Overview of EB1C Visas
EB-1C Green Card for Multinational Managers & Executives
The EB-1C Visa targets management and executive level employees seeking permanent residency in the United States, also known as a Green Card. It is an excellent option for business leaders from around the world wishing to relocate with their family to the United States. Conditions apply so it is important to seek advice from a US attorney to determine the best immigration pathway for you.
To obtain the EB-1C visa, you must have been employed outside the United States for at least 1 year in the 3 years preceding the petition or the most recent lawful nonimmigrant admission if you are already working for the U.S. petitioning employer. The U.S. petitioner must have been doing business for at least 1 year, have a qualifying relationship to the entity you worked for outside the U.S., and intend to employ you in a managerial or executive capacity.
There are several reasons to consider obtaining an EB1C Green Card.
- No large minimum investment: First, the EB-1C visa application does not require a large minimum investment to qualify, unlike some other types of visas. Instead, the U.S. company petitioning for the visa must simply show that the business is properly capitalized in its industry and is expected to maintain operations for the next 2-3 years.
- No labor certification requirement: Similarly, there are no requirements to create new jobs or to go through the labor certification process — both of which can be time-consuming and labor-intensive for employers. Instead of having to demonstrate that the company tried and was unable to hire a qualified U.S. employee, an EB-1C applicant business can hire a foreign worker directly.
- Family members can be included: EB-1C visas also allow successful beneficiaries to obtain green cards for themselves and for eligible family members, including spouses and unmarried children who are under the age of 21. Green card holders can travel freely inside the U.S., and travel to and from the country. In addition, people holding green cards are authorized to work and attend schools in the U.S.
- Simple process for workers: For the prospective immigrant under an EB-1C visa and his or her family, another benefit is that the visa process is fairly simple. The applicant employer, not the employee, must compile and submit the required documentation and pay the necessary filing fees. There is no requirement for the immigrant worker to come up with a substantial amount of money to obtain a visa themselves.
- Unconditional status: Finally, some other types of visas (such as those under the EB-5 category) include a conditional period, after which additional filings and documentation are required. However, once permanent residency is established under an EB-1C visa, it is unconditional.
Requirements to Apply for an EB1C Visa
There are five main EB1C requirements which must be satisfied in order to obtain a visa under this category.
- Qualifying relationship test: When the goal is to use an EB-1C visa to transfer a qualified employee from a foreign employer to a U.S. employer, there must be a relationship between the employers, such as a parent-subsidiary relationship or an affiliate relationship. That relationship must be in place when the petition for an EB-1C visa is filed. It is also worth noting that the U.S. employer — which is the applicant for the visa — cannot be structured as a sole proprietorship.
- Work duration requirement: The employee who will be the beneficiary of the EB-1C visa must have worked for the foreign company for at least one year continuously in the three years leading up to filing the petition for the visa. This requirement applies whether the employee is currently working for the U.S. company or the foreign company.
- Work capacity (role): There are also requirements related to the type of job the employee held for the foreign employer. In general, the employee must have worked primarily in a managerial or executive capacity. Working as a front-line manager will generally not qualify. Instead, the employee must have worked as an executive with wide latitude in discretionary authority; managed professionals (other workers who hold at least undergraduate degrees); or worked as a function manager, responsible for an essential function, department or component of the company; and exercised discretion over operations.
- Full-time job offer: In addition to the requirement that the employee worked in an executive or managerial position for the foreign employer, EB-1C applicants also must show that the employee has a full-time job offer with the U.S. company to work in an executive or managerial capacity.
- U.S. company background requirement: Finally, there is a requirement that the U.S. company applying for the EB-1C visa must have been actively conducting business in the U.S. for at least one year leading up to the filing of the petition.
If a U.S. company that wants to apply for an EB-1C visa is unable to provide sufficient documentation that they meet all five of these requirements, there are other immigrant visa programs that can be explored.
EB-1C Application Process and Processing Times
When applying for an EB-1C visa, the applicant company must provide certain documentation, including:
- Signed statements documenting the relationship between the U.S. and foreign companies
- Articles of incorporation, by-laws, tax returns, organizational charts and stock ownership records for both companies
- The U.S. company’s business license, lease agreement or other documentation to meet the requirement that the company be in business for at least a year
- Signed statements detailing the employee’s job description and day-to-day responsibilities with the foreign and U.S. companies
Your immigration lawyer can help you understand whether the documentation meets the minimum requirements. She or he can also help prepare and submit your documentation with the petition for the EB-1C visa using Form I-140.
Depending on the immigrant employee’s status (whether the employee is currently in the U.S. or in a foreign country,) the next step in the process would either be an “adjustment of status” from non-immigrant to immigrant or visa processing, which involves obtaining a visa through a U.S. consulate in another country.
Processing times for EB1 C visas vary. Unfortunately, expedited or “premium” processing is not an option with this visa category. Depending on the volume of applicants, it can take six months to five years for the initial petition to be fully processed. Your immigration attorney can help eliminate unnecessary delays by ensuring the documentation submitted with your application is complete and that it meets minimum requirements for the type of visa for which you are applying.
Different Types of EB-1 Visas
There are different types of visas under the broad ‘EB-1’ umbrella. Each of these categories comes with different requirements and roles for petitioners. Instead of the EB-1C, other potential options include the EB-1A or the EB-1B visas.
EB-1A: Extraordinary Abilities
The EB-1A visa is an employment visa designed for qualified applicants who have extraordinary abilities in specific fields, including the arts, sciences, athletics, education or business. It is not enough for an applicant to simply claim they have extraordinary skills or abilities; they must be able to provide evidence of national or international acclaim, such as having won a Pulitzer, Oscar or Olympic medal. Alternatively, applicants can provide specific evidence that they meet at least three criteria out of ten established by the USCJS.
Whereas the employing company in the U.S. is the applicant for workers under the EB-1C category, applicants for EB-1A visas can self-petition. While they must continue working in the field where they have extraordinary skill or abilities, they do not need to document a job offer from a U.S. employer, nor do they need to provide evidence of a Labor Certificate
EB-1B: Outstanding Professors and Researchers
Applicants for visas under the EB-1B category must be able to prove that they have been recognized internationally for their research. Alternatively, they must show that they have been recognized for outstanding achievements in their academic fields. Qualified professors and researchers must have at least three years of teaching or researching in their fields. In addition, they must have plans to enter the U.S. for a tenured professor position, a tenure-track role, or a comparable research position for a university, other higher education institution or a private employer.
As is the case with the EB-1C visas, applicants for EB-1B visas must show they have an offer of employment from a prospective U.S. employer. If that employer is a private company, the employer must employ at least three full-time researchers and must show documented accomplishments.
Applicants under either the EB-1A or EB-1B options can opt for premium processing, which cuts the wait time for a priority date to just 15 days.
Options for Startups
The EB-1B visa category for outstanding professors and researchers is likely not an option worth considering if you are an entrepreneur or startup company. As previously discussed, the EB-1C visa requires that the applicant U.S. company be in business for at least one year prior to submitting the petition and must be related somehow to the foreign company.
An EB-1A visa may be an option for startup companies or entrepreneurs who want to establish new businesses in the U.S. An employee applicant for an EB-1A visa needs to be able to demonstrate that they have extraordinary abilities in their fields, which can be a high bar to meet. However, if you have not won a national or international award, you can still obtain EB-1A status by proving extraordinary ability by meeting a combination of certain other criteria. This can include receipt of prizes or awards for excellence; publishing scholarly articles; membership in associations wherein achievement is a membership requirement; being the subject of published articles about your work; and more.
If you meet these requirements and can demonstrate that you want to come to the U.S. to further your work or continue working in your area of extraordinary ability, an EB-1 visa may be attainable. Your immigration attorney can help you evaluate all potential options and weigh the benefits and considerations of each.
How to Transition From L1A Visa to Green Card?
EB-1C visas both target management and executive level employees. The L-1 visa is a time-limited non-immigrant visa, whereas the EB-1C offers permanent residency, also known as a Green Card. It is possible to apply for an EB-1C visa directly, although most applicants first arrive on an L-1A visa and then transition to an EB-1C visa. The L-1 Visa allows for the transfer of an employee from an overseas branch to the American branch of the same company. It is possible to set up a new U.S. office and transfer yourself or a colleague there to manage that branch.
To obtain an EB-1C visa, you must have been employed outside the United States for at least one year of the preceding three years before entering the United States on an L-1A visa.
How to Transition From E2 Treaty Investor Visa to Green Card?
The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa can also be transitioned to a Green Card through an EB-1C application with careful planning. An E-2 Treaty Investor is permitted to move to the United States for the purpose of owning and operating a business. Franchise businesses are eligible for the E-2 Visa . Anyone who is not a citizen of an E-2 Treaty country must first become one through a process of E-2 plus CBI. If the E-2 business qualifies, it is possible to obtain a Green Card through EB-1C.Transitioning from and E-2 visa to a Green Card under EB1C requires careful planning and it is important to engage with D&A at an early stage to ensure you qualify.
EB-1C Visa Requirement Process
our U.S. employer must file USCIS Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. As part of the application process, your employer must be able to demonstrate a continuing ability to pay the offered wage as of the priority date. Your employer may use an annual report, federal income tax return, or audited financial statement to demonstrate a continuing ability to pay your wage
Our Experience in Filing EB1C Visa applications
In a decade of filing applications for EB-1C, D&A have never had a client of any size have an EB-1C Petition denied, an EB1C related immigrant visa or an H1B to EB1C application refused. Although no guarantees can ever be made, we believe that properly presented EB-1C Petitions will be approved. Contact us today to discuss your interest in the EB-1C visa category.