US EB-1 Visa: Employment Sponsored Visas

The U.S Immigration visa does not only cater to family and immediate relatives, it also grants visas to people who are certified to work in the U.S. The Employment Sponsored Visas would allow foreign employee/worker to work without an Employment Authorization Document, as long as they already have an employer that hired them to work and relocate to the U.S permanently. There are 5 types of employment visas and each type is designated with the letter E:

  • EB-1 Visa is the visa type for First Priority Workers. It is for highly capable people with extraordinary talent in arts, athletics, business or education, outstanding university professor or researchers and as well as executive or managers that are employed for 3 years in an overseas branch of a U.S company.
  • EB-2 Visa or Second Priority Workers Visa is for experts in their profession who hold an advanced degree or someone with exceptional abilities above the ordinary in the field of arts, business or sciences.
  • EB-3 Visa or Third Priority Workers Visa is another visa type catered for “skilled workers” who gained over 2 years of experience, professionals that possess a higher education degree than normal requirement and unskilled workers that have less than 2 years of experience (EW-3 Visa).
  • EB-4 Visa or Fourth Priority Workers Visa is for special immigrants working in different religious, government, or international organizations.
  • EB-5 Visa also called Fifth Priority Workers Visa is another visa type for venture capitalists who are willing to invest $500K to $1 million in the U.S.

Employment Sponsored Visas are only set to 140,000 visas annually and the total is allocated in the 5 visa types, thus processing may take time. Those who are interested in applying for Employment Sponsored Visas must take note that when the number of visas maxed out within the year, the remaining applications will be lined up for the succeeding years to come. U.S Visa applicants must observe the given priority dates to be able to pass immigration requests.

The next section will further discuss the details, requirements, procedures and other significant particulars of the  EB-1 visa.

What is the EB-1 visa?

The EB-1 Visa is for First Priority Workers. This visa is the first category of employment-based immigration visas in the U.S. The EB-1 visa allows people with remarkable academic and great work achievements to permanently reside in the U.S. Visa applicants will then be granted to migrate in the U.S. permanently if they can attest their accomplishments. Once granted with EB-1 visa, the person can get U.S documents like having a driver’s license, possessing a property, continue schooling or even get married and start a family. They can eventually apply for a U.S citizenship when they don’t face any complications with their EB-1 visa.

The U.S government divided the EB-1 visa into three sub-categories based on achievements. The sub-categories are the following:

  • People with extraordinary abilities in arts, science, education, athletics, and business. The achievements of these people must be extensive and/or internationally recognized and they do not need an employment offer to apply for the EB-1 visa.
  • Outstanding professors and researchers who have received international recognition for their contributions in their fields. The professors and researchers must have at least 3 years of experience in research or teaching and they must prove that they are coming to the U.S to continue advancing their field in a research or teaching position in a university.
  • Multinational managers or executives who have been working for an international branch of a U.S company for at least 1 year in the past 3 years. They must be applying for the EB-1 visa to continue working for that company and their position in the U.S must match or be higher than the one they had in the foreign country.

What are the EB-1 Requirements?

There are certain requirements that applicants must comply with depending on the three sub-categories of the EB-1 visa. To be entitled under the Extraordinary Ability category, the applicant must validate at least 3 criteria listed below or must successfully attain an Oscar, Pulitzer, or Olympic Medal prize.

  • A proof that you are a recipient of a prize/citation for accomplishments and excellence nationally or internationally.
  • A proof indicating that you are part of an association that constantly challenges members to improve and upgrade for their field.
  • A proof that you are well-acknowledged in journals and media with your published papers or research in your field.
  • A proof that you have been requested to individually judge or join a panel to assess another person’s work in your field.
  • A proof that you have substantial academic, scientific, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions in your field.
  • A proof that you have authored articles that are released in leading media or publications.
  • A proof that your work/creation was highlighted in various exhibits.
  • A proof that you have carried out an important role working in an outstanding institution.
  • A poof that in your specific field, you earned high pay and you are likely to be paid more than other people.
  • A proof that in performing arts, you are acknowledged to have commercial achievements.

Next, for the Professor and Researcher category, the applicant must already get an offer from an employer in the U.S. and validate at least 2 criteria listed below:

  • A proof that you are a recipient of any awards or prizes for accomplishments
  • A proof indicating that you are part of an association that constantly challenges members to improve and upgrade for their field.
  • A proof that you are well-acknowledged in journals and media with your published papers or research in your field.
  • A proof that you have been requested to individually judge or join a panel to assess another person’s work in your field.
  • A proof that you have contributed academically or scientifically in your field.
  • A proof that you have authored articles or books in your field.

Lastly, in applying for a Multinational Manager or Executive EB-1 visa, you must have a job offer from an overseas branch of the U.S company and you were employed with them.

How to Apply for the EB-1 Visa?

There are a number of steps required for both employer and foreign employee in applying for an EB-1 visa. The EB-1 visa application is divide into 2 parts:

  • Necessary files are needed to be acquired by the U.S employer such as petitions and labor certification
  • Once approved, the foreign employee then proceeds to apply for an EB-1 visa at their home country’s U.S Embassy

In case that you want to apply based on having Extraordinary Abilities, you have to file an application yourself and no need for an employer to file on your behalf. On the other hand, for the other subcategories of EB-1 visa applicants such as Multinational Managers and Professors/Researchers, the employers need to file the application for you.

Application Procedures From U.S Employer

Acquiring a Labor Certification

Obtaining labor certification is the first requirement for a U.S employer to be able to hire an employee from another country and this can be accomplished by filing the Form ETA 750 to the DOL. In this case, the U.S employer declares upon form completion that they have attempted in hiring an employee in the U.S. but could not fill the position and will be paying the foreign worker with the prevalent wage. The DOL will process the form and will notify the employer and employee about their decision. Assuming that the certification is approved, the U.S employer can proceed to the next step, but if it gets denied, the foreign worker is not permitted to obtain an EB-1 visa.

Petition Filing

Aside from the labor certification, a petition to the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is also needed to be filed by the employer with Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. The employer must verify that the company is financially stable with financial statements, audits, and tax returns. On the other hand, applicants for Extraordinary Ability EB-1 visa must file the petition themselves to the USCIS and handle the fee.

USCIS will process the petition and inform the employer about their decision. Assuming that the petition is approved, the matter will be brought to the National Visa Center (NVC), but if it gets denied, the U.S company is not allowed to employ a foreign worker.

When the approved petition reaches the NVC, a case number and invoice ID number are given. The case number and invoice ID number will be bundled with instructions and information on how to apply and will be mailed to the foreign employee’s home country. You must keep in mind that there is a limited number on EB-1 visa applications, the NVC will only dispatch the applicant’s documents when the priority date becomes current.

Application Procedures From Foreign Worker

File Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application

Completing the DS-260 form acts as the foreign worker’s application for the EB-1 visa. Then, the U.S Embassy or Consulate of their home country will process the form.

Complete medical examination and vaccination

The applicant is required to get medical examinations and vaccinations that are indicated in the NVC package. These documents are then required to be signed by a licensed doctor.

Gather the Supporting Documents File

The following supporting documents must be submitted after the NVC approves the Form DS-260.

  • A passport with validity of more than 6 months after planned flight to the U.S.
  • The employment offer from your U.S employer
  • An approved labor certification
  • An approved petition
  • The confirmation page of your Form DS-260 confirmation page
  • Medical and vaccine documents signed by the doctor
  • 2 photographs that conform with Photo Requirements
  • Evidence that you are fit for the category you are applying for
  • Letters that have given by former employers
  • Criminal and court records
  • Additional supporting documents may be required by the NVC depending on your situation

Be Present at the Visa Interview

After the NVC checks on your application and supporting documents, an interview will be scheduled at the U.S Embassy where you sent your application. In the interview, be clear and distinct in answering the questions about your background. In the end, the interviewer will carry out the final verdict if you will likely obtain an EB-1 visa or not.

Accept the NVC Package and Travel to the U.S

Once your application for EB-1 visa is approved, a package from NVC will be sent to you. This package must only be opened when you reach the U.S. You have to present this to the immigration officer at the U.S port of entry. The immigration officers are the only ones authorized to open the package and determine if you are granted access to the U.S or not.

What are the EB-1 visa fees?

When applying for an EB-1 visa, you are accountable for paying certain fees. The USCIS and the U.S Embassy where you want to send your application will determine the cost. Here are the following fees that you have to pay:

  • The petition filing fee for USCIS Form I-140
  • Processing fee for Form DS-260
  • Medical examination fees
  • Fees incurred in getting support documents
  • Translation fees for interpreting the foreign language to English

How Long is the EB-1 Visa Processing Time?

EB-1 visa processing might take a while, due to a limited number of employment-based visas allowed per year. It might take several months or years, relying upon the number of applicants ahead of you. In the end, all will depend on when you have submitted your application.

How to Get a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) Status?

After acquiring an EB-1 visa, your next move is to obtain Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status in the U.S. or also recognized as getting a Green Card. To replace your immigrant status to LPR, an approved petition from USCIS is needed. Then filing up and processing this Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status to USCIS. Once your application is approved, a mail will be sent to you within a few weeks containing the Green Card.