The Difference Between EB-1A and EB-1B

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The EB-1A and EB-1B immigrant visas are the most prestigious levels of employment-based green cards. Both are associated with exceptional abilities, outstanding achievements, and prominence in the arts, sciences, and business. Find out which green card is right for you by comparing these two options.       

The EB-1A Background and Requirements            

The EB-1A visa is for individuals with extraordinary abilities. This category may initially appear expansive or nebulous. However, the USCIS has a stringent definition of an “extraordinary” circumstance. Business, art, education, athletics, and science are among the majority of fields eligible for EB-1A visas. This enables a diverse range of applicants from diverse backgrounds. However, it can be challenging to meet the stringent requirements for qualification.   

The EB-1A allows applicants to self-petition without the need for a job offer or employer, which is one of its major advantages over the EB-1B. This provides EB-1A visa holders with great flexibility in their U.S. employment.     

The EB-1A and EB-1B green cards are two paths to a permanent residence in the United States. While the eligibility requirements appear identical at first glance, the most significant difference is the list of requirements. You must provide evidence of an internationally prestigious award or prizes, such as the Nobel Prize or; You must demonstrate extraordinary ability in three of the following categories:

  • Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized awards or distinctions that are less prestigious
  • Participation in organizations that expect extraordinary levels of achievement from their members
  • Demonstrating that your work has been featured in professional and major trade publications, newspapers, or other major media outlets can show subject matter expertise. 
  • Evidence, either independent or gathered as a group, that you have been tasked with evaluating the work of others.
  • Evidence of your significant original scientific, scholarly or artistic contributions includes published articles, patents, and applications, books or book chapters, research reports, presentations, honors, and awards.
  • Documentation proving your authorship of scholarly articles published in professional or major trade journals or other prominent media
  • Proof that your work has been featured in art exhibitions or displays.
  • Evidence that you are capable of performing duties that are central to or leadership-oriented within a prestigious organization
  • documentation demonstrating that your salary is comparable to that of others working in your field.
  • A record of commercial success in the arts

The EB-1B Background and Requirements

The EB-1B green card is for individuals who have been recognized internationally as outstanding in research and/or education. In general, the EB-1B green card is a challenging visa to obtain and requires that you meet specific criteria. Several criteria must be met, and evidence needs to be submitted with your application.

The EB-1B green card is for immigrants whose occupations are in a field requiring at least a bachelor’s degree. Unlike self-petitioning through the EB-1A green card category, this visa requires an employer-sponsored petition. To qualify, you must obtain a job offer from a prospective employer (not just any company) that will file a petition on your behalf. This means that your employer will pay the I-140 filing fee, but it also restricts the type of work you can perform in the United States.

Moreover, to qualify for an EB-1B, you must have at least three years of experience in your field and come to the United States to obtain tenure or the equivalent in a research position. Moreover, you must provide evidence of two of the following:   

  • obtained significant honors or awards for their outstanding achievements.
  • Membership in an organization that demonstrates exceptional achievement 
  • Evidence of the noncitizen’s work in the academic field is published in professional publications written by others.
  • Involvement as judges of others’ work in the same or related academic field, either on a panel or individually.
  • Original contributions to scientific or academic research in the field
  • Participation as an author in the production of scholarly books or articles (published in international scholarly journals).

This list’s primary objective is to demonstrate to USCIS that you have “outstanding academic accomplishments in a particular field.” If you have evidence supporting this not listed idea, consult with your immigration attorney to determine if it qualifies as acceptable evidence.     

EB-1A vs EB-1B : Processing Times          

Due to the fact that the EB-1A and EB-1B green cards have the same level of preference, the regulations stipulate that there is no difference between their processing times. This does not, however, imply that the processing time for each petition will be identical. The unique caseload of each service center can result in a wide range of waiting times. The I-140 petition takes approximately six months to process on average.

EB-1A vs EB-1B : Priority Dates    

Most Green card holders must wait for a visa to become available before applying for permanent residence. This wait time is known as the priority date. If your I-140 petition has been approved and you are currently in the U.S., You must wait until your current priority date reaches or surpasses the visa’s final action date, it is considered current, and you can adjust your status if you are in the U.S. or begin consular processing if you are abroad.

Typically, all of the dates for the EB-1 preference level are current, allowing you to adjust your status as soon as your I-140 petition is approved. However, as of the June 2017 visa bulletin, a backlog of several years has accumulated for Chinese and Indian nationals.

EB-1A vs EB-1B : Premium Processing  

Premium processing is a fee-based, optional service that reduces the average processing time for your petition from six months to fifteen calendar days. This fee may be covered by either yourself or your employer. This service is available for all visas and green cards whose application processes utilize the I-140 or I-129 petitions.  The EB-1C green card for multinational managers and executives is the “only exception” to the EB-1A standard.

If the USCIS fails to process your petition within the specified timeframe, you will receive a refund of your premium processing fee. Although, this situation doesn’t occur much often.

The EB-1A and the EB-1B are green cards available to individuals with extraordinary abilities. Both are meant to offer immigration options for those whose achievements have been recognized in their field. Their processing time and fees are also identical regardless of the situation.     

In conclusion, the difference between the two is that the EB-1A allows self-petitioning, whereas an employer or organization must sponsor you to apply for the EB-1B. However, if you self-petition, you will be responsible for the I-140 filing fee, making the EB-1B the less expensive option. Additionally, the EB-1A is more inclusive and encompasses a wider range of fields for extraordinary individuals. In addition, the EB-1B requires applicants to have at least three years of experience and strictly defines their intentions, whereas the EB-1A does not.

It’s certainly possible to apply for a green card without an attorney, but it’s always more manageable and less stressful if you hire one. An immigration lawyer can help you navigate the complicated process of the EB-1A petition and facilitate your visa application.   

About Us

Greencardlink.com (also known as Aria Immigration Law Group) is committed to representing clients worldwide who are seeking I-140 immigration petitions.
Our firm has a proven successful track record with employment-based immigration cases, concentrating on EB-1B (Outstanding Professor/Researcher), EB-1A (Extraordinary Ability Alien), EB2-NIW (National Interest Waiver), and EB-1C (Multinational Executive/Manager).

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