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EB-1 Priority Workers

The “EB-1” category stands for “Employment-Based First Preference Immigrant”.  Under this preference category, the USCIS will allow foreign workers to become lawful permanent residents in the US and obtain a Green Card.


What kinds of employees fall under the category of “Priority workers”?

The following foreign nationals or foreign workers enjoy first preference:

  • Foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in the fields of science, arts, education, business, or athletics
  • Outstanding professors and researchers
  • Multinational managers and executives


Who would fall under the category of “priority workers”?

Persons with extraordinary ability are those who have won acclaim and recognition in their own country or internationally. They must provide documentation of the awards and acclaim they have received to prove their extraordinary ability. Their petition for alien worker must be in the same field where they have an extraordinary ability and they must prove that their work will substantially benefit the United States.

Professors or researchers who have teaching or research experience for at least three years and they are recognized internationally. They come to the US to work at a university or college to continue teaching or doing research.

Multinational managers or executives must be employed as a manager or executive for at least three years by the overseas branch, affiliate or subsidiary of the US employer. They must come to the US to render services to the same employer or to a branch, affiliate or subsidiary of the same employer, and work in a similar managerial or executive capacity.


Why are these workers labeled as “priority workers” and why do they occupy the first preference?

These workers occupy the first tier of the preference system for immigration through employment because having them work in the United States serves the national interests of the United States. The preference system for employment-based immigration depends on the contribution that the workers may make to the economic, scientific, technological and social contribution to the United States.


How can priority workers prove that they have extraordinary ability?

They can provide evidence of having:

  • received nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence,
  • membership in associations which demand outstanding achievement from its members,
  • published material,
  • judged the work of others in a competition,
  • authored original scientific, scholarly or artistic contributions,
  • authored scholarly articles,
  • participated in exhibits or showcases,
  • achieved commercial success in the performing arts.


How can priority workers prove that they are outstanding professors or researchers?

The primary beneficiary must provide evidence of having:

  • Received major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement, or
  • membership in associations that require outstanding achievement,
  • published material in professional publications,
  • participated as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field,
  • made original scientific or scholarly research contributions,
  • authored articles or
  • books published.


What is the benefit of falling under this first preference category?

Persons with extraordinary abilities do not need to wait for their US employer to file an application for a labor certification from the Department of Labor or an immigrant petition for alien worker with the USCIS. The worker himself or herself can file their own petitions. However, priority workers such as professors, researchers, managers and executives, their employer must file the petition for alien worker on their behalf.


How long does it take to process the petition for alien worker?

The length of time for the USCIS to process a petition for alien workers depends on several factors. The petition must be completely filled-up with no blank spaces. The supporting documents must be verifiable. If the supporting documents are in a language other than English, these must be accompanied by a translation.


How long after a petition for alien worker is approved will an immigrant visa be issued?

Again, the length of time it takes for the National Visa Center to issue an immigrant visa depends on the availability of visas. There are a lot of people waiting in line for an immigrant visa. Some people wait for several years before their priority date is reached.


What types of documents will be required?

You will be required to submit photocopies of your passport.  The photocopies must be sent along with the petition. The passport must be valid for six months beyond the date of intended entry into the US.  You will be required to submit photographs, as well as birth certificates, marriage certificates, adoption decrees or divorce decrees. You will also be required to submit medical examination forms and vaccination certificates. The original copies of these documents may be required of you when you come for your immigrant interview.


Will I need to come for an interview?

Yes, the National Visa Center will require all applicants for immigrant visas to come for an interview. They will receive an email inviting them to come and informing them of the time and date of their interview.

At the interview at the US Consulate or US Embassy, the applicant will bring their valid passports and other documents such as the results of the medical examination and the vaccination examination. If approved, the passport will be returned with the immigrant visa attached to it.


What will I do when the immigrant visa is issued to me?

When the immigrant visa is issued to you, there is a date indicated on the visa. You must enter the US before the date indicated on the visa.


What happens when I travel to the US?

Using the immigrant visa, you can travel to the US. When you travel to the US, you must present yourself for inspection and admission at a US port of entry. You will request permission to enter the US and the Customs and Border Protection will inspect you to confirm that you are eligible for admission. At the port of entry, the Department of Homeland Security through the officers of the Customs and Border Protection will either allow or deny your request for admission to the US.


Can a request for an immigrant visa be denied?

Even when the petition for alien worker has been approved by the USCIS, the application for an immigrant visa or the request for admission to the US may still be denied if it is determined that the applicant:

  • May have a communicable disease which is of a public health significance (such as tuberculosis) or
  • Has not provided sufficient documentation that you have received vaccination for the preventable diseases recommended by the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices.
  • May have a physical or mental disorder which poses a threat to the property, safety or welfare of yourself or to others.
  • Is found to be a drug abuser or a drug addict
  • Has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude
  • Has been convicted of a crime relating to a controlled substance
  • Is coming to the US solely to engage in prostitution or has engaged in prostitution
  • Has engaged in or supports terrorist activities

There are other grounds for which an applicant for immigration may be denied an immigrant visa.


When will the Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) be issued to me?

When you have been issued the immigrant visa and paid the immigrant fee, and you have been admitted to the US, the Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) will be mailed to you.


When can I begin working?

After you enter the US and you have been issued your Permanent Resident Card and your Social Security Number Card, you can begin working.


Do you need help filing a petition for alien worker? Do you need advice regarding how to prove extraordinary ability or acclaim? Do you need help in preparing for the immigrant interview?  Do you need to determine if there may be reasons why you cannot be admitted to the United States as an immigrant? Call any of our immigration lawyers at Lluis Law. We are ready to help you.