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The EB1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher Green Card Application

1. The Immigrant Visas Are Immediately Available for EB1 Outstanding Researcher or Professor (EB-1B) Category

Due to the immigrant visa number retrogression for some countries, the alien applicants from these countries need to wait for years to get Green Card application approval in EB-2 and EB-3 categories. Many new immigrants are looking for other options. The EB1 Outstanding Researcher or Professor (EB-1B) category is such an option for those outstanding alien applicants who could qualify. Because the EB-1B category is in the First Preference, and the immigrant visas are immediately available. 

For alien applicants with an advanced degree - masters or above, there are three ideal options to apply for a U.S. Green Card. These options are in different immigration classifications in Employment-Based (EB) immigration, which include:

  • EB-1B: Outstanding Professors and Outstanding Researchers (or EB1-OR);

For outstanding researchers, scholars, and professors who have at least three years of experience, and also have a permanent job offer for research or teaching position, the EB1 Outstanding Researcher or Professor immigrant category is an increasingly popular option to apply for U.S. Green Card. 

Many new immigrants may wonder whether they could qualify for the EB-1B immigration visa classification. The common misunderstanding could be that the EB1 Outstanding Researcher or Professor immigrant visa application is very hard to get approval. Therefore, many outstanding alien applicants with stable research jobs may not normally apply for Green Card in this category.

The EB1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher immigration category is suit for foreign nationals who are internationally recognized as outstanding in their field. It requires that the alien applicant is a tenured or tenured-track professor at a university, or is employed in a permanent research position at a private company that employs at least three full-time researchers. The alien applicant also should have at least three years of experience in the field.

2. The Eligibility and Requirements for EB1 Outstanding Professors or Researchers Petition

If a foreign national has an international reputation for being outstanding in a particular academic field, that person may, with an offer of work from a U.S. employer, qualify for a Green Card as a priority worker within the outstanding professors and researchers subcategory. The foreign national will have to show at least three years experience at either teaching or research in the relevant academic field. 

The job offer for which the applicant is coming to the U.S. must be a specific tenured or tenure-track teaching or research position at a university or an institution of higher learning. Or, if the position is at a research organization, it must be a permanent position - showing permanence can be a bit dicey in cases where the position is based on grant money that will run out in a year, but this can be overcome by showing that the employer intends to seek continued funding and that a reasonable expectation of success exists, such as a track record of renewed funding.

Not every type of employer can make use of this visa category. It must be a qualified employer, meaning either a university or institution of higher education or a department, division, or institute of a private research entity with at least three full-time researchers on staff. The private U.S. employer will also need to show a history of making significant achievements in research.

The basic guidance to determine the eligibility for EB1 Outstanding Researcher or Professor Green Card applications include:

1) The alien beneficiary should have a permanent job offer for research or teaching position, and can provide evidence that the alien beneficiary is recognized internationally as outstanding in the academic field.

2) An EB-1B application must be sponsored by a qualified U.S. employer. Universities and research companies are qualified to be an EB-1B petitioner. 

3) Some small private companies could also be qualified as EB-1B petitioners, if they have at least three full-time researchers, and have achieved documented accomplishments in an academic field. 

For EB1 Outstanding Researcher or Professor immigrant petition, the job offer should be in the form of a letter and come from:

1) A U.S. university or institution of higher learning, for a tenured or tenure-track teaching position or permanent research position in an academic field;

2) A department, division, or institute of a private employer, for a permanent research position in an academic field.

3. Who Would Qualify for EB1 Immigration Category of Outstanding Professor or Outstanding Researcher 

The EB1 Outstanding Researcher or Outstanding Professor (EB-1B or EB1-OR) immigration category is reserved for those considered outstanding in their specific field and who have obtained international recognition. Only tenured/tenure track professors or permanent researchers may use this category, and an alien applicant must have three years of experience. If a faculty member is selected for a teaching or research position, or if the position is purely research for a researcher in a private company, then this category may be the best immigration option.

Persons qualifying in the EB1 category of Outstanding Researcher or Outstanding Professor are granted a waiver of the Labor Certification requirement for Green Card application, but must have an offer of employment. To qualify, an applicant must be internationally recognized as outstanding in a specific academic area, and have at least three years of experience in teaching or research in their particular area of expertise, and must seek to enter the U.S. for:

  • a tenure track position within a university or institution of higher education to teach in his or her area of expertise;
  • a comparable, permanent position within a university or institution of higher education to conduct research in his or her area of expertise;
  • a comparable position to conduct research in his or her area of expertise with a private employer, if that employer hires at least 3 persons full-time in research activities, and has achieved documented accomplishments in an academic field.

Normally, people may expect outstanding researchers and professors to have Ph.D. degrees, but the USCIS regulations do not require a doctorate degree for the EB-1B beneficiary. Also, an alien beneficiary who qualifies as an outstanding professor can be offered a job as a researcher, and vice versa.

4. Evidence Submitted in Support of a Petition for an Outstanding Professor or Researcher

The EB-1B is a classification of outstanding professors and researchers, and it is given to professor and researchers recognized internationally for their outstanding academic achievements in a particular field. An EB-1B outstanding professor or researcher must have at least 3 years experience in teaching or research in an academic area, and enter the United States in a tenure or tenure track teaching or comparable research position at a university, or other institution of higher education.

Evidence must be submitted to support a Form I-140 petition for EB1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher (EB-1B). Unlike the requirement for the EB1 Extraordinary Ability Petition, in which alien applicant must have garnered sustained national or international acclaim in the field of endeavor, the EB1 outstanding professor or researcher petition must demonstrate that the alien is recognized internationally as outstanding in the academic field. 

In addition, an EB1 outstanding professor or researcher must be accompanied by a permanent job offer, tenured or tenure-track employment from a qualifying employer, and evidence that the alien applicant has at least three years of experience in teaching or research. In the case of research positions, the job offer must be for a "permanent" research position.

Also, the EB1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher petitions should be sponsored by a U.S. employer, and an employment offer letter is required to submit to USCIS to verify the employment terms to meet the EB-1B regulations. For the EB-1B petition, the U.S. employer is the the petitioner, and the alien employee is the beneficiary.

In addition, the U.S. employer should have the ability to pay the alien employee’s offered salary, and the alien employee should be employed in a tenure-track or permanent research position, which means that the alien beneficiary is employed on an continuous basis, without clear employment end date.

5. The Employment Offer and Evidence of at Least 3 Years of Experience

The EB1 Outstanding Researcher or Outstanding Professor immigration category requires an offer of employment. In addition, a petition for an outstanding researcher or professor must be accompanied by:

1). Evidence that the alien applicant is recognized internationally as outstanding in his or her field of expertise.

2). An offer of employment from a U.S. university or institution of higher learning, or a private employer.

3). Evidence of at least 3 years of experience in teaching and/or research in alien's field of expertise. 

For a private employer offering a permanent research position, the employer must show that it employs at least 3 full-time persons in research positions, and that it has achieved documented accomplishments in an academic field.

The alien applicant should has at least three years of experience in teaching and/or research in the academic field. Experience in teaching or research while working on an advanced degree will only be acceptable if the individual has acquired the degree, and if the teaching duties were such that he or she had full responsibility for the class taught, or if the research conducted toward the degree has been recognized in the academic field as outstanding. 

Evidence of teaching and/or research experience shall be in the form of letter from former or current employer and shall include the name, address, and title of the writer, and a specific description of the duties performed by the person. 

6. The Qualification Criteria for EB1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher Petition

USCIS regulations state that a petition for an outstanding researcher or professor must be accompanied by evidence that the researcher or professor is recognized internationally as outstanding in the academic field. Such evidence shall consist of at least two of the following six criteria:

1) Documentation of the receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement in the academic field;

2) Documentation of the membership in associations in the academic field that require outstanding achievements of their members;

3) Published material in professional publications written by others about the work in the academic field. Such material shall include the title, date, and author of the material, and any necessary translation;

4) Evidence of the 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 the original scientific or scholarly research contributions to the academic field; or

6) Evidence of the authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the academic field;

7. EB1 Outstanding Researcher or Professor Petition Needs Employer Sponsorship

A labor certification is not required in EB1 Outstanding Researcher or Professor petition (EB-1B or EB-OR). But the EB1 Outstanding Researcher or Professor petition immigration application requires that the alien beneficiary has a permanent employment offer from an U.S. employer. The permanent job offer may includes tenure or tenure track position in a university, or other permanent job position in a company. For positions other than a tenure or tenure track position, the job offer letter should be carefully drafted to meet the "permanent job" requirement of EB-1B application.

The EB1 Outstanding Researcher or Professor petition is an immigration category for researchers and professors only. To be eligible for this classification, the alien applicant's job duties must be primarily research. A private company can file EB-1B application for an alien worker.

But there are other requirements that a private company has to meet for filing an EB-1B application. If the U.S. employer is a private company, not a university or educational institution, the private employer must employ at least 3 full time researchers in their research activities, and have achieved documented accomplishments in an academic field.

8. The Employer is the Petitioner for the EB1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher Classification

An U.S. employer can apply directly for the Form I-140 without worrying about the recruitment that took place for the alien employee’s position. The employer should provide an appointment letter stating the title, salary, and term of appointment. The employer should also include the following information in a petition cover letter:

1) The position is tenured/tenure track or permanent research position;

2) The qualifications of the author of the letter;

3) The experience of the sponsored alien employee

4) The qualifications of the sponsored employee, such as what is the research, and what impact has the research already had and will have to the field;

The alien employee should provide evidence for his/her outstanding ability. Such evidence shall consist of at least two of the six criteria defined by USCIS. If you changes employer when your EB-1B based form I-140 petition is pending, a new EB-1B petition should be filed.

For the published paper, the USCIS acknowledged that the beneficiary does not have to be the first author on an article to claim credit for it. But sometimes, the USCIS Service Centers do send Request For Evidence (RFE) letter asking for proof that the beneficiary is a key independent researcher in a group project. Therefore, petitioners should clearly document the role of the alien beneficiary in a research team, especially if the beneficiary is not first author on any articles that result from the work.

9. The "Two-Step Approach" for EB1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher Petition

The USCIS' Two-Part Evaluation approach adjudication method also apply to EB1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher application. The evidence listed in the EB-1B regulations serve only as guidelines for the petitioner. Eventually, the submitted evidence should establish that the alien beneficiary is a researcher or professor who is internationally recognized as outstanding.

USCIS has issued a Policy Memorandum for "Two-Step Approach" Form I-140 Petitions Evaluation. This Policy Memorandum provides guidance regarding the analysis that Immigration Service Officers must use in adjudicating Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, filed for: EB1 - Extraordinary Ability petitions, EB1 - Outstanding Professor or Researcher petitions, and Aliens of Exceptional Ability, including EB2 NIW petitions.

Once USCIS determines that the petitioner has provided satisfactory evidence for the requisite number of prongs, the second phase of review requires the adjudicator to weigh the evidence against the required high level of expertise for the visa category. It is in the second phase of the review where the evidence can be evaluated to see if, cumulatively, it proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the EB-1B beneficiary is "outstanding" in the academic field.

When ultimately making a final decision regarding EB-1B eligibility, USCIS will first evaluate the evidence submitted by the petitioner to determine which regulatory criteria the beneficiary meets in Part One of the analysis. If the petitioner establishes that the beneficiary has met at least two of the six criteria, then USCIS will evaluate all of he evidence in the record to make a final merits determination of whether or not the petitioner, by a preponderance of the evidence, has demonstrated that the a preponderance has national and international acclaim, and that the beneficiary ‘s achievements have been recognized in the field of expertise.

This is the petitioner’s responsibility to meet the legal burden of proof to establish eligibility in all respects. Whenever a alien applicant makes an application for an immigrant benefit, the petitioner shall bear the burden of proof to establish eligibility for the benefit sought. Therefore, the petitioner must prove, by the preponderance of the evidence, that the beneficiary is fully qualified for the benefit sought.

Simply presenting evidence which relates to two of the listed six EB-1B criteria does not necessarily mean that the immigrant visa application should be approved, since the USCIS adjudicator needs to evaluate the submitted evidence. If the USCIS adjudicator determines that the evidence does not meet the standard for EB-1B classification, the additional evidence may be requested (Request For Evidence, or RFE)

10. Restrictions and Advantages of Applying for EB1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher

There are some restrictions for EB1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher petition. The first restriction is the academic field. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations define the term of academic field as a body of specialized knowledge offered for study at an accredited United States university or institution of higher education. 

The second restriction is the permanent job offer. The term permanent in reference to a position means either tenured, tenure-track, or for a term of indefinite or unlimited duration, and in which the employee will ordinarily have an expectation of continued employment unless there is good cause for termination.

For a person who may qualify for EB1 Outstanding Professors or Researchers, applying for this immigration category is a much better choice than the Labor Certification. The EB-1B petition does not require the Labor Certification. As many people know, the Labor Certification is a long process. Therefore, bypassing the Labor Certification process is an advantage of EB-1B, and it makes EB-1B much faster than other immigration categories requiring the Labor Certification. Furthermore, an immigration visa number is almost available to submit the Form I-485 application of status adjustment, for EB1 categories in most cases.

Without the requirement of Labor Certification, an EB-1B applicant also enjoys some freedom in employment. The applicant does not need to meet some very strict conditions set otherwise in the Labor Certification, such as change job description, job title, job location, and salary requirement.

Generally, the major advantages of EB1 Outstanding Professors or Researchers application include:

1) No labor certification is required for Form I-140 filing under EB1. 

2) The immigrant visas are current for EB1, so it is much faster to obtain a U.S. Green Card in this category than other categories under EB2 and EB3.

3) The U.S. employer must file the EB-1B application with the USCIS as a sponsor; the foreign employee is the beneficiary of the application.

4) A job offer from the U.S. employer is required for this category.

11. The Differences Between EB-1A and EB-1B Petitions

The EB1 Extraordinary Ability (EB-1A) petition does not require a job offer, but the EB1 Outstanding Professors and Researchers petition requires a job offer. Thus, the EB1 Outstanding Professors and Researchers petition cannot be self-filed without an U.S. employer as a sponsor. The EB1 Outstanding Professors and Researchers petitions must be accompanied by a job offer from a U.S. employer.

The regulation requirements for an EB-1B petition is lower than that for an EB-1A petition. To file an EB-1A petition, an alien applicant needs to prove that he or she has “extraordinary ability” in a field, which normally requires greater achievement and ability in a field than the the "outstanding ability" required for an EB-1B petition.

Also, the required evidence to qualify for EB-1B immigration category is easier to satisfy than that for EB-1A category. Three regulation criteria are required to be met for an EB-1A petition, whereas an EB-1B petition only requires to met two of the the regulation criteria. Therefore, it is preferable to file an EB-1B petition if an alien applicant is a professor or researcher, and can meet the employment requirement.

  • For EB1 Extraordinary Ability applicants, they need to show a major internationally recognized award, or documentation from at least three of ten criteria. But for EB1 Outstanding Professors and Researchers, the alien applicants are only required to show that they have received international recognition as outstanding in an academic areas, by meeting at least two of the six criteria.
  • Also, for EB1 Outstanding Professors and Researchers application, the alien applicants may use the experience gained while they were still graduate students. These professors or researchers may qualify even if they received their three years of experience while still enrolled in a Ph.D. or MS program, if they had full control over the teaching class. In addition, outstanding researchers may also count their research experience which was gained as part of their education if they can show that their research was “outstanding."

In summary, the major differences between the EB1 Alien with Extraordinary Ability category or EB1 Outstanding Researcher or Professor category include:

1) The "EB1 Extraordinary Ability" category generally requires higher achievement and ability; 

2) The "EB1 Extraordinary Ability'' category can apply to many different fields in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, while the "EB1 Outstanding Researcher or Professor" category generally applies to scientific or scholarly fields; 

3) The "EB1 Extraordinary Ability" category requires no specific employment or job offer, while the "EB1 Outstanding Researcher or Professor" category requires a job offer for a permanent research position or a tenured/tenure track teaching position; 

4) One can self-petition in the "EB1 Extraordinary Ability" category without a U.S. employer's sponsorship, while the "Eb1 Outstanding Researcher or Professor" category requires a sponsorship from the alien's employer or prospective employer; 

5) The "EB1 Outstanding Researcher or Professor" category requires at least three years experience in the field, while the "EB1 Extraordinary Ability" category has no specified minimum experience requirement for any particular field. 

12. Not Qualify for EB1 Alien of Extraordinary Ability? - EB1 Outstanding Researcher or Professor May Be Your Option

If you believe that you may not qualify for EB1 Alien of Extraordinary Ability (EB-1A), but you still want to file your immigrant visa application under the EB1, you may consider the EB1 Outstanding Researcher or Professor (EB-1B).

For many foreign nationals, the EB1 Extraordinary Ability is an attractive immigration category, because the immigrant visas are current for everyone in the EB1 categories, and it also allows self petition without U.S. employer's sponsorship and even job offer. However, the EB1 Extraordinary Ability category has the high standard which requires the alien applicants to rise to the very top of the field.

For many researchers and professors, and also for people whose academic achievements are not quite sufficient for EB-1A applications, the EB1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher immigration category is a good choice. The regulation standard for EB-1B application is somewhat lower than that of EB-1A, and it only requires the "internationally recognized as outstanding", rather than "at the very top of the field of endeavor" as required by EB-1A applications. The overall approval rate of EB-1B application is about 90%, much higher than that of EB-1A applications.

13. The Differences Between the EB-1B and EB2 NIW Petitions

The requirements for EB1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher petition (EB-1B) and EB2 National Interest Waiver petition (NIW) are different. Therefore, the application documents and their preparation are significantly different between these two immigrant visa categories. As an example, the alien applicant can file self-petition for NIW, but the EB-1B application needs an U.S. employer as a sponsor. 

There is no rules in the law to prohibits multiple filings of immigrant visa application. It is possible to file an EB-1B and a NIW applications at the same time. Many aliens file two Form I-140 petitions concurrently in EB-1 and NIW to increase their approval chances.

To file EB1-B and EB1-A and/or NIW concurrently, your employer should file a separate Form I-140 petition for EB-1B and EB-1A and/or NIW, with the required application fee and supporting documents for each immigrant visa category. Also, the applicant should be careful not to check multiple categories on one I-140 Form.

14. Apply for Adjustment of Status Using Form I-485 after EB-1B based Form I-140 Approval

USCIS application Form I-485, application for adjustment of status, is the form you are required to file after your application for immigration based on EB-1B is approved. This form, when filed, must be accompanied by items such as photos, letter of employment, affidavit of support, physical examination record, etc. To help your Form I-485 application, we provide a Complete Do-It-Yourself Package for Form I-485 Application.

An immigrant  visa's "priority date" is established by the date when your Form I-140 application is filed. Normally, the immigrant visa's priority date for EB-1B application is current. Therefore, you can file EB-1B based Form I-140 application with Form I-485 application concurrently.

With the change of immigration regulation, rules on adjustment of status become more restricted. You must provide visa records to establish your and family member continuous lawful status since you entered the U.S. This can be a serious problem for those people whose status expired prior to their application for immigration was approved.

15. File a U.S. Green Card Application By Yourself

Most of the employment-based immigration categories require a U.S. employer to sponsor the foreign workers for their immigration application (U.S. Green Card Application), there are actually a few immigration categories that allow for self-petition if certain requirements can be met by the alien applicants.

The employment-based first preference (EB1) immigration category has three subcategories, i.e, EB1 Extraordinary Ability (EB-1A, or EB1-EA), EB1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher (EB-1B, or EB1-OR), and EB1 Multinational Executive or Manager (EB-1C, or EB1c). Only one of these 3 subcategories, EB1 Extraordinary Ability, allows for self-petition. This immigration category is available for alien applicants with extraordinary ability in business, science, art, education, or athletics. The alien applicants who may qualify for the EB1 Extraordinary Ability application are generally those who are recognized as being at the top of their respective fields, and who intend to continue to work in that field in U.S.

Another immigration category allowing for self-petition is the EB2 National Interest Waiver (EB2 NIW, or NIW). This immigration category falls within the employment-based, second preference (EB2) immigration category, which is reserved for professionals with advanced degrees and individuals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.

The EB2 immigration category generally requires a job offer from an U.S. employer, and it also requires a PERM labor certification approved by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The labor certification process is designed to protect U.S. workers. However, U.S. immigration law allows for a waiver of the PERM labor certification requirement in some cases, in which the alien applicant's contributions for United States are at such a level that the U.S. nation's interests can be better served by not having the alien applicants undergo the PERM labor certification process.

 

 


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