First Preference – Employment Based Immigration. If you meet one of three categories, you may qualify for this visa:

  • Extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics.
  • Outstanding professors or researchers.
  • Managers and executives subject to international transfer.

One advantage to qualifying under the first-preference employment based visas, is that no labor certificate is required. Labor Certificates must be acquired through the U.S. Department of Labor and are time consuming and expensive.

1.a. – Extraordinary Ability

USCIS Requirements for Extraordinary Ability (EA):

You must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. Your achievements must be recognized in your field through extensive documentation. No offer of employment is required.

USCIS Evidence:

You must meet 3 of 10 criteria below, or provide evidence of a one-time achievement (i.e., Pulitzer, Oscar, Olympic Medal)

Criteria for Demonstrating Extraordinary Ability:

You must meet 3 out of the 10 listed criteria below to prove extraordinary ability in your field and provide the following supporting documents as evidence:

  1. Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence.
  2. Membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members.
  3. Published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media.
  4. Evidence that you have been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel.
  5. Original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field.
  6. Authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media.
  7. Evidence that your work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases.
  8. Documents of performances in a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations.
  9. Command a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field.
  10. Documents of commercial successes in the performing arts.

1.b. – Outstanding Professors and Researchers

USCIS Requirements for Professors and Researchers:

You must demonstrate international recognition for your outstanding achievements in a particular academic field. You must have at least 3 years’ experience in teaching or research in that academic area. You must be entering the United States in order to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education.

USCIS Evidence:

You must include documentation of at least two listed below and an offer of employment from the prospective U.S. employer.

Examples of Documentary Evidence That a Person is an Outstanding Professor or Researcher:

  1. Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement.
  2. Membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement.
  3. Published material in professional publications written by others about the alien’s work in the academic field.
  4. Participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field.
  5. Original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field Evidence of authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field.


USCIS Requirements for Manager or Executive:

You must have been employed outside the United States in the 3 years preceding the petition for at least 1 year by a firm or corporation and you must be seeking to enter the United States to continue service to that firm or organization. Your employment must have been outside the United States in a managerial or executive capacity and with the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the employer.

USCIS Evidence:

Your petitioning employer must be a U.S. employer. Your employer must have been doing business for at least 1 year, as an affiliate, a subsidiary, or as the same corporation or other legal entity that employed you abroad.

Related Forms

Application for EB-1 Priority Worker (USCIS Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker).

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