First Preference Employment-based visa (EB-1)
Persons with Extraordinary Ability (EB-1A)
If you are someone with extraordinary ability in the fields of sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, you may qualify for permanent residency (“green card”) by self-petitioning, meaning that you do not need to have an employer in the U.S. in order to apply, as long as you are coming to continue work in your field.
The law defines a person with “extraordinary ability” as someone within a small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.
You will need to show through extensive documentation that you sustained national or international acclaim and your achievements have been clearly recognized in your field through evidence of national or international awards, your own scholarly publications, media articles about you, your leadership roles, commanding a high salary, serving as a judge of other works, and letters of endorsement from experts in your field, among other things.
Although a U.S. job offer is not a requirement, you will still need to demonstrate that your continued work in the U.S. will substantially benefit the country. It is very helpful if you already have specific work-related projects planned.
In order to apply, you need to submit a Form I-140 petition to USCIS, however, a labor certification is not required.
Outstanding Professors and Researchers (EB-1B)
If you have at least 3 years experience in teaching or research in your academic area and you received an offer to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or for a comparable research position at an institution of higher education, you may apply for permanent residency under EB-1B.
You must also show that you are recognized internationally as outstanding in your academic field through extensive documentation demonstrating major prize or awards, your original research contribution, authorship of scholarly books or articles, citation of your work by others, serving as a judge of others’ work, and/or membership in distinguished organizations.
You cannot self-petition for EB-1B and your employer must submit a Form I-140 to USCIS on your behalf, but a labor certification is not required.
Multinational Managers and Executives (EB-1C)
If you are a manager or executive of a multinational company who has been employed for at least 1 of the past 3 years by an overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of a U.S. employer, you may qualify for permanent residency under EB-1C.
Your employment at the related foreign company must have been in a managerial or executive capacity, as well as your job offer in the U.S. Your employer does not necessarily have to be a large company with multiple international offices, but the U.S. employer must have been actively engaged in doing business for at least 1 year.
Therefore, if you are coming to the U.S. to open a new office, you would not qualify for EB-1C - however, you can apply for an L-1A visa, which is a non-immigrant visa for intracompany transferees.
EB-1C is a good option for executives and managers already in the U.S. under L-1A visa status, as the requirements are very similar.
If you are already employed by a related U.S. entity with an L-1A visa, you can show that you obtained your 1 year of qualifying foreign experience within the 3 years before coming to the U.S. In order to apply, your U.S. employer must provide a job offer and file a Form I-140 with USCIS, but a labor certification is not required.