If your company regularly petitions for green cards for your employees, you may be familiar with the EB-1 category, also known as the Einstein visa. In past months this visa has been in the news with regards to one of its more well-known recipients, Melania Trump.
The EB-1 refers to the first of five preference categories of an employment-based green card petition. While our First Lady might not be the first person to come to your mind when thinking of possible recipients of the Einstein visa, it is one that is available for a large variety of applicants. Let’s take a closer look at the requirements for those individuals wanting to apply for the EB-1 visa.
EB-1 Visa for Individuals With Extraordinary Abilities
As the nickname implies, this category applies to individuals who have exceptional abilities or have achieved extraordinary accomplishments. Individuals who can apply under this category include Nobel Prize recipients, athletes, international models, actors, musicians, or artists.
While this seems like a very broad category, the applicant has to meet a number of specific criteria set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to actually qualify for the EB-1 green card. One of the most important aspects of this category is the fact that an individual can petition for themselves, and no employer or employment offer is necessary.
Outstanding Professors and Researchers
This category is also available to individuals who have received international recognition for their research or other academic achievements in a specific field. To satisfy the criteria the applicant has to show at least three years of experience, in either research or teaching, in their field of expertise.
Unlike the category of individuals with extraordinary abilities, the applicant must present a job offer from a U.S. university or institution of higher education.
Multinational Manager or Executive
For most U.S. employers who are filing green card petitions for their foreign employees, this category is the most relevant one. A U.S. company may file an EB-1 green card petition for an employee who is either currently employed with, or has been employed at, a subsidiary, affiliate, or parent company abroad, in a managerial or executive position within the past three years, for at least one full year.
In general, individuals who qualify for this category are managing a team of employees, and are making decisions about hiring and firing. For example, an employee who entered the U.S. on an L-1A Intracompany Transferee Manager or Executive visa would most likely qualify under the EB-1 Multinational Manager or Executive category, based on the nature of their position abroad.
Benefits and Downsides of the EB-1 Visa
Depending on the category, the EB-1 visa can be a rather “quick” and direct pathway to permanent residence in the U.S. For all the above categories, the petitioning individual or employer can immediately file form I-140 with USCIS and wait for the decision. Unlike the EB-2 and EB-3 categories of the green card, a Labor Certification from the Department of Labor (DOL) is not required for the EB-1, which not only saves the petitioning U.S. employer a lot of time, but also a lot of money. In addition, throughout the year, the majority of dates on the visa bulletin for most, or even all, countries of EB-1 applicants are current.
However, especially when petitioning for an individual with exceptional abilities, it can be a very lengthy and detailed process to document those abilities and achievements as part of the EB-1 petition. Due to the wide range of individuals who could qualify under the different categories of the EB-1 category, it is under extremely high scrutiny by the USCIS. Even if an applicant satisfies the main requirements that allow them to file a petition, that does not ensure approval. Requests for evidence and denials are very frequent in the EB-1 category.