How to Switch from EB-2 to EB-1: A Comprehensive Guide

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Shawn Sedaghat, Esq.

Are you currently holding an EB-2 visa but considering applying for an EB-1 green card? Switching from EB-2 to EB-1 can significantly expedite your path to permanent residency. This change can be transformative, potentially reducing wait times and streamlining the application process.

In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about making the switch, including eligibility requirements, priority date porting, and more.

Key Takeaways

  • Eligibility: You can switch from an EB-2 to an EB-1 if you meet the EB-1 visa criteria, which includes being a top professional with significant achievements.
  • Speed: The EB-1 process is generally faster than the EB-2 process and does not require a PERM Labor Certification, saving valuable time.
  • Priority Date Porting: Porting your priority date from an EB-2 to an EB-1 can maintain your place in line for a visa number, potentially shortening your waiting period.
  • Costs: Switching to an EB-1 may incur higher costs due to new application fees, but it offers benefits like quicker family work authorization.
  • Preparation: Before switching, ensure you qualify for one of the three types of EB-1 visas and prepare for the stringent requirements and possible increased costs.

Understanding EB-2 and EB-1 Green Cards

EB-2 Green Card

The EB-2 green card is for professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities in the arts, sciences, or business. To qualify, you must hold at least a master’s degree or equivalent or demonstrate exceptional ability in your field. Typically, EB-2 applicants are offered specific jobs in the U.S. requiring advanced expertise.

For the EB-2 category, U.S. employers usually need to obtain a PERM Labor Certification, proving no qualified American worker is available for the job. However, individuals with extraordinary abilities can seek a National Interest Waiver (NIW), allowing them to self-petition without a job offer.

EB-1 Green Card

The EB-1 green card is designed for individuals at the top of their fields, including scientists, artists, educators, and business leaders with international acclaim. The EB-1 category is divided into three subcategories:

  1. EB-1A (Extraordinary Ability): No job offer is required, but applicants must show evidence of significant achievements and recognition in their field.
  2. EB-1B (Outstanding Professors and Researchers): Requires a job offer and proof of international recognition.
  3. EB-1C (Multinational Executives or Managers): For executives or managers who have worked abroad for the same employer before transferring to the U.S.

Key Differences Between EB-2 and EB-1

  • EligibilityEB-1 applicants must demonstrate higher levels of achievement and recognition compared to EB-2 applicants.
  • Processing Times: EB-1 applications are generally processed faster than EB-2 applications.
  • Labor Certification: EB-1 applicants do not require a PERM Labor Certification, unlike most EB-2 applicants.

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

Assessing Eligibility

To switch from EB-2 to EB-1, you must meet the specific criteria for one of the EB-1 subcategories. Gather substantial evidence of your achievements, such as major awards, scholarly articles, or significant professional accomplishments. If you are applying under EB-1A, demonstrate national or international recognition in your field.

Porting Your Priority Date

Porting your priority date from an EB-2 to an EB-1 allows you to keep your original place in line for a visa number. This can significantly reduce your waiting time. To do this, ensure USCIS approves your new I-140 petition for the EB-1 category while retaining your EB-2 priority date.

Benefits of Switching from EB-2 to EB-1

  • Shorter Waiting Times: EB-1 applications often have shorter processing times compared to EB-2.
  • No PERM Labor Certification: Skipping this step saves time and simplifies the process.
  • Family Benefits: An approved EB-1 can expedite work authorization for family members.
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Considerations Before Switching

More Stringent Requirements

The EB-1 category has stricter requirements, demanding substantial evidence of top-tier achievements. Be prepared to provide extensive documentation proving your extraordinary ability, outstanding research, or executive qualifications.

Potential Costs

Switching from EB-2 to EB-1 involves additional costs, including new application fees and potentially higher legal fees. The total cost varies depending on individual circumstances and additional document requirements.


Switching from an EB-2 to an EB-1 can be a strategic move to accelerate your path to U.S. permanent residency. By understanding the eligibility requirements, porting your priority date, and preparing for the stringent application process, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your immigration goals.


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

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

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

  • Yes, if you meet the stricter criteria of the EB-1 category.

What advantages does switching from EB-2 to EB-1 offer?

  • Faster green card processing due to shorter wait times and priority dates.

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

  • Extraordinary Ability (EB-1A), Outstanding Professors/Researchers (EB-1B), and Multinational Executives/Managers (EB-1C).

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

  • While a high salary can reflect success, it is not a direct requirement for porting your green card status.
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