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Is It Hard to Get an EB-1 Visa?

Is It Hard to Get an EB-1 Visa?

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Connie Kaplan

One of the quickest routes to a green card in the United States is through an EB-1 Visa, though it does come with its challenges. This blog post will walk you through what an EB-1 visa is, who it’s for, and just how hard it can be to get one. We’ll look at this topic without it being too complicated, aiming to make the information clear and useful for everyone.

What is an EB-1 Visa?

The EB-1 visa is a category of U.S. employment-based permanent residency particularly meant for “priority workers.” These include people who are outstanding in their professional field, whether it be in the arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics. There are three subcategories:

  • EB-1A: For individuals who have risen to the very top of their field.
  • EB-1B: For outstanding researchers and professors.
  • EB-1C: For managers and executives transferring to the U.S. to work for the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary.

Who Qualifies for an EB-1 Visa?

To qualify for an EB-1 visa, you must meet specific criteria set out by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):

  • EB-1A: You need to provide evidence that you have received a major, internationally-recognized award, like a Nobel Prize, or other significant awards. Alternatively, you can qualify by meeting at least three of ten other criteria, such as published material about you, judging the work of others, or making original contributions in your field.

  • EB-1B: You must demonstrate international recognition for your outstanding achievements in a particular academic field, have at least three years of experience in teaching or research, and be entering the U.S. to pursue tenure, tenure track teaching, or a comparable research position.

  • EB-1C: This requires you to have been employed outside the United States in the three years preceding the petition for at least one year by a firm or corporation and you must be seeking to enter the U.S. to continue service to that firm or organization.

What are the Key Challenges in Securing an EB-1 Visa?

  • High Standards: The standards are quite high, as you need to prove that you are among the best in your field. This often requires extensive documentation and sometimes, subjective judgment about your achievements.
  • Documentation: Gathering the necessary documentation to prove your eligibility can be time-consuming and complex. This might include evidence of awards, letters of recommendation, and proof of membership in associations in your field.
  • Legal Policies Updates: While we’re keeping things simple here, the legal process itself can be complex and often requires detailed legal knowledge to go through it successfully. Many applicants choose to work with immigration lawyers to help prepare their petitions.
  • Processing Times: Even if you do everything right, EB-1 visa processing times can vary widely depending on your country of origin and the specific USCIS office handling your case.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  • Q1: How long does it take to get an EB-1 visa?

    It varies. The entire process can take anywhere from about 8 months to a year or more, depending on various factors such as visa backlogs and your personal circumstances.
  • Q2: Can I apply for an EB-1 visa on my own?
    Yes, you can self-petition if you’re applying as an EB-1A or if you’re a manager or executive who meets certain criteria under EB-1C. For EB-1B, your U.S. employer must file on your behalf.

  • Q3: Is there a quota for EB-1 visas?
    Yes, there are annual limits, but generally, the quota for EB-1 visas is not as quickly filled as for other employment-based visa categories.

  • Q4: Can my family accompany me if I get an EB-1 visa?
    Yes, your spouse and children under the age of 21 can apply for visas to accompany or join you in the U.S. under EB-1 status.


While securing an EB-1 visa is no walk in the park due to its strict criteria and the detailed documentation required, it remains a viable option for those who truly excel in their field. If you believe you meet the criteria, carefully prepare your application  with the help of an experienced Immigration Attorney.

Understanding whether you qualify can be tricky, and the documentation alone can be overwhelming. However, for those who do qualify, the EB-1 visa offers a relatively quick path to permanent residency in the United States. If you’re considering applying, it’s wise to evaluate your qualifications thoroughly and  seek expert advice to increase your chances of success. Here at the Law Offices of Connie Kaplan, P.A. we fight for your Immigration Dream as we fought for ours! Contact us today and let us help you take the first step to reach your goals!

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