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EB1B Visa: A Comprehensive Guide for Employers & Employees

The EB1B is an employment-based immigrant petition for outstanding professors and researchers. When a U.S. employer sponsors a foreign-born employee’s EB-1B petition, they put them on track to becoming a permanent resident.

The EB1B visa is an advantageous visa compared to similar employment-based options because it provides a quicker path to a green card. The EB1B allows applicants to skip the lengthy PERM labor certification process, which typically takes a few years. The EB1B can be filed with premium processing, which speeds up the processing time. In addition, an EB1B approval puts applicants into the 1st preference category for green card filings, which is the quickest path to a green card.

Introduction: the EB1B Visa for Professors and Researchers

The EB1B is an employment-based immigrant visa that must be sponsored by a U.S. employer. U.S. employers can file EB1B petitions for existing or new employees with certain qualifications.

In general, the EB1B is an advantageous choice for U.S. employers who are looking for:

  • A long-term immigration option for foreign-born professor and researcher employees
  • A way to attract and retain top talent
  • A solution that eliminates the need to file work visa applications in the future
  • A way to avoid the lengthy and tedious PERM labor certification process

Employees also favor the EB1B. Some of the EB1B advantages for employees include:

  • A quicker path to a green card (especially for employees born in India and China)
  • U.S. permanent residency for family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21)

EB1B Criteria & Requirements
The EB1B is meant for outstanding researchers and professors. Most accomplished professors and researchers qualify, but U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has strict criteria for the EB1B. In addition to the qualifying criteria, there are certain EB1B requirements that both employees and employers must meet.

EB1B Employer Requirements
To sponsor an employees EB1B visa, an employer must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a legally incorporated U.S. company or organization
  • If the employer is a private company, they must employ at least three full-time researchers before sponsoring an EB1B

EB1B Criteria for Employees
Employees must satisfy three main requirements to qualify for the EB1B.

  • First, employees must have three years of teaching or research experience.
  • Second, they must have a U.S. job offer to teach or work in a predominantly research role.
  • Finally, they must satisfy at least two of the following EB-1B criteria:
  1. Evidence of receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement
  2. Evidence of membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement
  3. Evidence of published material in professional publications written by others about the candidate’s work in the academic field
  4. Evidence of participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field
  5. Evidence of original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field
  6. Evidence of authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field

EB1B Frequently Asked Questions
Is a job offer required for the EB1B visa?
EB1B candidates need a valid job offer to teach or work in a research role at a sponsoring U.S. company.

What is the processing time for an EB1B visa?
Regular processing times vary, but you can check average case processing times on USCIS’s website. In addition, EB1B visas can be filed with premium processing, which guarantees a USCIS decision in 15 days.

Is there an annual cap on the number of EB1B visas available?
No. There is no annual cap for EB1B visas.

Can I work in the U.S. on EB1B status?
No. There is no such thing as EB1B status. An approved EB1B does not grant you any immigration status to enter or stay in the U.S. You can work in the U.S. with an approved EB1B as long as you have a valid immigration status, such as an H1B visa or O-1 visa.

Can I change employers after I receive an EB1B visa approval?
Yes, you can change employers after receiving an EB1B approval. However, you should consult an immigration attorney to ensure your change does not negatively impact your chances of a future green card approval.


Final Thoughts: EB-1B Visa for Outstanding Professors and Researchers
The EB1B visa is the first step to obtaining permanent residency in the U.S. Yet the EB1B application process is complex and requires a deep understanding of U.S. immigration law. To ensure success, consult with a qualified immigration attorney who can help you through the entire process. Reach out to our team today to start your immigration journey.

About the author:

Jemima Owen-Jones

Jemima helps international startups and their teams navigate the work visa process so they can get approved fast and focus on what they do best.