The EB1 Categories:

EB-1A * EB-1B * EB-1C


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EB1A: Alien of Extraordinary Ability

It is often acknowledged that the U.S. encourages people with extraordinary ability in the field of sports, arts, sciences, education or business who have received national or international acclaim. To be eligible for an EB1A, this acclaim can be evidenced through documents like receipt of awards and other recognitions, and proof that these people are expected to continue in their field of expertise after permanent residence and will contribute beneficially to the country.

EB1B: Outstanding Researcher/Professor

Academicians who have a minimum of 3 years of academic research or teaching experience and are internationally recognized in their academic endeavors can apply for an EB1B as outstanding researchers or outstanding professors. For the EB1B, it is important that they have at least three years of research experience to their credit and have documented evidence of their extraordinary contributions in the institutions or companies they have worked with. Moreover, for the EB1B, it is mandatory for them to have tenured or tenure-track positions at universities or institutes of higher education. As an alternate, they must have comparable research positions in private companies that employ at least three full-time researchers at any given time.

EB1C: Multinational Managers And Executive Transferees

Individuals who have been employed abroad as multinational executives or managers for a minimum of 12 months of the three years before applying for admittance to U.S. as priority workers are eligible to apply under this category (the EB1C). It is also imperative that these individuals (individuals applying for an EB1C) should enter the U.S. continuing to be employed as executives or managers for the establishment that employed them abroad. 


It is important to note that people who qualify for an EB1 petition are at an advantage because they do not require a Labor Certification which is difficult and expensive to obtain. Even after which the applicant could be denied entry because a U.S. worker with technical qualifications for the employment is found, even if he is professionally unfit for the position under consideration.


Also, for an EB1A petition, a permanent job offer is not mandatory and an individual could petition immigration all by himself without sponsorship from a U.S. employer. In the case of EB1B and EB1C petitions, a permanent job offer from a U.S. employer who is the petitioner, is essential.

The EB1 Application Process For Aliens With Extraordinary Ability

An EB1A applicant must be a nationally and internationally acclaimed and recognized professional in his field to file for a Petition for Alien Worker for an alien with extraordinary ability (EB1A). Documentary evidence must be enclosed with the Petition for Alien Worker for an alien of extraordinary ability to support his claims/in order to potentially receive an EB1A.

It is commonly assumed that an EB1A immigration visa has stringent qualification standards and is usually difficult to get an approval for the same. Hence most immigrants avoid applying for permanent residence status in this EB1A category.

Permanent residence applications in EB2 and EB3 categories for certain countries take years to get approved, even for individuals with extraordinary ability. Therefore, they are increasingly opting for the EB1 extraordinary ability (EB1A or EB1EA) category which is immediately available through the first preference channel.


The Petition for Alien Worker for an alien with extraordinary ability must be supported with documentary evidence to prove the alien’s recognition and as per the regulations should have “sustained national or international acclaim in the field of endeavor”.


USCIS regulations do not necessary mandate the need to have a doctorate degree for the EB1A applicant which is normally a set expectation for establishing credentials of having extraordinary ability/for being eligible for an EB1A.

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What Are The EB1 Requirements To Qualify For An EB1A Extraordinary Ability Immigrant Visa?

An applicant could qualify for an EB1A extraordinary ability immigrant visa if he:


1) Has an extraordinary ability in business, science, arts, education or athletics

2) Has achieved national or international acclaim in his field

3) Will work in the United States in his area of extraordinary ability


If an EB1A applicant has fulfilled all the above mentioned requirements, he does not need to have a job offer as long as he will continue working in his field of expertise after coming into the United States. Alternatively, if the EB1A applicant has a job offer, then the U.S. employer can file the initial EB application through the Petition for Alien Worker for him with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The Principle Differences Between An EB1A (Alien With Extraordinary Ability) And EB1B (Outstanding Researcher/Professor)

  1. The applicant filing for the EB1A extraordinary ability petition does not need to have a job offer in hand, but the applicant filing for the EB1B outstanding professors/researchers petition mandatorily needs to have a job offer from a U.S employer because he cannot self-file for the EB1B outstanding professors and researchers petition without such a sponsorship.
  2. The EB1A petitioner for alien with extraordinary ability must have enough evidence to prove that he really has “extraordinary ability” in his field, an expectation which is usually a lot higher than the “outstanding ability” required for an EB1B petition.
  3. The EB1 extraordinary ability applicant needs to establish the receipt of an internationally acknowledged award, or fulfill at least three of ten criteria, and substantiate it with relevant documentation. The EB1B outstanding professors and researchers applicants, however, need to only demonstrate that they have achieved international recognition as outstanding individuals in academics, or by meeting at least two of the six criteria laid down by the USCIS.
  • The USCIS has laid down its requirements for an EB1A extraordinary ability application which is as mentioned below: “The EB1 Extraordinary Ability classification applies to individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. The individual must demonstrate that they have sustained national or international acclaim, and that their achievements have been recognized in the field of expertise, indicating that they are one of that small percent who has risen to the top of their field of endeavor. The individual must plan to continue to work in their area of extraordinary ability and must substantially benefit the United States.”

Similarities And Differences Between The EB1A and EB1B Categories

The Similarities

  • Both the categories (EB1A and EB1B) do not require a Labor Certification
  • Both categories (EB1A and EB1B) have to establish evidence of achievement and of extraordinary or outstanding ability
  • Documentation supporting either of the petitions (EB1A and EB1B) is similar

The Differences

  • The “extraordinary ability” category (EB1A) generally needs to establish higher accomplishment and skills than the EB1B category
  • The “extraordinary ability” category (EB1A) can apply to diverse fields like the sciences, arts, education, business, or sports, while the “outstanding researcher or professor” category (EB1B) is restricted to scientific or academic fields
  • The “extraordinary ability” category (EB1A) does not need a job offer, while the “outstanding researcher or professor” category (EB1B) must have a job offer from a US employer
  • The EB1A applicant can self-petition in the “extraordinary ability” category (EB1A) without a U.S. employer’s sponsorship, while the EB1B applicant petitioning as an “outstanding researcher or professor” (EB1B) needs a sponsorship from a US employer
  • The “outstanding researcher or professor” category (EB1B) needs a minimum of three years experience in his field, while the “extraordinary ability” category (EB1A) needs no minimum experience in any particular field

O-1 Visa Holders And Their EB1A Extraordinary Ability Application

An O-1 visa approval does not automatically qualify for the approval of EB1A classification for extraordinary ability. USCIS does not consider the fact that it had earlier issued the O-1 visa to the applicant, if the particulars submitted do not support approval of the EB1 petition.


USCIS treats every petition as separate and independent, and adjudicates each on its own merits as per the prevalent statutory and regulatory requirements. Different standards and criteria have been established for O-1 nonimmigrant visa applicants in the arts, athletics, and the entertainment industry. So, an individual may have the necessary “distinction” to qualify for the O-1 nonimmigrant visa but still has to have “national or international acclaim” to fulfill the EB1A requirements/ immigrant criteria.


Therefore, the EB1A applicant still has to address and fulfill all the requirements laid down by the USCIS for getting an approval.

Our offices have experience helping EB1A applicants fulfill all the USCIS requirements for an EB1A visa. Call our offices for more information!

An EB1A Petition For A J-1 Visa Holder

A J-1 visa holder is not required to have a J-1 waiver (two-year home country residency requirement) to file a Petition for Alien Worker under the EB1A extraordinary ability category. The J-1 visa holder can file the EB1A petition and get the J-1 waiver later, but he is still subject to the two-year home country residency requirement even after the EB1A approval, until he gets the J-1 waiver and only then can he move his status from J-1 to U.S. permanent residency.


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