Immigration Law Associates
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EB-1B: Outstanding Professors and Researchers

Green Card Option with Qualifying Employer


The EB-1B Outstanding Professor/Researcher category requires the offer of a permanent job from a qualifying employer but not labor certification. A permanent job may be grant funded under some circumstances, and some for-profit employers qualify. The beneficiary must also have three years of full-time teaching or research experience at the time of petition; work towards the PhD normally does not count. The alien must show he or she is at the top of the field, both by meeting certain criteria and by showing international recognition.

EB-1B Standards
An outstanding professor or researcher must be able to show “sustained acclaim” on a national or international level. This can be shown if the beneficiary has – and is able to document -- at least two of the following:

  1. Major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement in the academic field;
  2. Membership in associations in the academic field which require outstanding achievements of their members (national academies and the like);
  3. Published material in professional publications written by others about the alien's work in the academic field;
  4. Evidence of participation, either individually or on a panel, as the judge of the work of others in the same or an allied academic field;
  5. Evidence of original scientific or scholarly research contributions to the academic field; or
  6. Evidence of authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the academic field.



Recent Trends
The USCIS adopted the present EB-1B adjudications policy in December 2010. All evidence submitted to support an individual criterion is reviewed to determine if it satisfies the plain language of that particular criterion. Then, in a “final merits” determination, all the evidence taken together is reviewed to assess the likelihood that the alien is recognized internationally as outstanding in a specific academic area. Application of the “final merits” determination guidelines has been very strict. However, an early-career academic who has a qualifying job offer may well be able to meet it based on the achievements which led to his or her selection for the job.

Application Procedure
The beneficiary must file a Form I-140 petition directly with USCIS. In addition, if a visa number is available, the beneficiary can concurrently file I-485 with the I-140, and can also apply for employment authorization and a travel document. Processing time for EB-1B cases depends on the workload at the specific USCIS service center at which the petition is filed. Current processing times by the Service Centers can be found here.

EB-1B cases require documentation from both employer and beneficiary showing each meets the requirements for the category. Moreover, adjudication standards in the category have recently changed. Individuals considering an EB-1B petition should evaluate their credentials and the nature of the job offer with an experienced immigration attorney knowledgeable about recent decisions to see if the case is approvable.


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