Can I Switch From EB2 To EB1?

A woman confidently presenting to a group of attentive individuals during a professional meeting.
Picture of Shawn Sedaghat, Esq.

Shawn Sedaghat, Esq.

Are you preparing to apply for an EB-1 green card but currently hold an EB-2? Shifting from an EB-2 to an EB-1 can offer a faster track to permanent residency. This move could be a game-changer for many, cutting down on wait times significantly.

This guide intends to provide enough information regarding this transition, such as eligibility checks, priority date porting, and more.

Read on!

Key Takeaways

  • You can switch from an EB-2 to an EB-1 if you meet the eligibility criteria of the EB-1 visa, which includes being a top professional with significant achievements.

  • The EB-1 process is usually faster than the EB-2 and does not require a PERM Labor Certification, which saves time.

  • Porting your priority date from an EB-2 to an EB-1 can keep your place in line for a visa number and potentially shorten your waiting period.

  • Switching to an EB-1 may have higher costs due to new application fees, but it offers benefits like quicker family work authorization.

  • Before attempting to switch, assess if you qualify for one of the three types of EB-1 visas and be prepared for stringent requirements and possible increased costs.

Understanding EB-2 and EB-1 Green Cards

Before moving forward, you must understand the difference between an EB-1 and an EB-2 green card. Each serves as an opportunity for foreign nationals with specific talents and accomplishments— while undergoing specific procedures set upon by US immigration.

If you need more information about these two distinct green cards, you may contact an immigration attorney to help you with your green card application.


The EB-2 green card is for professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities in arts, sciences, or business. If you have an advanced degree, it must be at least a master’s level or higher to qualify for this green card application.

Exceptional ability means you have a degree of expertise in the field you are working on. Commonly, people apply for this visa when they are offered a specific job in the US that requires someone with beyond-average knowledge of a particular specialization.

For the EB-2, U.S. employers must usually get a PERM Labor Certification. This shows that no qualified American worker is available for the role you’re applying for. Those with extraordinary abilities across various fields can seek a National Interest Waiver (NIW).

With an NIW, you don’t need a job offer and can self-petition; this makes it attractive for individuals making significant contributions to their field.


On the other hand, the EB-1 is for those with top skills and achievements, or in other words, those who have risen to the very top of their field. It’s a path to the U.S. for people who stand out in their fields. Think of scientists, artists, educators, and business leaders with international acclaim or awards like the Nobel Prize.

They might have work published in professional journals, showing that they’re at the cutting edge of their area of expertise.

Getting an EB-1 means you could skip some steps other green card applicants must take. For example, there’s no need to get a PERM Labor Certification—a big plus.

This includes three types: extraordinary ability (EB-1A), outstanding professors and researchers (EB-1B), and certain multinational executives or managers (EB-1C). Each has unique requirements but aims to attract talents that can significantly benefit the U.S.

Man on balcony with laptop, working outdoors.

Key Differences between EB-2 and EB-1

You need to understand the difference between EB-2 and EB-1 before doing anything. Knowing about these can impact your strategic approach to U.S. immigration procedures.

From eligibility criteria to processing timelines, each category carries its unique criteria and procedures that must be carefully considered by applicants.

Eligibility and requirements

To switch from an EB-2 green card to an EB-1, you must meet a specific set of criteria. For the EB-1, there are three types: EB-1A for individuals with extraordinary ability, EB-1B for outstanding researchers and professors, and EB-1C for multinational managers or executives.

For EB-1A, you don’t need a job offer but must show evidence of top achievements in your field. This could be major awards or other significant recognitions by experts.

For EB1-B, you’ll need a job offer and proof of international recognition in your platform. Multinational managers and executives, on the other hand, are qualified under the EB-1C.

Processing times

Processing times for EB-1 green cards are typically faster than those for EB-2 visas. If you’re in the EB-2 line, you might wait within a particular period to get your green card due to a thorough procedure.

But with an EB-1, things could move quicker since this category often has shorter waiting periods. USCIS works hard to use all available employment-based visas effectively. This means they try to speed up the processing of adjustment of status applications when they can.

You may also benefit from the premium processing service if you want things to go even faster.

For a fee, this service speeds up the review of certain visa petitions. Keep track though; fees and services can change over time, so always check current info before making decisions about your application process.

Cost implications

Switching from an EB-2 to an EB-1 green card will have some cost. You must pay new filing fees for the EB-1 process, even if you paid before for the EB-2. This includes fees for forms like I-140 and I-485, and any other documents required by USCIS.

Another consideration would be hiring an immigration attorney.

Your old priority date can save time in line but not money spent on the process. Always check the latest fees on the USCIS website or consult with law offices to plan your budget.

Keep in mind that high-salary earners may find this switch worthwhile due to shorter waiting times and the potential career benefits of an EB-1 green card.

The Process of Switching from EB-2 to EB-1

Switching from an EB-2 to an EB-1 is often a strategic move for those seeking a quicker and smoother application for a visa — but you need to assess your qualifications first.

This process involves carefully familiarizing yourself with immigration regulations, and potentially porting your priority date, to ensure a smooth transition in status without jeopardizing existing efforts.

Assessing eligibility

To move from EB-2 to EB-1, you must show that you fit into one of the EB-1 categories.

You should be known for your work and have strong evidence like awards or scholarly articles published.

Before filing, gather proof for your case. For example, if you are applying under the EB-1A category for extraordinary ability, submit evidence of national or international recognition in your field.

Evidence required includes things like a high salary or leading a major project. If aiming for the EB-1B category as an outstanding researcher, provide documents showing at least three years of experience and a full-time research position at a firm or university.

If targeting the EB-1C visa as a multinational manager or executive, ensure you’ve worked abroad with the same employer for a specific period in a managerial or executive capacity before moving to their U.S. office.

Porting Priority Date from EB-2 to EB-1

Porting your priority date from an EB-2 to an EB-1 means keeping the same place in line for a visa number. This is key because your waiting time can change dramatically.

You start the green card process over but don’t lose your original spot. To do this, first, ensure USCIS approves your new I-140 petition for the EB-1 category.

Imagine you worked hard and now meet three out of ten requirements for the EB-1A, for example. You may be a top player in your field with awards and recognition. Porting to an EB-1 could make sense for you.

Your earlier filed EB-2 date comes with you to the new job or self-petition under the EB-1A, reducing wait times significantly.

Benefits of Switching from EB-2 to EB-1

The transition from an EB-2 to an EB-1 is a significant move for your American dream, presenting advantages that set a smoother path toward permanent residency in the United States.

From the potential for expedited processing to favorable conditions for family members, this upgrade carries with it a host of benefits.

Shorter Priority Date Waiting Time

Applying for a green card can take a long time. For EB-2 holders, the wait might be up to a few years. Switching to an EB-1 could cut down this waiting time. You may get your approval notice faster with EB-1 as the visa bulletin often shows shorter lines for this category.

The benefits of moving from an EB-2 to an EB-1 don’t just stop at saving time. You avoid the long lines and move closer to your goal of living and working in the U.S. permanently. With less time spent waiting for your priority period, you can plan your future with more certainty and ease.

Possibility of Waiving PERM Labor Certification

One big plus of the EB-1 is that you can skip the PERM Labor Certification. This step usually requires a lot of time and paperwork when applying for an employment-based visa.

With an EB-1, especially if you’re applying for EB-1A, you don’t need a job offer or an employer to sponsor you.

Switching from an EB-2 to an EB-1 makes sense if you want to avoid the labor certification process. You save time and possibly get your green card faster. It’s also good news for those who may qualify for a National Interest Waiver under the EB-2 category since it has similar benefits to the EB-1’s waiver feature.

question mark

Considerations Before Attempting to Switch

Before making the leap from EB-2 to EB-1, carefully weigh the potential challenges and ensure you’re poised for a successful transition—read on to learn how this strategic move can shape your journey toward U.S. permanent residency.

More Stringent Requirements for EB-1

Getting an EB-1 is tough. You must show that you are at the top of your field. This could mean having big awards or a huge role in a multinational company. Often, this green card is for top scientists or big executives.

You need lots of evidence to prove your extraordinary ability or success as an executive/manager. For self-petition in EB-1A or outstanding professors and researchers in EB-1B, papers and references are key.

Leaders who have worked abroad can apply for EB-1C but must meet strict rules about their jobs and how long they’ve been with the company.

Potential Costs and Timeframes

Switching from an EB-2 to an EB-1 often means more money and time. You have to pay for new application fees, legal services, and sometimes extra costs if you need to fly back home or gather new documents.

The total cost can vary widely depending on your situation.

The time it takes can also differ a lot. For some, the switch might take just a few months while for others, it could be over a year. Porting your priority schedule from your EB-2 helps because you don’t lose your place in line.

But be ready—the whole process is like starting fresh with its own sets of rules and checks.


In conclusion, moving from an EB-2 to an EB-1 can be a smart move. It opens doors for faster processing and extra benefits like work permits for family members. To make the switch, you’ll need to fit into one of the EB-1 categories and get everything lined up correctly.

Always check your eligibility and consider all factors like costs and timelines before making your decision. With the right guidance, taking this step could mark a significant leap forward in your immigration journey.


1. What is the difference between an EB-2 and an EB-1?

An EB-2 is for those with advanced degrees or exceptional ability in their field, while an EB-1 is for those with extraordinary abilities, outstanding researchers, and certain multinational executives.

2. Can I switch from an EB-2 to an EB-1?

Yes, you can switch from an EB-2 to an EB-1 if you meet the stricter criteria of the employment-based first preference immigrant visa.

3. What advantages does switching from EB2 to EB1 offer?

Switching to the more prestigious EB-1 category often results in a faster green card process due to shorter wait times for visa numbers and priority dates.

4. What are the three categories within the EB-1 visa?

The three categories under the EB1 include individuals with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors/researchers, and some top-level managers/executives transferred internationally.

5. Will my salary affect my eligibility when porting from EB 2 to EB 1?

While having a large salary may reflect your success in your particular academic field or occupation, it’s not a direct requirement for green card application eligibility when porting your green card status.

Scroll to Top