as fingerprints and a photograph. The biometrics fee is $85 and is separate from the I-485 filing fee. It is important to follow the instructions provided by USCIS for scheduling and completing the biometrics appointment.

Premium Processing:

Premium processing is an optional service that expedites the processing time of the EB1 visa application. By choosing premium processing, applicants can receive a decision on their case within 15 calendar days. However, it is important to note that premium processing incurs an additional fee of $2,500.

It is crucial to review the most up-to-date fee schedule provided by USCIS, as fees may change over time. Additionally, it is important to ensure that all required fees are paid accurately and in the accepted methods of payment specified by USCIS.

In some cases, certain fees may be waived for specific individuals, such as refugees. It is advisable to consult with an immigration attorney or refer to the USCIS website to determine if any fee waivers or reduced fees apply to your situation.

Remember that the fees associated with the EB1 visa application are subject to change, so it is essential to stay updated with the latest information from USCIS. Properly budgeting for these fees and ensuring their timely payment is an important aspect of the EB1 visa application process.

EB1 Visa Processing Time

Typically, the processing time for an EB1 visa application is approximately 8 months. Following the approval of the I-140, it may take an additional 6 months for the government to issue the green card.

However, for faster processing, premium processing can be opted for, which can provide a processing decision in as little as 15 calendar days. It is important to note that premium processing incurs additional costs.


The EB1 visa is highly sought after by many individuals; however, not everyone will have the opportunity to obtain it.

To qualify, it is essential to meet the eligibility criteria and prepare all necessary documentation for the application process. Consulting with an immigration attorney specializing in EB1 visas can greatly enhance the chances of a successful application.

It is important to approach the EB1 visa application process with careful consideration, as well as a thorough understanding of the requirements, fees, and processing times involved.

With the right preparation and guidance, the EB1 visa can open doors to exciting opportunities in the United States for individuals with extraordinary abilities.

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