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EB-1 Visa, Explained

Learn about the cost, wait time, and how to apply for the EB-1 employment visa

The EB-1 visa is an employment-based visa available to non-U.S. citizens with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational managers or executives. It’s one of the employment-based visas that allows foreign nationals to permanently live and work in the U.S. The EB-1 visa is highly regarded and does not require a PERM labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor.

In this guide, you’ll learn about the cost, timeline, requirements, and application process for the EB-1 visa.

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How Much Does the EB-1 Visa Cost?

Here’s a breakdown of the current filing fees for the EB-1 visa.

For applicants filing from within the U.S.:

  1. Form I-140 (“Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker”):
    • Filing Fee: $715 (this fee is paid by the employer sponsoring you)
    • Immigrant Fee: $235
  2. Form I-485 (the application to adjust status for applicants living in the U.S.):
    • Filing Fee: $1440

For applicants applying from outside the U.S.:

  1. Form I-140 (“Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker”):
    • Filing Fee: $715 (this fee is paid by the employer sponsoring you)
  2. Form DS-260:
    • Filing Fee: $345
  3. Form I-864 (“Affidavit of Support”):
    • Filing Fee: $120

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EB-1 Timeline

The processing time for Form I-140, the first step of the EB-1 process, currently averages 4 months, according to USCIS historic processing times data. Note that with premium processing, the I-140 can be expedited to 15 days.

Unlike some other employment-based visas, EB-1 applicants do not need to wait for a visa to become available. This means there is typically no waiting time for visa availability.

If the applicant already lives in the U.S., the average wait time for Form I-485 for employment visa applications is currently September , 2023 months.

If the applicant is applying from abroad via consular processing, their case will be transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing. The NVC will forward the petition to the nearest embassy or consulate, which will reach out to the applicant to arrange an in-person interview. The timeline for this stage of the process depends on where the applicant is based.


How to Apply for an EB-1 Visa

The application process for the EB-1 visa involves several steps:

  • The first step is filing Form I-140 (“Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker”), along with supporting documents to establish the applicant is eligible for an EB-1 visa.
  • Once the I-140 petition is approved, applicants can proceed with either adjusting their status if they are already in the U.S., or they can apply using consular processing at a U.S. Embassy or consulate abroad.
  • As part of the process, applicants may need to attend a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints, photographs, and signature. They will also need to attend the immigration medical exam.
  • Attend the visa interview.
  • If the application is approved, the applicant will receive their EB-1 visa, allowing them to work and live in the United States.

EB-1 Requirements

To be eligible for the EB-1 visa, applicants must meet certain criteria based on their field of expertise. There are three subcategories within the EB-1 visa: EB-1A, EB-1B, and EB-1C.

1. EB-1A: Extraordinary Ability

  • Provide evidence of sustained national or international acclaim in their field.
  • Achieve recognition and prominence in their field of expertise.
  • Provide evidence of extensive documentation highlighting their achievements.

2. EB-1B: Outstanding Professors and Researchers

  • Have an offer of employment from a U.S. employer for a tenured or tenure-track position, or a comparable position at a university or institution of higher education.
  • Show international recognition for their outstanding achievements in a specific academic field.
  • Provide evidence of at least three years of experience in teaching or research.

3. EB-1C: Multinational Managers or Executives

  • Have been employed abroad for at least one year in a managerial or executive position by a qualifying organization that has a subsidiary, affiliate, or parent company in the U.S.
  • Seek to enter the U.S. to continue working in a managerial or executive capacity for the same company or a related one.

EB-1 FAQs

Generally, there is no cap or waiting time for the EB-1 visa category as it is not subject to numerical limitations. However, individual processing times can vary.

Yes, you can include your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 in your EB-1 visa application. They can be eligible for derivative visas.

The EB-1 visa is tied to the sponsoring employer and the specific position mentioned in the application. However, under certain circumstances, it may be possible to change employers or positions while maintaining your EB-1 status. It’s best to chat with an immigration attorney to understand the options and requirements.

Yes, as long as you comply with the requirements of the VWP, you can travel outside the U.S. and re-enter. However, the total duration of your stay in the U.S. cannot exceed 90 days within a 180-day period.

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