Priority Workers

Who Are Considered “Priority Workers?”

The United States government gives priority status to certain foreign nationals who are seeking to establish roots in America. These individuals have desirable qualifications or accomplishments that put them at the head of the line for work authorization and permanent resident status (green cards).

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Adam Green have extensive experience with employment-based immigration, including a focus on academic professionals and other first- and second-priority workers. We work with clients here in California and throughout the United States. Our attorneys can help prepare and submit your E visa application to give you the best chances for acceptance.

Are You In A First Or Second Preference Category?

These three groups are designated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as priority workers, also known as first preference, or EB-1, and are not subject to a labor certification requirement:

  • Individuals with “extraordinary ability”
  • Outstanding professors and researchers
  • Multinational executives and managers

There is a second echelon of second preference or EB-2 immigrants. These groups must clear the labor certification process unless they can demonstrate a national interest reason to waive the requirement. They include:

  • Individuals with advanced degrees
  • Individuals with “exceptional ability”

Both categories of priority workers are eligible to apply for legal permanent resident status (green card). Read below for more specific information on each category, or call 844-859-8146 for a free initial consultation.

Extraordinary Ability In The Sciences, Arts, Education, Business Or Athletics

“Extraordinary ability” means a level of expertise indicating that the individual is one of a small percentage who has risen to the very top of his or her field. To establish this level of ability, the following documentation must be submitted to the USCIS:

  • Evidence that the individual has received a major, internationally recognized award or
  • At least three pieces of evidence that the applicant has been recognized through prizes, memberships, publications or other participation in or contributions to the field at a high level.

If the above standards do not apply, the individual may submit comparable evidence to establish eligibility.

Outstanding Professors Or Researchers

If the employer is a university or institution of higher education, the individual must be coming to the U.S. to assume a tenured or tenure track teaching position or a permanent research position in the area of expertise.

If the employer is a department, division or institute of a private employer, the individual must be employed in a permanent research position. The department, division or institute must employ at least three full-time researchers and have achieved documented accomplishments in an academic field.

The term “permanent” in reference to a research position means either tenured or tenure track or the employment is for a term of indefinite or unlimited duration, in which time the employee will ordinarily have an expectation of continued employment (unless there is good cause for termination). Normally, postdoctorals do not qualify since the appointment is for a limited time period. However, the postdoc might qualify, in fact, for the National Interest Waiver (NIW) green card. If you are a postdoc, please contact us for an evaluation.

A U.S. employer applying for an outstanding professor or researcher must file the petition with:

  • Evidence that the professor or researcher has at least three years of experience in teaching and/or research in the academic field. Experience in teaching or research while working on an advanced degree will only be accepted if the person has achieved the degree and the research conducted toward the degree has been recognized as outstanding or the teaching duties were such that he or she had full responsibility for the class taught.
  • Evidence that the professor or researcher is recognized internationally as outstanding in his or her academic field. The person should stand apart in the academic or scientific community through eminence and distinction.

Exceptional Ability In The Sciences, Arts or Business

Employment-based second preference is for individuals with advanced degrees or who are deemed to have demonstrated exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business. Second preference is also the category for the NIW green card.

Individuals with exceptional ability possess a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts or business. They have attained a status in their field, which colleagues recognize. This category may, for example, be used by individuals who possess a bachelor’s degree or no degree as long as it is established that their work is in the national interest.

An individual who meets the criteria for exceptional ability does not need a labor certification or job offer if exemption from these normal requirements would be in the national interest.

“Exceptional ability” is not to be confused with the priority worker “extraordinary ability” category. Exceptional ability visas have lower criteria, but require certification or a National Interest waiver.

We Have Deep Experience With Priority Worker Immigration

Our accomplished attorneys at the Law Offices of Adam Green have 35 years of combined experience in immigration law. We have helped many professors and researchers obtain their EB-1 green cards, and we have cultivated good relationships with universities and research facilities around the country. Adam Green was formerly a professor and foreign student advisor at Harvard University.

We offer a 15-minute consultation by phone, at no cost, to discuss how we can be of service. We also help our employment-based clients with family-sponsored petitions to bring their family members to the United States. Call us at 844-859-8146 or contact us online.