What is an EB-1 Visa?

An EB-1 visa is an employment-based (“EB”) visa. It’s one of many different kinds of visas that non-U.S. citizens can apply for in order to live and work in the U.S.

How is the EB-1 visa different from other kinds of visas, and who can apply for one?

EB-1 Visas are “First-Preference” Visas for “Priority Workers”

EB-1 is the highest priority category of the EB visas, which go from EB-1 to EB-5. EB-1 is a First-Preference visa, EB-2 is a Second-Preference visa, and so on. “Preference” refers to the skills of the worker, with First Preference visas going to more highly skilled, highly valued workers.

EB-1 visas are intended for noncitizens of “extraordinary ability,” “outstanding” professors and researchers, and certain multinational executives and managers, according to USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services).

Who Is Eligible to Apply for an EB-1 Visa?

The EB-1 visa is open to noncitizens who fall into one of these three categories:

  1.     Worker of “extraordinary ability”
  2.     “Outstanding professors and researchers”
  3.     “Certain Multinational manager or executive”

What exactly constitutes “extraordinary” ability, and what makes a professor or researcher “outstanding”? The USCIS has very specific criteria to help determine whether a worker falls into one of these categories.

For instance, for the “extraordinary ability” category, an EB-1 visa applicant must either show proof of having received an internationally recognized award (like a Pulitzer Prize or Olympic Medal) or meet three out of 10 criteria that demonstrate expertise and excellence in their field.

Additionally, applicants in category 2 and 3 must have a current offer of employment from a U.S. employer. Applicants in category 1 are not required to show an offer of employment to apply.

Find the exact criteria for all three categories and other eligibility requirements on the USCIS EB-1 visa page.

Have Questions About EB-1 Visas or Living and Working in the U.S.? Call the Immigration Attorneys at The Carolina Law Group

If you have more questions about the EB-1 visa, or you believe you are eligible for an EB-1 visa and want help and guidance during the application process, call the immigration attorneys at The Carolina Law Group. We can guide you through the process, ensure you have the strongest application possible, and help you avoid potentially costly mistakes.

What if you are not a fit for the EB-1 visa? There are many other alternatives to consider if you want to live and work in the U.S., including other types of employment-based visas that might be a better fit.

Call us today at one of the numbers below to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation.

The Carolina Law Group has four offices in South Carolina for your convenience: Greenville (principal office; call 864.312.4444), Greer (principal office; call 864.757.5555), Spartanburg (principal office; call 864.312.4444) & West Columbia (principal office; call 803.881.1110).

Call us at one of our four offices or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys. Our business hours are Monday – Thursday 8:30am – 5:30pm & Friday 8:30 am – 5 pm. Weekend and evening hours by appointment only. Our Greenville, SC law firm offers Spanish, Hindi, and Gujarati language translation services for your convenience


Monty D. Desai came to the United States on Christmas Eve, 1988. After high school he joined the service in order to earn money for college. Monty would go on to earn a letter of commendation as a Navy Corpsman for the Marine Corps. After his service, Monty completed his undergraduate studies at the University of South Carolina. From there, Monty went on to attend Thomas M. Cooley Law School on full scholarship, where he earned his Juris Doctorate. Following graduation from law school, Monty served as prosecutor with Greenville County Solicitor’s Office, and also worked as a a adjunct professor in the Criminal Justice Division at Greenville Technical College. In 2015 Monty was recognized by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys as ranked among the Top 10 Under 40 for excellence in the field of personal injury.

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