Employment Based Immigration – First Preference Immigrants

Immigrants who qualify for first preference employment based visas have the highest priority among all employment based visas and are thus eligible to receive their visas first. As discussed above, first preference immigrants do not need to obtain a labor certification. There are three categories of visas in the first preference:

  1. Immigrants With Extraordinary Abilities In Science, Arts, Business, and Sports

    Intending Immigrants are considered to as have extraordinary abilities if they are nationally or internationally famous, and their fame and achievements can be documented. Evidence which shows extraordinary ability includes nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence, membership in associations which require fame in a given field and articles published in scholarly journals. Intending immigrants who can document their extraordinary ability in their field do not need a letter from prospective employer or job offer. 

  2. Outstanding Professors, Researchers, and Scholars

    Intending immigrants can also qualify for a first preference visa by documenting their credentials as an outstanding professor or researcher. To prove outstanding ability, a researcher or professor must be internationally recognized in their field, have a minimum of three years of experience teaching or researching in the field, or will be entering the U.S. in a tenure or tenure track as teacher or researcher at a university or institute of higher education. A letter from a prospective employer is necessary, but labor certification is not required.

  3. Certain Multinational Executives and Managers

    An intending immigrant can also qualify for first preference as a multinational executive or manager. This is similar to the L-1 temporary visa for intracompany transferees. To qualify, the intending immigrant should have been employed outside the U.S. for at least one of the preceding 3 years in a managerial or executive capacity or; if the person is already working in the U.S. , he or she must have been employed on such a position for one of the three years preceding entry to the U.S. A letter from a prospective employer and other documentation is necessary, but a labor certification is not required.

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