EB-1A: Extraordinary Ability

Extraordinary ability (EB-1A) is an achievement-based opportunity for a green card. This category is available for those individuals who have risen to the small percentage at the very top of his or her field.

Qualifications of an Alien of Extraordinary Ability

Unless you have won a Nobel Prize, an Oscar, a Grammy, or a similar internationally recognized award, you must meet at least 3 of 10 alternative criteria:

  • Lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards
  • Membership in associations that require outstanding achievement (as judged by recognized experts)
  • Significant published material (written by others) about you and your work
  • Service as judge of the work of others in your field
  • Major contributions to your field
  • Scholarly articles or publications
  • Artistic exhibitions or showcases
  • Leading or critical role for distinguished organizations
  • High salary or remuneration (compared to others in the field)
  • Commercial success in performing arts

Advantages Over the Labor Certification Process

  • Does not require a permanent job offer in the United States.
  • Does not require a labor certification.
  • Faster than the labor certification process because you do not have to test the labor market to find a qualified U.S. Worker.
  • You can self-petition. The petition does not require the signature of an employer sponsor.

Disadvantages Compared with the Labor Certification Process

  • You have to be extraordinary – not just good. Not everyone qualifies.
  • Can be less predictable than cases filed through the labor certification process.


Outstanding Professors or Researchers (EB-1B)

EB-1B is an achievement-based opportunity for a green card. This category is for professors and researchers who are recognized internationally as outstanding in his or her academic field.

To qualify as an Outstanding Professor or Researcher, you must meet the following basic requirements:

  • Hold a tenure-track faculty position or have a permanent job offer; and,
  • Have at least 3 years of prior teaching or research experience (can include Ph.D. or postdoc research if that research has been recognized as “outstanding”).

In addition, you must also meet at least 2 of the following 6 alternative criteria:

  • Received major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement;
  • Belong to associations that require outstanding achievement;
  • Published material (written by others) about your research;
  • Served as judge of the work of others in your field;
  • Contributed original work to your field; and/or,
  • Authored scholarly articles or publications.


Advantages Over Labor Certification

Does not require a labor certification. You can file your petition and your application to become a permanent resident at the same time (which is called “concurrent filing.”) In this way, you can obtain your work authorization and advance parole document (allowing you to travel internationally) much sooner than you could if you try to obtain your green card through the labor certification process. You can also receive work and travel authorization for your spouse and children.


You have to be outstanding – not just very good – to qualify. Unlike the EB-1A, the Outstanding Professors or Researchers (EB-1B) category requires a permanent job. This means that you cannot self-petition under the Outstanding Professors or Researchers category.


Multinational Executives & Managers (EB-1C)

Certain multinational executives or managers can obtain their green cards by showing that they served for at least one year in another country in an executive or managerial position with the parent, subsidiary, or affiliated company of a U.S. company. This process requires the individual to have a permanent job offer from the U.S. company to work in an executive or managerial position.


To qualify for a green card as a Multinational Manager or Executive, you must show that you were employed by a company affiliated with your current U.S. employer as a manager or executive outside the U.S. for at least one year out of the three years before your transfer to the United States.

An executive is defined as someone who:

  • Directs the management of the organization or a major component or function of the organization;
  • Establishes the goals and policies of the organization, component or function;
  • Exercises wide latitude in discretionary decision-making; and,
  • Receives only general supervision or direction from higher level executives, the board of directors or stockholders.

A manager is defined as someone who:

  • Manages an organization, department, subdivision, function or component of the organization;
  • Supervises and controls the work of other supervisory, professional or managerial employees, or manages an essential function;
  • For supervisors of others, has the authority to hire and fire or recommend such actions.
  • For those who manage a function of the organization, must be employed at a senior level within the organizational hierarchy or with respect to the function managed; and
  • Exercises direction over the day-to-day operations of the activity or function.

*First-line supervisors generally are not considered managers or executives, without other evidence of their qualifications.

Advantages over other Green Card Options

does not require a labor certification. The sponsoring employer does not need to show that there are no qualified U.S. workers for the position.


Disadvantages over other Green Card Options

  • Not all managers or executives will qualify.
  • USCIS will look carefully at the petitioning company and the business necessity.
  • You cannot self-petition.