How to get an EB-1 "Employment-Based Visa: 1st Preference" in California

California is home to many foreigners who earned EB-1 (employment-based, preference 1) visas due to their "extraordinary ability" in

  • science,
  • art,
  • education,
  • business, or
  • sports.

EB-1 visas holders have legal permanent status (green cards). Therefore, they may eventually apply to become United States citizens.

In California, the EB-1 visa immigrant population includes renowned Stanford or Berkeley professors, movie stars, and world famous technology executives.

In this article, our California immigration lawyers discuss EB-1 immigrant visas in California, including application procedures, fees and time frames. Click on a question to jump to the answer.

Also refer to our informational articles on EB-2 visas in Los Angeles California, EB-3 visas in Los Angeles California, EB-4 visas in Los Angeles California, and EB-5 visas in Los Angeles California.

EB-1 visas are meant for foreigners of exceptional achievements.

1. What is an EB-1 visa in Los Angeles, California?

EB-1 visas are reserved for foreigners of exceptional talent. There are three categories of EB-1 visas available:

  • Extraordinary Ability: The foreigner has extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, business, education, or athletics and sustained national or international acclaim.
  • Outstanding Professor or Researcher: The foreigner has achieved international recognition related to outstanding academic work. He/she has at least three (3) years experience in teaching or research. He/she must be coming to the U.S. for university tenure.
  • Multinational Executive or Manager: The foreigner has worked outside the U.S. for the last three (3) years, and one (1) of those years was with the company he/she is now hoping to work for while inside the U.S. The employment must have been in a managerial or executive capacity.

(For information on non-immigrant visas for foreigners with extraordinary abilities, see our article on O-1 visas.)

World-renowned academics are eligible for EB-1 visas.

2. How do I show I qualify for an EB-1 visa in California?

The type of EB-1 visa a foreigner is applying for determines the supporting documentation he/she needs:

Extraordinary Ability visas (EB1-A):

Foreigners applying for an EB1-A visa should produce evidence of an extraordinary one-time achievement such as an Olympic Medal, Pulitzer, or Oscar. Alternatively, applicants should meet three of the following ten criteria:

  1. Having won lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards of excellence;
  2. Having membership in associations in the field that demand outstanding achievement;
  3. Having published material in professional publications or other major media;
  4. Having been asked to judge the work of others;
  5. Having significant contributions in science, scholarship, art, athletics, or business;
  6. Having authored scholarly articles in professional publications or other media;
  7. Having work displayed at artistic showcases;
  8. Having played a leading or critical role in a distinguished organization;
  9. Having a high salary in the field; and/or
  10. Having commercial success in the performing arts.

Outstanding Professor or Researcher visas (EB1-B):

Foreigners applying for an EB1-B visa have to demonstrate that they have a job offer in the U.S. Furthermore, they have to meet two (2) of the following six (6) criteria:

  1. Having received major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement;
  2. Having membership in associations that require members to show outstanding achievement;
  3. Having published material in professional publications written by others regarding the foreign worker's work in the academic field;
  4. Having participated in judging the work of others in the same academic field;
  5. Having contributed original scientific or scholarly research in the field; and/or
  6. Having authored scholarly books or articles in the specific field.

Multinational Executive or Manager visas (EB1-C):

The U.S. employer must have been in business for at least one (1) year as an affiliate or as the same corporation that employed the foreign worker overseas.

3. What is the application process for an EB-1 visa in Los Angeles, California?

Visa 20application

For an EB-1 visa based on "extraordinary ability," the foreigner may apply on his/her own behalf without having a job offer in the U.S. He/she would fill out Form I-140 and submit it to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

For an EB-1 visa based on "outstanding professor or researcher" or "multinational executive or manager," the U.S. employer submits the Form I-140 on the foreigner's behalf.

4. What is the cost of an EB-1 visa?

The fee for an EB-1 visa comes to $1,045: The USCIS filing fee for Form I-140 is $700, and the Department of State visa processing fee is $345.

5. How soon can I get an EB-1 visa?

It takes about eight (8) months to get an EB-1 visa.

6. Can my family come with me to California on an EB-1 visa?

Yes, an EB-1 visa holder's "derivative beneficiaries" may immigrate to the U.S. as long as they submit the proper paperwork. Derivative beneficiaries include spouses and unwed children under age 21.

Call a California immigration attorney...

california eb-1 visa attorneys
Call us at (855) LAWFIRM for a free consultation

If you have distinguished yourself in your field, you may be able to immigrate to California on an EB-1 visa. Call our California immigration attorneys at (855) LAWFIRM for a free consultation.

Go to our California visa main page.

Also learn about our Nevada EB-1 visa lawyers.    

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