Any qualified candidate who can meet the legal requirements outlined below can expeditiously immigrate to the U.S. by filing his immigrant petition directly with USCIS. In other words, in these cases a prospective employer is not required to file a labor certification and prove a lack of qualified U.S. workers. However, a job offer by a U.S. employer is required and the applicant (“professor or researcher”) must be outstanding in an academic field.
- The professor or researcher must show that he is recognized internationally as outstanding in the field by evidence of at least two of the following:
- Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement in the academic field;
- Membership in an association(s) which requires outstanding achievement(s);
- Published articles in professional publications about the applicant’s work in his/her chosen academic field;
- Published articles or books by the applicant in scholarly journals with international circulation in the field;
- Evidence of the applicant’s participation, on a panel or individually, as the judge of the work of others in the same or similar field; or
- Evidence of the original scientific or scholarly research contributions to the field.
Note: Merely meeting two of the above requirements may not be enough. Evidence of the applicant’s international recognition as being outstanding, e.g. expert opinion letters, among other things, is often required by USCIS. Ask your immigration attorney for assistance in this regard.
- The applicant must have three years teaching or research experience in a specific academic area.
- The offered position cannot be temporary in nature. The applicant must be offered tenure, tenure track or a position with an indefinite or unlimited time duration by a U.S. university, institution of higher learning or a private employer.
- If the job offer is in the private sector, the employer has to have at least three full time employees performing research and the sponsoring company must have achieved documented accomplishments in an academic field.
First, due to the complex nature of these petitions, it is always advisable to have an experienced employment-based immigration attorney thoroughly review the applicant’s background and qualifications, his prospective job duties, salary and the employer’s research contributions to the academic field. Then, if the applicant’s and sponsor’s qualifications meet the minimum requirements for this employment-based immigrant category, the applicant should obtain documentation from experts in his field who can attest to his contributions and reputation as being outstanding.
The applicants should develop a strategy with their immigration attorney for gathering evidence documenting their experience and contributions to the field. Finally, the petition should be diligently prepared and supplemented by all relevant evidence of the applicant’s prior and present achievements. This evidence, among other things, may consist of the offer of employment letter, employer support letter, employment verification letters, and expert opinion letters. Once the EB-1 immigrant worker petition is complete, it is filed with USCIS. On average, it takes 60 to 180 days for USCIS to adjudicate this type of a petition, depending upon the USCIS Service Center where it is filed.
Next, upon approval of the immigrant worker petition, the applicant must file for his adjustment of status to an “immigrant status” in the U.S. or at a U.S. consulate abroad. This final phase of the immigration process will allow the primary applicant, as well as his spouse and dependents to complete their immigration to the U.S. and ultimately receive their “green cards”. Among the records the applicant(s) will need at this stage of processing will be : birth certificate(s), marriage certificate(s), divorce decree(s), medical exam(s), security clearance(s), and photographs. Processing can take approximately six months to one and a half years, depending upon how, when and where this application is filed.
STATUS WHILE PENDING
An applicant for a permanent resident visa petition or consular processing abroad may not live and work in the U.S. until his permanent residence is granted, unless the applicant continuously qualifies for a nonimmigrant (temporary) visa or other status. However, the applicant (as well as his dependents) will be eligible to apply for work authorization upon filing for adjustment of status in the United States. Thus, the applicant may be able to legally work in the U.S. while awaiting the USCIS interview for permanent residency.
Spouses and minor children must maintain their independent status as described in the preceding section. They will be able to immigrate as dependents, if they apply along with the primary applicant. However, if the children are over 21 at the time the EB-1 applicant immigrates, they will need to qualify for status in their own right.
Currently, there is no backlog in this category. However, a limited number of visas are available in this category every year. Therefore, from time to time there may be a waiting list or quota which may delay the immigration process. The applicant’s place in line in the quota is established on the date the visa petition is filed with USCIS.