What is the difference between EB1 and EB2?

Both EB1 and EB2 visas are employment visas that grant certain foreign nationals with specific skills and exceptional ability to enter the US.

If you have any questions regarding the EB1 Visa and EB2 or other immigrant visa and immigration services, you can contact our experienced immigration team to discuss any questions about immigration law you may have, or for some help navigating the process.

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    What is the EB1 visa?

    The EB1 Visa is a first-preference employment-based immigrant visa.

    Due to its highly sought-after status, the EB1 Visa is only applicable to three occupational categories, with international recognition and very accomplished people, which are the following:

    • Outstanding professors and researchers  (EB1-A)
    • Certain multinational executives and managers  (EB1-B)
    • Professionals who have extraordinary abilities in any of the following (EB1-C):
    • Arts
    • Athletics
    • Business
    • Education
    • Sciences

    If the visa application has been processed successfully, you will be able to move to the US, and remain there permanently, with no further visa applications or extensions.

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    What is the EB2 visa?

    The EB2 visa, also known as the EB2 green card, is a second preference, employment-based immigrant visa for foreign nationals who hold an advanced degree and can prove their exceptional ability. It allows them to reside in the US under permanent residence through a Green Card.

    To apply for this immigrant visa, you must fall into at least one of the following:

    • EB-2A immigrant Visa – Advanced Degree
    • EB-2B immigrant Visa – Exceptional Ability
    • EB-2 immigrant Visa – National Interest Waiver

    The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have a specific quota of how many EB2 visas they can approve every year, which is usually 120,000. Further information about the number of permits available is stated in the Visa Bulletin.

    What is the difference between EB1 and EB2?

    There are a number of differences between the two visas.

    Different requirements: EB-1A “Extraordinary Ability” and EB-1B “Outstanding Researcher” both have a higher threshold than EB-2.

    The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) takes a two-step approach to evaluate EB-1 A and EB-1B petitions, which means even if you meet all the eligibility requirements, USCIS will still do a “totality test”, reviewing all the evidence to make a decision whether you have the necessary level of achievement. Conversely, the EB-2 NIW requirements are less intense, making it an easier route.

    Visa Bulletin: Every month, USCIS releases the Visa Bulletin which tells people if they can file the green card application based on their priority date.  Your birth country may impact whether you want to proceed with an EB-1 or EB-2 as depending on where you are from, the priority date waiting time may decrease/increase.

    No PERM labor certification: All three subcategories of EB-1 and EB-2 do not require a PERM labor certification, which is the process of testing the U.S. labor market for qualified U.S. workers.

    Job offer requirement: The EB-1A and EB-2 allow for self-petition, which means that you do not need a job offer from a prospective employer from the U.S.

    For EB-1B, EB-1C, and PERM-based EB-2, you require a sponsoring employer offering permanent employment.

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      What is the EB-1 Visa Application Process?

      The EB-1 process is broken into three main phases:

      Firstly, you must file the I-140 Petition, which takes six months. The EB-1A and EB-1B are eligible for premium processing, which allows petitioners who pay an extra fee and file an I-907 form to shorten the I-140 processing time to 15 days.

      Next is setting the priority date, when USCIS receives an employment-based visa petition. This date is established as the priority date. A visa becomes available when the final action date in your category matches your priority date.

      Finally, you must adjust your status or get your visa.  If you already have a visa, you may adjust your status simply by filing an I-485 and waiting for 6 months. If you don’t have a visa, you should get one via consular processing.

      What is the EB-2 Visa Application Process?

      Unlike the EB-1, the EB-2 does not allow for premium processing.

      To start the application process for an EB2A or EB2B Visa, your potential employer must file Form I-140: Petition for Alien Worker.

      Next, they must first file with the US Department of Labor for Permanent Labor Certification using the Program Electronic Management Review system (PERM). This PERM labor certification process is to determine and prove that there are no American citizens or American permanent residents that are willing, capable or able to do the specific job. It can take an extended amount of time as it includes a well-documented recruitment process.

      After the employer files the petition on your behalf, you must then wait until you receive your priority date. You will then be called for your interview at the US Embassy.

      For the interview, you will then be asked a variety of questions regarding your EB2 application, including queries about your background, your qualifications, details about your job offer in the US, and who your employer is.

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        How Total Law Can Help?

        Determining which visa out of the EB1 and EB2 can be confusing and time confusing.

        To make the process stress free, we suggest you work with our Total Law team of qualified immigration lawyers.

        We are available to support you throughout the entire process where no question is too confusing!

        We strive to make the process as stress-free as possible. We are available to support you with any requests seven days a week, by phone or by online chat on our website.

        Call us on +1 844 290 6312, or contact us online seven days a week via our live chat.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  For the Eb1:

                  • Form I-140 processing fee is $700
                  • If you are in the US and want to adjust your status, the I-485 processing fee is $1,225
                  • If you are undergoing consular processing, the visa application process is $325
                  • If you want to use the premium processing, you will pay an additional $2,500

                  For the Eb2:

                  • Form I-140, if you are self-petitioning: $700
                  • Form for DS-260, Immigrant Visa, and Alien Registration application: $325
                  • Form I-485, adjustment of status: $1225
                  • USCIS Immigrant fee is $220

                  Your US employer will be responsible for covering any fees that are related to the PERM application.

                  Master’s, PhD, Juris Doctor (J.D. or law degree), and M.D. (medicine) degrees all count towards an EB-2A visa.