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EB-1B: Outstanding Professor and Researcher

What is the EB-1B, Outstanding Professor and Researcher?

The EB-1B is an immigrant petition that puts you on the path to getting a green card. To be eligible for an EB-1B, you must demonstrate international recognition for your outstanding achievements in a particular academic field.

What are the benefits of the EB-1B?

The EB-1B allows you to skip the PERM, a lengthy process of testing the labor market for qualified U.S. workers.

How do I qualify for the EB-1B?

To qualify, you must:

  1. Have at least 3 years experience in teaching or research AND
  2. Have a U.S. job offer to teach or work in a predominately research role. (Note: If the U.S. employer is a private company, the company will also need to show documented accomplishments and that it employs at least 3 full-time researchers). AND
  3. Meet at least two criteria below:
  • Evidence of receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement
  • Evidence of membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement
  • Evidence of published material in professional publications written by others about the alien’s work in the academic field
  • Evidence of participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field
  • Evidence of original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field
  • Evidence of authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field
  • You have comparable evidence of establish that you are an outstanding researcher

Can I self-petition for an EB-1B?

No. You cannot file an EB-1B on your own. You must have a U.S. job offer, and the EB-1B must be filed by a U.S. company on your behalf.

Can I count my PhD research to satisfy the 3 years of research requirement?

It depends. Research experience gained during your advanced degree can only be used to satisfy the 3 years of research requirement if you’ve received the degree, and the research is recognized in the field as outstanding.

Do I need a PhD to qualify for EB-1B?

No. You do not need to have a PhD to qualify for the EB-1B, as long as you can satisfy all of the requirements. A PhD is not a requirement for the EB-1B.

What is a predominately research role?

In order to qualify for the EB-1B, the primary purpose of your U.S. role must be to conduct research. For example, a Research Software Engineer can apply for an EB-1B if the employer can establish that her role will primarily be focused on research instead of general computer programming.

How can a private employer show documented accomplishments?

If you will be working for a private company in the U.S., your employer also needs to show documented accomplishments. For example, approved patents granted to the company, publications by the company, or other similar evidence that the company is accomplished in the field.

How will the U.S. government evaluate my EB-1B petition?

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) takes a two-step approach in evaluating EB-1B petitions. First, you must establish that you either have a U.S. job offer for a research role, at least 3 years of teaching or research experience, and satisfy at least two of the eligibility criteria.

Then, USCIS performs a “totality test”. What this means is that USCIS reviews all the evidence together and makes a decision whether, taking everything into account, you have risen to the level of achievement where you should be classified as outstanding enough for EB-1B classification.

Who typically qualifies for EB-1B?

Many different types of researchers may qualify for the EB-1B! For example, a Data Scientist who has made original scientific contributions, with a strong publication and citation record, and has served as a judge at technical conferences may qualify for the EB-1B.

I am on F-1, can I file an EB-1B?

Yes, you can file the EB-1B while in F-1 student status. The EB-1B approval will not impact your F-1.

I am on J-1, can I file an EB-1B?

Yes, you can file the EB-1B while in J-1 status. The EB-1B approval will not impact your J-1. However, if you are subject to the J 2-year home residency requirement, you will not be able to file the I-485 (the “green card” application) until you have either obtained a waiver or satisfy the 2-year home residency requirement.

I am already on O-1. Does this mean that my EB-1B will be approved?

Not necessary. The O-1 allows you to temporarily work in the U.S. The standard for the EB-1B is higher than the O-1, because the EB-1B puts you on the path to a green card. Having an O-1 approval does not guarantee that the EB-1B will be approved.

Legalpad can help you prepare a compelling EB-1B filing!

Do I have to be in the U.S. to file the EB-1B?

No. You do not need to be in the U.S. to file the EB-1B. The EB-1B can be filed while you are living abroad.

Can I file the EB-1B with premium processing?

Yes. EB-1B petitions are eligible for premium processing. Under premium processing, you can receive a final decision within 15 days after filing, unless a Request For Evidence is issued.

A Request For Evidence means that USCIS would like more information before making a final decision.

What is included in the EB-1B petition?

The EB-1B petition will include:

  • Filing fee
  • Form I-907, if filing with premium processing
  • Form G-28
  • Form I-140
  • The EB-1B support letter (detailed letter that provides a narrative of your accomplishments)
  •  5-6 recommendation letters from experts in the field
  • Passport biographic page, and status documents if you are currently in the U.S.
  • Evidence of how you qualify for the EB-1B. For example, documentation of your publications, memberships, awards, patents, etc.
  • Information about the U.S. employer

What happens after the EB-1B is filed?

If the EB-1B is filed with regular processing, it can take 6-8 months to receive a decision from USCIS.

If the EB-1B is filed with premium processing, you will receive a decision within 15 days unless a Request For Evidence is issued.

Can I file the EB-1B and I-485 together?

If your priority date is current, then you have the option to file the EB-1B by itself or file the EB-1B and the I-485 (the “green card” application) together.

If your priority date is not current, then you must file your EB-1B by itself. Once your priority date becomes current in the future, you can then file the I-485.

I already have an I-140 approval. If I file the EB-1B, can I keep my original priority date?

Yes! If you already have an I-140 approval, you will be able to keep your priority date in the EB-1B filing. You will not lose your place in line.

I am in the U.S. Can I travel after the EB-1B is filed, or after the EB-1B is approved?

Yes. If you have valid status, you can travel internationally and re-enter the U.S. after the EB-1B is filed, and even after the EB-1B is approved. Having the EB-1B approval will not impact your ability to travel internationally. For example, you can travel internationally and re-enter the U.S. in O-1 status after EB-1B approval.

However, unless you are in H or L status, there will be travel restrictions at the I-485 stage (the actual “green card” application).

Would my dependents need a separate EB-1B approval?

No. Your dependents will not have a separate EB-1B approval. If the priority date is current, your spouse and children under 21 years of age can apply for the I-485 using your EB-1B approval notice.

About the author:

Allison Davy

Vice President Marketing, Legalpad

Allison helps startup founders from around the world navigate the complex U.S. immigration system so they can pursue their goals and purpose.