The EB-1 category grants an individual the “priority worker” status. To qualify, the individual has to show that he or she is internationally renowned in a particular field, and that the individual will continue to work in that field upon arriving in the U.S.

Each year, the USCIS allocates approximately 40,000 visa numbers specifically for qualified EB-1 candidates; EB-1 candidates also share any visa numbers left over from the EB-4 and EB-5 preferences. The USCIS grants individual priority according to the order that the petitions are filed.


Three categories of individuals qualify for EB-1 classification: (1) aliens of extraordinary ability; (2) outstanding professors and researchers; and (3) transferring executives and managers.

Aliens of Extraordinary Ability:

The Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) lists three requirements for an individual of extraordinary ability:

1) The individual has extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim, and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation;
2) The individual seeks to enter the U.S. to continue work in the area extraordinary ability, and
3) The individual’s entry into the U.S. will substantially benefit prospectively the U.S.

Establishing “Extraordinary Ability”

To establish an individual’s “extraordinary ability”, documentation is needed – a person’s opinion is insufficient. A major, internationally recognized one-time achievement, such as a Nobel Peace prize, suffices. Otherwise, an EB-1 candidate can qualify that he or she has a career of acclaimed work by satisfying at least three of the following requirements:

1) Documentation of the individual’s receipt of lessor nationally or internationally prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
2) Documentation of the individual’s membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields;
3) Published material about the individual in professional or other major trade publications or major media, relating to the individual’s work in the field for which classification is sought. Such evidence shall include the title, date, and author of the material, and any necessary translation;
4) Evidence of the individual’s participation, either individually or on a panel, as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field for which classification is sought;
5) Evidence of the individual’s original scientific, scholarly, artistic, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
6) Evidence of the individual’s authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
7) Evidence of the display of the individual’s work in the field at artistic exhibitions or showcases;
8) Evidence that the individual has performed in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation;
9) Evidence that the individual has commanded a high salary or other significantly high remuneration for services, in relation to others in the field; or
10) Evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts, as shown by box office receipts or record, cassette, compact disc, or video sales.

It is important to remember that the EB-1 candidate’s documentation evidences sustained national or international acclaim – not merely a lengthy resume. EB-1 candidates of extraordinary ability must continue to work in that area of expertise once he or she arrives in the U.S. The requirement that the individual “substantially benefit” the U.S. is somewhat open-ended, but the prevailing belief is that if the individual continues to work in the individual’s field of expertise, then the U.S. will substantially benefit.

Outstanding Professors and Researchers:

Academics may also qualify for EB-1 status if they establish the following requirements:

1) The individual is recognized internationally as outstanding in a specific academic area;
2) The individual has at least 3 years of experience in teaching or research in that area, and
3) The individual seeks to enter the U.S. –
• For a tenured position (or tenure-track position) within a university or institution of higher education to teach in the academic area,
• For a comparable position with a university or institution of higher education to conduct research in the area, or
• For a comparable position to conduct research in the area with a department, division, or institute of a private employer, if the department, division, or institute employs at least 3 persons full-time in research activities and has achieved documented accomplishments in an academic field.

“Academic field” refers to a body of specialized knowledge taught at an accredited U.S. institution of higher learning. Though the USCIS allows teaching or research to satisfy the required 3 years of experience, the USCIS stated research conducted to acquire a degree does not count.

Academics applying for EB-1 status must also submit documentation that objectively establishes excellence in that particular academic area. This can include articles published in international or nationally renowned peer-reviewed journals.

Transferring Executives and Managers:

Finally, intracompany transferees may qualify if in the 3 years preceding the EB-1 petition, the individual has been employed as a multi-national manager or executive for at least 1 year by the same firm or any of the firm’s subsidiaries or affiliates.

During that 1 year period, the individual must also have been employed as a multi-national manager, executive, or a position that shares the same qualities. The USCIS will analyze the individual’s job functions to see if it includes duties such as:

1) Managing professionals, including power to dismiss personnel,
2) Discretion in establishing the company’s goals and policies,
3) Employment at a senior level in the company’s hierarchy.

This is similar to the L-1’s requirement, except that the EB-1 classification does not require an individual to possess “specialized knowledge.”

Filing Procedures

There is no Labor Certification Attestation required. Though aliens of extraordinary ability may self-petition for EB-1 status, an employer must petition on behalf of “outstanding professors and researchers” and “transferring executives and managers.” Finally, the petition must include documentation evidencing the individual’s renowned excellence.