EB-1 (Extraordinary Ability/Outstanding Researcher/Professors)

First Preference


(Aliens Of Extraordinary Ability And Outstanding Researchers/Professors)

Under the U.S. immigration system, employment-based immigration application is divided into five categories, or preferences. Among the five preferences, the fourth and fifth preferences are only applicable to a very limited group of people as the fourth preference is for religious workers and the fifth for the investment immigrants. Hence, the first three categories are the most commonly applied preferences among the employment-based immigration applications.

Among the first three preferences of employment-based immigration application, first preference is a unique category because applicants applying through this category do not need to obtain a labor certificate, which is a time and cost consuming process. Accordingly, the standard set forth in the first preference (usually refereed to as “EB-1”) is higher than those for applications in the other two preferences.

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The first preference of employment-based immigration is further divided into three subcategories, i.e. aliens of extraordinary ability in certain field, outstanding professors and researchers, and managers and executives of international companies. Different requirements apply to applicants under each subcategory. In this Section, we group up and discuss only the requirement and procedure for alien of extraordinary ability and outstanding professors and researchers. A full section is separately created and dedicated to the discussion of the requirement and procedure for managers and executives of international companies.
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1) Definition

Under the immigration law, aliens with extraordinary ability refer to those who have extraordinary ability in the science, arts, education, business or athletics. To qualify, the applicant has to be “one of the very small percentages who are at the top of the field in which he or she specializes”.

2) Criteria & Requirements

An important test for the criteria of extraordinary ability is the receipt of an internationally recognized prize or award. Receipt of award, however, is not the sole factor for meeting the standard. Applicants can submit alternative evidence to show that he meets the extraordinary ability standard. To satisfy, the alien must establish that he or she meets three of the following ten criteria:

a) Receipt of lesser internationally or nationally recognized prize or award;

b) Membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members;

c) Published material about the alien;

d) Evidence that the alien is a judge of the work of others in the field;

e) Evidence of the alien’s original contributions of major significance to the field;

f) Authorship of scholarly articles;

g) Display of the alien’s work at artistic exhibitions or showcases;

h) Evidence the alien has performed in a leading or critical role for organizations that have a distinguished reputation;

i) Evidence that the alien commands high remuneration in relation to others in the field;

j) Evidence of commercial success in the performing arts.

3) No job offer or labor certificate required

As stated above, the main advantage to classify an alien as an EB-1 worker is that no job offer or labor certificate is required. In addition, unlike the other two subcategories, EB-1 worker may petition on his own behalf. Consequently, even if the institute or school the alien works for is not willing to sponsor any immigration application, the alien can still help himself by filing the application in his own name. This convenience is extremely important to the alien when a school is limited by policy or is without much knowledge in immigration and is shy away from sponsorship.

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1) Definition

For professors and researchers who are internationally recognized for their outstanding achievements in their field, they can apply to be classified as the second sub-category priority workers under first preference as an outstanding professors and researchers.

2) Requirements

a) Criteria

To qualify, the alien must prove that he or she is internationally recognized as outstanding in the specific field by satisfying at least two of the following criteria:

(i) Receipt of major prizes or awards;

(ii) Membership in associations which require outstanding achievements;

(iii)Published material in professional journals written by others about the alien;

(iv) Participation as a judge of the work of others in the field;

(v) Original scientific or scholarly research contributions to the field;

(vi) Authorship of scholarly books or articles in journals with international circulation in the field.

It should be noted that although outstanding professors or researchers normally have Ph.D. degrees, the possession of a doctorate is not a necessity under this subcategory. As such, many researchers with master degrees are also qualified for this category.

b) Three Years Experience

The alien must have at least three years of experience teaching or researching in his field. This may include experience gained while working for the employer petitioner and any combination of teaching or researching totaling three years.

c) Tenure position

The alien must enter the U.S. to pursue a tenure teaching or research position at a university or other institution of higher education. The position must be permanent. Practically, the applicant will have to submit employment contract with the university to show the permanency of the position. Although most of the employers are universities or academic institutions, the application is not limited to those types of entities only. However, the employer must have at least three full time researchers for the alien to be qualified for the application.

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Either the alien or the employer shall file EB-1 petition at the INS Regional Service Center with jurisdiction over the place where the alien will work. In the past, the processing time for EB-1 application is relatively short. In some jurisdictions, the processing time was as short as one month. Nevertheless, the processing time has been slowed down substantially. In consideration of the fact that no labor certificate is required for EB-1 application, however, EB-1 application should still be considered first if the alien is qualified.

The application for EB-1 classification is filed with Form I-140. The applicant must file all the documents to prove the above-referenced criteria. Once the classification is approved, the applicant can immediately file Form I-485 to INS for permanent residency application. The applicant can also apply for working permit and advance parole. As such, the applicant will not have to main his previous status, like H-1 or O-1, once he is in this stage of application if he receives the working permit from INS. He will also be free for traveling if he receives the advance parole from INS.

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To assist you understand your chance of being classified under this category, our firm will evaluate your resume for free. The evaluation is based on our experience in handling EB-1 and EB-2 cases. We will discuss with you the likelihood of your being classified as an alien of extraordinary ability or outstanding professor or researcher. It certainly would be to your great advantage and convenience to let our professionals and attorneys evaluate your credentials first. Please visit the “FREE EVALUATION” section of this page for detail.
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7. Sample Success Stories (Click Here)
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