With the many advantages it offers, it’s no surprise that people from all over the world and from various industries seek to obtain the EB-1 green card. If you count yourself among these exceptional individuals, you may want to consider the EB-1C as your ticket to working in the U.S. Keep reading to have your questions answered in this EB-1C FAQ.
EB-1C Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do you qualify for an EB-1C green card?
The EB-1C is reserved for the multinational executives and managers of multinational companies that have a branch in the U.S. To qualify, you must prove that your position meets the requirements and that you have been working in the foreign branch of the company for at least one year prior to having your petition filed.
Q. How does the USCIS define an executive?
One of the main reasons for complications in the EB-1C process is failing to meet the position requirements. As a qualifying executive, you must be responsible for overseeing the operation of the company on a large scale. This means that you need to have the ability to make far-reaching decisions without substantial supervision. You must also supervise a team of managers.
Q. How does the USCIS define a manager?
A manager, on the other hand, must supervise the work of several employees in order to qualify. This means having the ability to hire, fire, and control the salary of a team of subordinates. You should also determine the day-to-day activities of these employees.
Many EB-1C complications arise when someone with a position such as an individual account manager attempts to apply. This position does not involve the supervision of a team even though the title includes the word “manager”.
Q. What does a multinational company look like?
Your employer must be an affiliate, subsidiary, or branch of the same company that you have been working for in your home country. As such, your employer must be doing business in at least two countries, one of which must be the United States. Also, this branch must have been in business in the U.S. for at least one year leading up to your EB-1C petition.
Q Do I need to have an L-1A visa in order to qualify?
Fortunately, there is no required visa that stands as a prerequisite to the EB-1C. However, qualifying for an L-1A visa may go a long way when it comes to arguing your case due to the fact that the requirements for the L-1A are very similar to those for the EB-1C.
You also need to keep in mind that, in order to qualify, you must have been employed with this company outside of the U.S. for at least one year in the three years leading up to your EB-1C petition. If you have spent the past 5 or 7 years working in the U.S. under L-1A status, you will not qualify for the EB-1C.
Q. Do I need to be in the U.S. when I apply?
As previously stated, you must spend at least one year working for the foreign branch of your company in the last three years. This means that you will likely be outside of the U.S. when you apply. However, this is not always the case. Here is an example:
Ronald is the director of marketing for Widget Inc. He worked for one year in 2015 in the branch located in his home country. After that, he transferred to the U.S. under L-1A status to work for two years. In this scenario, Ronald would qualify to apply for an EB-1C in the U.S. because he had worked for one year in the foreign branch in the past three years.
Q. Can I petition for the EB-1C if I have already petitioned for a different green card?
Yes. There are no regulations preventing you from filing a new petition for a different green card while another is being processed. In fact, you are able to file multiple petitions for several different green cards simultaneously. While this is an expensive option, it does increase your chances of being approved for at least one of them and it decreases the processing time if you are not approved for your preferred option.
Q. Do I need a PERM Labor Certification to qualify?
One of the great benefits of the EB-1 category is that none of the green cards require a PERM Labor Certification. This bypasses a relatively tricky process that involves recruiting U.S. workers to fill your position, thereby reducing your processing time by at least several months.
Q. How often do I need to renew my EB-1C green card?
Your EB-1C will be valid for a period of ten years. After which, you need to file an I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. This is a unique benefit because, for nonimmigrant visas, the applicant needs to file a new petition and essentially reapply for the visa. With the I-90, you are simply asking the USCIS to send you a renewed green card without the need to meet the qualifications over again.
Q. How long will it take to get my green card?
Another benefit of the EB-1C is that almost all of the priority dates are usually current. This means that you can go through consular processing or adjust your status as soon as your I-140 is approved. We will discuss this aspect of the processing time further in the “priority dates” section of this EB-1C FAQ.
Q. Do I need a Job Offer to Qualify?
Yes. Even though the EB-1C does not require you to have a PERM Labor Certification, you do need to have a valid job offer from a multinational U.S. employer for a qualifying executive or managerial position.
Q. Who is the petitioner for an EB-1C?
Your sponsoring employer is the acting petitioner in an EB-1C case. This employer must file the petition on you behalf. You cannot do this yourself. Only the EB-1A, EB-2 NIW, and EB-5 permit the beneficiary to self-petition.
Q. WHICH FORMS do I need FOR THE EB-1C?
To apply for the EB-1C, you will need the:
- I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker
- I-485 Application to Register Permanent Resident or Adjust Status (only if you are adjusting your status from within the U.S.)
- DS-260 Online Immigrant Visa Application (only if you are using consular processing)
Q. WHERE should the forms be sent?
The I-140 and the I-485 should be sent to the USCIS while the DS-260 is an online form whose payments are made out to the Department of State.
Q. HOW LONG does the I-140 processing take?
The processing time for the I-140 petition is usually about six months. Though this time period is heavily dependent on the caseload of the service center that is processing your petition.
Q. WHAT supporting documents should be submitted with my petition?
Each person’s supporting documents are different because each immigration case is different. However, your employer will most likely need to produce:
- A written structure of the company’s organization and a description of the business conducted.
- Articles of association or incorporation depending on whether the company is a corporation, an LLC, or a partnership.
- A copy of the lease for the company’s physical premises.
- Financial documents, tax filings, stock certificates, quarterly reports, and bank statements.
- Any relevant contracts or invoices that lend credence to the company
- Proof of an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
- Your resume.
- Your diploma or degree.
This list is not exhaustive and should not be treated so. Consult your immigration attorney to find out exactly what documents you may need to help solidify your case.
Q. How do evaluating officers review my petition?
The officer who reviews your petition will take a two-pronged approach to his or her evaluation. The first prong will be to determine if you have submitted enough evidence and filled out your petition correctly.
The second prong is when the officer actually evaluates the submitted evidence to determine whether or not you meet the qualifications.
Q. Is PREMIUM PROCESSING available?
Unfortunately, the EB-1C is one of the few employment-based green cards that does not allow for premium processing, an optional service that expedites the petition’s processing time to 15 calendar days.
Q. HOW LONG does it take for the I-485 to process?
The I-485 also takes an average of six months to process. Though this too is dependent on the workload of your service center.
Q. WHAT does CONSULAR PROCESSING involve?
Consular processing involves making an appointment with a designated U.S. consulate or embassy, traveling to that embassy on the appointment date, and participating in a one-on-one interview with a consular officer before being granted your EB-1C.
Q. Why would I need to go through consular processing?
Consular processing is mandatory for anyone who is petitioning while outside the U.S. If you are inside the country, then you can choose to use consular processing or to adjust your status.
Q. Which route is better: adjustment of status or consular processing?
The answer to this question depends on your immigration situation. Consular processing may seem like the more difficult route, but it can be the least expensive and fastest path. This is because it takes an average of six months to adjust your status. On the other hand, your appointment for your consular interview may be scheduled in a matter of weeks.
Consult your immigration attorney to determine which method best suits your particular case.
Q. WHAT will happen at my consular appointment?
Firstly, like any interview, you want to make sure that you are there at least 15 minutes early. After checking in, you will be asked to wait until the consular officer is ready to see you. If your interview goes well, you will be given a sealed information packet to be given to the officer at your U.S. port of entry (border, airport, or sea port). There, you’ll be granted a temporary green card until the official visa can be mailed to your residence in the U.S.
Q. Is everyone subjected to an interview?
In the past, there have been many instances of green card applicants (especially EB-1 applicants) having their interview requirements waived. However, with the changing nature of the political administration, it may be wise to anticipate an interview regardless of past situations.
Q. What questions will the officer ask me at the interview?
During the interview, the officer will attempt to discern if your case is legitimate. You will be asked questions about your background, your company, your role in that company, what your plans are in the U.S., etc. The important thing is to be honest with your answers; it’s better to say that you don’t know an answer than to lie.
Q. WHAT items or documents should I take to the appointment?
In addition to the printed confirmation page of your completed DS-260, you will need to present to following items at your interview appointment:
- A portrait photo of you according to the Department of State requirements.
- All documents in support of your role as an executive or manager according to the USCIS regulations.
- A valid passport along with any expired passports.
- Your resume.
Q. What are the official fees for my EB-1C green card?
Here is a breakdown of the necessary fees associated with getting your EB-1C according to whether you choose adjustment of status or consular processing:
If you are adjusting your status
- Basic I-140 filing fee: $700
- I-485 fee: $750-$1,140. This fee varies depending on your age. Check this chart provided by the USCIS to see what your fee will be.
If you are using consular processing
- Basic I-140 filing fee:
- DS-260 fee: $230
- Affidavit of Support fee (if applicable): $88
- Biometrics fee (if applicable): $85
Q. HOW SHOULD I make these payments?
The payments for the I-140 and the I-485 should be made as a money order or cashier’s check to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. It’s best to write each payment as a separate money order or check as opposed to combining the payments. This helps avoid confusion and possible delays in your petition’s processing time.
Keep in mind that the I-140 fee must be paid by your petitioning employer. There could be serious consequences if the USCIS learns that you paid this fee instead. The I-485 fee and DS-260 are your responsibility depending on which route you choose.
The DS-260, if you are using consular processing, is paid online to the Department of State.
Q. Is a refund possible?
The USCIS states that there are only three main situations in which they will issue a refund:
- If an unnecessary form is requested that requires a fee.
- If a fee is requested that is greater than what is stated on the USCIS website.
- If the USCIS fails to process a petition with premium processing in the 15 calendar day window. Because premium processing is unavailable for the EB-1C, you cannot gain a refund this way.
Q. Is consular processing cheaper than adjustment of status?
On the other hand, adjusting your status will cost anywhere between $750-$1,225 including the biometrics fee. Therefore, on the surface, consular processing is the cheaper option. However, if you need to travel overseas to the U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country, you will need to factor in your traveling cost.
Q. What are your attorney fees?
You can see the flat fee that we charge for our EB-1C services on our fees page.
Q. How does the USCIS define a priority date?
Your priority date is defined as the day that the USCIS receives your I-140 petition.
Q. HOW can I tell WHEN MY PRIORITY DATE IS considered CURRENT?
The Department of State releases a monthly visa bulletin that contains all of the most recent final action dates according to the type of green card and the beneficiary’s country of origin. When your priority date matches or passes the final action date given in your section, the USCIS will consider your date as current and a visa number will be available for you.
Q. ARE THE dates for the EB-1C CURRENT right now?
One of the major benefits of the EB-1 category is that the final action dates are usually current for most countries. However, there have been times, such as in the June 2017 visa bulletin, when some of the countries have had waiting times of several years. Be sure to check each new bulletin to see if your date is current.
Q. Why is there a discrepancy in the dates from one country to the next?
The reason for the waiting times is because the Department of State only allots a certain number of immigrant visas to be issued annually for each country. If more people from a particular country apply than there are visas available, then a backlog will build.
This is why populous countries such as China and India tend to exceed the limit each year and grow the backlog.
Q. WHAT is the next step after my priority date becomes current?
When your priority date matches or passes the final action date in your category, a visa number will be made available. You can then file your I-485 to adjust your status or make your consular appointment.
Q. What are some common reasons for EB-1C denial or Rejection?
Some of the main reasons that might result in your EB-1C being denied or rejected are:
- Errors on your petition such as missing, incomplete, inconsistent, or inaccurate information.
- Issues with fee payment.
- You have a criminal background or you have violated your immigration status in the past.
- Your position does not meet the requirements.
- Your qualifications are insufficient.
- Your employer does not meet the requirements.
Q. What is the DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REJECTION AND DENIAL?
Rejection occurs during the first phase of the two-pronged test. If you have an error on your petition or the fee was not paid correctly, then your petition will be rejected before it moves onto the second stage. This issue is usually rectified by simply fixing the error and refiling the petition. Keep in mind that the USCIS will not issue a refund for the first submission and that a new payment must be made.
Denial, on the other hand, happens when the evaluating officer decides that you, your position, your employer or all of the above do not meet the standards necessary to obtain an EB-1C. Rather than simply refile, you will most likely need to work with your immigration attorney to find a solution.
Q. Is it possible to appeal the denial decision?
If your petition was denied by the U.S. consulate or embassy, then you will likely see a note on your denial letter stating that the decision cannot be appealed. However, if you were denied by the USCIS, it may be possible to appeal to a third party, the Administrative Appeals Office.
It is important to note that the AAO usually tends to uphold the evaluating officer’s decision unless a significant change in your evidence or circumstances is brought to light. Overall, appealing is a very delicate procedure and should only be undertaken with the help of an experienced immigration attorney.
Q. Can I make legal motions?
Yes. There are two main kinds of legal motions that could be available to you depending on your situation:
Motion to Reopen
If new circumstances or facts have surfaced that would potentially alter the evaluating officer’s initial decision, then you may be able to make a motion to reopen your case. This new evidence must be substantial and it should be evident that it will have an impact on your case.
Motion to Reconsider
If you and your attorney believe that the evaluating officer was incorrect in his or her decision, then you may be able to make a motion to reconsider your case. In this situation, you will need to argue the facts in a way that demonstrates your qualifications. This should not be attempted without the help of an immigration attorney.
Q. Why have I received an RFE?
A Request for Evidence (RFE) can be issued if the evaluating officer believes that more evidence is necessary to clarify your position or your qualifications. If you are issued an RFE, consider it like a second chance. The USCIS has not yet denied your petition, but if you do not give a sufficient response by the given deadline, they may issue you a denial.
Be sure to take your RFE to your attorney as soon as possible to ensure that all issues are addressed in a timely manner and that you have the best possible chance for approval once the RFE response has been submitted.
Q. What about ALTERNATIVES TO THE EB-1C?
You may qualify for the EB-2 if you hold an advanced degree or can prove that you have extraordinary ability in your field. If you have a bachelor’s degree or have a skilled or unskilled position, you may be able to apply for the EB-3.
Keep in mind, however, that both the EB-2 and the EB-3 require your employer to obtain a PERM Labor Certification. This means that your employer will need to post job ads for your position with the intention of determining if any qualified U.S. workers are available. Not having to go through this process is one of the main benefits of the EB-1C.
How Our Immigration Attorneys Can Help
All of these questions only serve to scratch the surface of what is involved with acquiring an EB-1C. When this much time, effort, and money is invested, it’s always best to have an expert handle your case. Hiring an experienced immigration can help you avoid common pitfalls, optimize your immigration path, and deal with unexpected obstacles that might arise.
Here at SGM Law Group, our dedicated attorneys have years of experience helping managers and executives from all over the world find permanent residency in the U.S. through the EB-1C green card. We handle everything from gathering evidence to support your qualifications to helping you file your fees and responding to RFEs.
To get in touch with one of our EB-1C attorneys today, you can fill out this contact form and schedule your consultation.