Obtaining a green card (lawful permanent residence) in the United States is typically based on one of several employment-related categories. The specific employment-based green card category you qualify for depends on your qualifications, skills, and the needs of the U.S. job market.
In this article, we will delve into the intricate details of the EB-1 green card overview. Specifically, we will clarify the most updated guidance provided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) which has described examples of evidence for EB1-1 extraordinary ability and EB1-2 outstanding professor or researcher petitions, with a focus on STEM fields. Moreover, we will explore how immigration officers evaluate the totality of evidence presented by applicants, offering insights into the positive factors that may tip the scale in favor of a successful EB-1 green card application. These policy clarifications serve as a valuable guide for individuals seeking lawful permanent residence in the United States through the EB-1 category.
The EB-1 (Employment-Based First Preference) green card category is designed for individuals with extraordinary abilities, outstanding professors or researchers, and multinational executives and managers. It offers a relatively fast track to obtaining lawful permanent residence (a green card) in the United States.
In preparing your EB-1 green card application, consider these key steps for each specific category: For EB-1A, assemble evidence showcasing your extraordinary abilities, including awards, publications, memberships, and achievements, and seek expert opinion letters affirming your exceptional talents. If pursuing EB-1B, secure a job offer from a U.S. educational or research institution, compile proof of your notable contributions in academia or research, and gather letters of recommendation from respected peers. For EB-1C, verify the qualifying relationship between your foreign and U.S. employers, substantiate your executive or managerial role in the foreign company, and document the job offer from your U.S. employer. These crucial components are pivotal in the EB-1 green card journey.
The category of Extraordinary Ability (EB1-1) necessitates the substantiation of sustained national or international acclaim within the realms of sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. To satisfy this criterion, it is incumbent upon the applicant to meet a minimum of three(3) out of the ten (10) specified criteria outlined below. Alternatively, they may present evidence of a singular exceptional achievement, exemplified by accolades such as a Pulitzer Prize, an Oscar, or an Olympic Medal, coupled with clear documentation of their continued dedication to their area of expertise. Significantly, it is noteworthy that neither a compulsory offer of employment nor a labor certification is requisite within this category.
USCIS has demonstrated that to prove extraordinary ability, the petitioner must furnish documentation reflecting sustained national or international recognition in their field. This can involve a major internationally recognized award or a combination of three specified types of evidence from the regulations. The evidence should showcase significant contributions to the field, and although the term ‘extraordinary’ need not be explicitly stated, it should be evident from the material provided. While one strong piece of evidence in a specific category can suffice, an excessive volume of documentation may not establish eligibility. Ultimately, the evidence must demonstrate the beneficiary’s position among the elite in their field.
The evaluation process consists of two steps: first, assessing evidence against regulatory criteria, and second, considering the evidence as a whole for the final determination, considering the high level of expertise required for this immigrant classification.
On September 12, 2023, USCIS has comprehensively updated content of first Step of Reviewing Evidence and gave examples for each criteria.
- Evidence of receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence;
First, USCIS initially assesses if the individual has received prizes or awards, focusing on the recipient rather than the employer. Second, USCIS evaluates whether the award is a nationally or internationally recognized prize for excellence in the field, not necessarily equivalent to the prestige of a Nobel Prize. Qualifying awards may include those from renowned national institutions, professional associations, doctoral dissertation recognition, or conference presentations. Factors considered include award criteria, national or international significance, the number of recipients, and competitor limitations. While many academic awards may not meet the recognition threshold, some nationally or internationally recognized awards for excellence may suffice, even if limited to specific groups, such as youth, amateurs, or early-career professionals. For instance, awards to newcomers in major sports leagues can achieve national or international recognition through media coverage.
- Evidence of your membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members
- Evidence of published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media
- Evidence that you have been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel
- Evidence of your original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field
- Evidence of your authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media
- Evidence that your work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases
- Evidence of your performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
- Evidence that you command a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field
- Evidence of your commercial successes in the performing arts
The category of Outstanding Professors and Researchers (EB1-2), establishing international recognition for exceptional accomplishments within a specific academic discipline is essential. It is imperative that you possess a minimum of three years of experience in either teaching or conducting research within that academic domain. Your entry into the United States must be with the intent to pursue a position involving either tenure or a tenure track in teaching, or a research role of comparable standing at a university, institution of higher education, or a private employer. Furthermore, to meet the eligibility criteria, you should fulfill a minimum of two of the six criteria** detailed below, while also presenting a formal offer of employment from your prospective U.S. employer. In the case of private employers, they must substantiate their documented achievements and employ a minimum of three full-time researchers. Importantly, this category does not necessitate labor certification.
On September 12, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has comprehensively updated content in this area. Stay tuned for more information.