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The first employment based preference category of immigrant visas is set aside for “priority workers.” The category is divided into three major groups, persons of extraordinary abilities in the sciences, education and business;  professors and researchers; and international managers and executives.   Some key elements of this immigrant category are that each group has equal access to the visas allocated for this category and that the labor certification requirement does not apply to the priority worker preference. Therefore, total processing time for immigration cases in this preference category is much shorter than is possible for the other employment based preference categories.

Persons of Extraordinary Abilities

This immigrant or lawful permanent residence category is for persons of  “extraordinary abilities” in the sciences, education or business.  Extraordinary ability is defined as “a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentage of people who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.”  CIS regulations list certain types of evidence that may be submitted to prove this standard.  One required submission is a written advisory opinion from a peer group or from a person or labor organization with expertise in the filed.

The intending immigrant may establish extraordinary ability by evidence of receipt of a major, internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize or an Academy Award.

Absent receipt of such an award, the alien must have at least three types of evidence from the following list:

  • Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor
  • Membership in associations in the field of endeavor that require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their fields
  • Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the migrant and relating to the migrant’s work in the field of endeavor (published material must include title, date, author, and be translated if necessary)
  • Participation, on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field of specialization
  • Original scientific, scholarly, or artistic contributions of major significance in the field of endeavor
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional journals or other major media
  • Evidence of the display of his or her work in the field at artistic exhibitions or showcases in more than one country
  • Performance in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations or establishments with distinguished reputations
  • Having commanded a high salary or other significantly high remuneration for services in relation to others
  • Commercial successes in the performing arts, as shown by box office receipts or record, cassette, compact disk, or video sales

Other comparable evidence may be submitted if the above types of evidence do not readily apply to migrant’s occupation.

Multinational Business Executives

This group in the EB-1 category covers multinational executives and managers. This group of priority workers provides international companies with the ability to transfer top level executives and managers to this country as permanent residents on an expeditious basis.  First, the foreign national must have at least one year in the preceding three employed by the overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of the U.S. employer; second, he or she must be coming to work in the United States in a managerial or executive capacity.  The C.I.S. regulations apply to this group basically the same interpretation placed on managers and executives for L1 nonimmigrant purposes. In some situations, the foreign national may be present in the United States in L-1 status working for the same petitioner that is filing the EB-1 petition for the L-1 intra company transferee to classify the person as a priority worker.

Outstanding Professors and Researchers

This immigrant classification includes Outstanding Professors and Researchers. To be considered in this group a person must be internationally recognized as outstanding in a specific academic field, have at least three years of experience teaching or researching in the field, and either:

  • the offer of a tenured or tenure track teaching position or the offer a comparable research position or
  • the offer of a research position having no fixed term and in which the employee will ordinarily have an expectation of permanent employment or
  • the offer of a comparable research position with a private employer if the employer has at least three fulltime researchers and documented accomplishments in the research field.

A job offer is a requirement. The key elements of this type of petition are documentation that 1) the employer is offering the foreign national employment of a qualifying nature, 2) the foreign national has the requisite credentials, and 3) the foreign national is outstanding in an academic field.