Frequently Asked Questions
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This page is focused on EB-1A Green Card FAQs. The green card process is highly complex with an abundance of misinformation online.
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EB-1A Green Card FAQS
The EB-1A visa is a fast track green card option for immigrants with extraordinary abilities. This visa is reserved for noncitizens who are at the top of their field. The fields include the STEM fields (science, technology, education, and mathematics), as well as business, education, arts, and athletics.
USCIS defines “extraordinary ability” as being in the small percentage at the top of your field, as demonstrated by such things as awards, contributions, high compensation, and positions held at distinguished companies.
No, you do not have to be in the U.S. to apply for the EB-1A visa. As long as you meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply for this visa from anywhere in the world.
The current processing times for an I-140 EB-1A visa petition is currently 20-22 months. If you want to speed up the process, you can pay a $2500 Premium Processing Fee to the USCIS to shorten your petition’s processing time to 15 calendar days. If the USCIS fails to meet the deadline, they will refund your premium processing fee.
Some of the main differences between the National Interest Waiver (NIW) and the EB-1A are:
1. NIW requires has an education requirement while the EB-1A does not. The NIW requires at least a Master’s Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree plus 5 years’ experience. If you do not meet the education requirement, then you can still apply for the NIW if you demonstrate “exceptional” ability.
2. The NIW requires demonstrating that your work is in the U.S.’s national interest. The EB-1A visa has no such requirement. Instead, for the EB-1A visa, you must demonstrate that you are at the top of your field.
3. The NIW visa falls under the EB-2 visa category while the EB-1A visa falls under the EB-1 visa category. The EB-1 visa category typically has no backlogs and much faster processing times.
It can be an ideal option for prospective immigrants who may not qualify for the EB-1A Extraordinary Ability visa category.
If your EB-1A visa petition has been approved, your spouse and children will also be able to apply for green cards as your dependents. In order for them to qualify, they must show evidence of their relationship to you.
It is important to note, though, that even if you get a green card through this category, they may not automatically receive one as well. They will need to file separate applications and meet the requirements for obtaining a green card.
No, citations are not required for a successful EB-1A visa petition. In fact, the majority of professions do not lend themselves to publishing, such as engineering. This is recognized by USCIS. Your entire application will be evaluated by USCIS, so include documentation of such things as essential roles held within organizations, a track record of novel contributions in the field, high compensation, media coverage, and membership in exclusive associations. Gathering robust evidence and crafting a well-structured petition are crucial steps towards success.
If your petition is denied, you typically have 3 options:
1. File again with USCIS. This approach is suitable if you believe you can overcome the deficiencies in your initial application by providing newer and stronger evidence that better demonstrates your extraordinary ability. It is essential to carefully analyze the reasons for denial in order to strengthen your case before resubmitting your petition.
2. File an Appeal: If you believe the decision was made in error, you have the option to file an appeal with the Administrative Appeals Office (“AAO”). The AAO will review your appeal, consider the evidence and arguments presented, and make a determination whether to uphold or reverse the initial decision. Appealing a denial requires careful preparation, including constructing a persuasive argument to challenge the reasons for denial.
3. File a Complaint: This is a more formal and legally complex approach, as it involves challenging the USCIS decision in federal court. The Federal Courts are outside the purview of USCIS, so judges are more objective. However, filing a complaint with the U.S. District Court should be pursued only after careful thought and analysis. It is crucial to have compelling evidence and strong legal arguments to demonstrate that USCIS erred in denying your petition.
There are five employment-based immigrant visa categories, including the EB-1 category within which the EB-1A visa falls.
The EB-1 category has an annual numerical visa limit of 40,040, plus any unused visas from the 4th and 5th visa categories. If you are filing under the EB-1A visa category, your priority date is the date the petition was filed. If filing under the EB-2 or EB-3 category, your priority date is the date your PERM LC application was filed.
However, in order to have a visa slot, you must have an approved Form I-140.
We are licensed to practice immigration law throughout the U.S. in all 50 states. That means you do not have to be located in California to use our services.
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