What is the EB1-2 Visa?
The EB1 green card is an immigrant visa that allows any qualified foreign national to live and work in the United States permanently. It has different categories, which are some of the most sought-after U.S. visas. The EB1 categories are highly favoured because of their shorter priority dates, which means shorter visa processing periods compared to other categories where waiting times might be years.
Outstanding researchers or professors who want to move to the U.S. may apply for the second preference of the EB1 Visa, known as the EB1-2 visa or EB1-B. Outstanding implies that you have international recognition for your efforts in a specific academic area.
This visa requires three years of experience in teaching or research in your academic area. Your motive for entering the U.S. must be teaching or research at a higher education institution. All EB1 categories, including the EB1-2 visa, do not require the PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) process. This means you do not need to undergo the Department of Labor (DOL) certification requirements and process.
Nevertheless, the EB1 visa application requires a high level of documentation and application screening. It’s ideal that you hire an expert immigration attorney to ensure that your application is well-filed and meets all requirements.
With an EB1-2 visa, your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can apply for immigrant status under the E-14 (spouse) and E-15 (children) categories. U.S. Citizenship is available to EB1-2 visa holders after 5 years of continuous residence. Before becoming a U.S. citizen, you’re free to travel with your Green Card in and out of the U.S.
EB1-2 Visa Eligibility
Outstanding professors and researchers must have at least three years of experience teaching or research in their academic discipline. They must also have international recognition to be eligible.
To demonstrate your international recognition, you must meet at least two of the six USCIS requirements and show proof of a job offer from a U.S. employer. The six USCIS requirements are as follows:
- Proof of major honours or prizes for great achievement
- Proof of membership in organizations that require exceptional success.
- Proof of other academics writing and professional publications written about your work.
- Proof of innovative scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field
- Proof of being an individual or panel judge of other people’s work in your discipline or related discipline.
- Proof of authorship of scholarly publications or articles in your academic field.
You can apply for EB1-2 if you’re coming to research or teach in a college, university, or work for a private employer. If your sponsor is a private employer, they must also have notable accomplishments in their field and show that they employ at least 3 full-time researchers.
Documentary Evidence for EB1-2 Visa
For your EB1-2 visa application, you have to provide at least two of the following comparable evidence to demonstrate international recognition in your discipline:
- Evidence of a major award or prize for an achievement in your academic field of major significance.
- Evidence that you’re a member of a professional achievement that requires remarkable achievements
- Copies of your academic writings and published material in professional journals. This may be written by you or by someone else about your work.
- Evidence that you participated, either on a panel or as an individual, as a judge of other people’s work in your academic field or related field.
- Copies of your scholarly research or original scientific contributions to your academic field
- Evidence to show that you’re the author of international recognized scholarly articles or books in scholarly journals.
Other required evidence may include:
- Reference letters from your previous employments to show that you meet the 3-year minimum experience requirement.
- A letter or contract document showing that your job position requires a permanent researcher that is tenured or is on the tenure track teaching any or a specific subject.
- Proof showing that your employer (if private) has substantial research achievements, employs at least 3 other full-time researchers, and intends to hire you for permanent research work.
- Evidence that shows you’ll continue with your research or teaching in the U.S.
Document Checklist for Visa Application
As part of your EB1-2 visa application process, you will need to submit the following documents:
- A valid passport
- DS-260 confirmation page
- Visa application fee receipts
- Two passport photographs meeting U.S. visa requirements
- Letter of job offer
- Medical examination and vaccination certificates where applicable
- Marriage certificates for dependent spouses and birth certificates for dependent children
To start your EB-12 application, your U.S. employer must file a Petition for Alien Worker known as Form I-140. Unlike some other work immigration visas, the EB1 visas do not require PERM Labor Certification.
Notably, your U.S. employer must show that they can continue paying the stated wage as of your priority date. They can submit an annual report, tax return, or audited financial statement for proof of ability to pay. If your Form I-140 is approved, it’ll be sent to the National Visa Center.
Then you will have to submit the Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application, known as Form DS-260. Pay all applicable fees, schedule your interview, and print your application and interview confirmation page. You’ll have to take this page with you for your visa interview.
When it gets to your priority date, you have to attend your visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your country. If you pass your interview, you’ll get your visa, and you can enter the U.S. For those in the United States, you have to file Form I-485 for an adjustment of status. You’ll attend your interview at a USCIS office.
EB1-2 Visa Application Fees
All or some of the following fees may apply to your EB1-2 visa application:
- Form DS-260 filing fee: $325
- Affidavit of Support: $120
- Form I-485 filing fee for adjustment of status: Varies; $750 or $1,140
- Biometrics fee (if applicable): $85
- USCIS Immigrant Fee (if applicable): $220
The filing fee for Form I-140 is $700, but your sponsor will take care of it. You may have to pay other fees for medical examinations, vaccinations.
A visa interview is mandatory for all EB1-2 visa applicants, and it is one of the most important stages of the entire application process. At the embassy or consulate, a consular officer – the interviewer – will ask you questions about your visa application based on the documents you provide.
The interviewer may ask questions about your background, education, job qualifications, employer, employment offer in the U.S., and employer. You’ll get your visa if the interviewer finds your answers and the evidence provided satisfactory.
If your dependents intend to move to the U.S. with you, they too need to attend an interview for their E-14 or E-15 visa application. For theirs, the interviewer will ask questions about your relationship also based on the documents you submit. Children under 14 years may not need to attend an interview.
EB1-2 Medical Examination and Vaccinations
All EB1-2 applicants must undergo a medical examination to show that they are in good health to enter and live in the United States without endangering the health of others. The candidate must also receive all necessary vaccinations.
The NVC will send you information which will include all instructions on what vaccinations you must take and your medical examination. A licensed medical doctor will conduct the medical examination and give you a sealed report to submit at the embassy.
EB1-2 Processing Times
EB1-2 visas have current priority dates, so they have shorter wait times than other types of immigrant visas. The processing time for Form I-140 is around 6 to 9 months.
Your employer can apply for Premium Processing if your case is urgent and meets premium processing requirements. It costs $2,500, and your employer has to file Form I-907. Premium Processing ensures that your application is processed within just 15 days.
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You have to submit the Form DS-260 for immigrants online via the official website. Your U.S. sponsor will take care of the Form I-140 petition for alien workers.
EB1A classification is available for different professions. On the other hand, the EB1-B (EB1-2) classification is only for people in scientific and other academic fields.
Both EB1-A and EB1-B are difficult to acquire as they have high standards. The first requires extraordinary ability, while the second requires outstanding achievement in academic fields. However, it can be more difficult to demonstrate extraordinary ability.
You cannot self-sponsor your EB1-2 visa as an outstanding researcher or professor. You must have a job offer from a U.S. employer who will petition on your behalf.