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With its many advantages, it’s no surprise that people worldwide and from various industries seek to obtain the EB-1 green card. Suppose you count yourself among these exceptional individuals. In that case, 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 Visa FAQ, which will be answers to the new EB-1C premium processing scheme.
Policy Update- On September 12, 2023 USCIS updated the manual to offer clarifying guidance on examples of evidence that may satisfy the relevant criteria for employment first-based preference applicants, as well as how USCIS officers evaluate the totality of the evidence for eligibility. See the complete details in this EB-1 policy update post.
Due to the number of questions, we will organize them into categories. You can skip to a specific section by clicking on the link associated with that group of questions.
The EB-1C is reserved for the multinational executives and managers of multinational companies with 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 company’s foreign branch for at least one year before filing your petition.
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 oversee the company’s operation 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.
On the other hand, a manager must supervise several employees’ work to qualify. This means having the ability to hire, fire, and control the salary of a team of subordinates. It would be best if you also determined 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.”
Your employer must be an affiliate, subsidiary, or branch of the same company you have worked 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 before your EB-1C petition.
Fortunately, no required visa stands as a prerequisite to the EB-1C. However, qualifying for an L-1A visa may go a long way when arguing your case because the requirements for the L-1A are very similar to those for the EB-1C.
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.
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 you will likely be outside 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 a branch 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 a foreign branch in the past three years.
Yes. No regulations prevent you from filing a new petition for a different green card while another is processed. You can file multiple petitions for several different green cards simultaneously. While this is an expensive option, it increases your chances of being approved for at least one of them and decreases the processing time if you are not approved for your preferred choice.
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.
Your EB-1C will be valid for ten years. Afterward, you must 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 ask the USCIS to send you a renewed green card without needing to meet the qualifications again. It’s important to note that although the green card itself may expire, its permanent residency status does not expire. If you meet the criteria for maintaining permanent residency and have not committed any actions that could lead to its revocation, you can continue to live and work in the United States indefinitely, even if your physical green card has expired. However, keeping your green card up to date is recommended to avoid any inconveniences or difficulties with travel or employment verification. Suppose you have any specific questions or concerns about your EB-1C green card. In that case, it is advisable to consult with an immigration attorney for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding your case.
Another benefit of the EB-1C is that almost all priority dates are usually current. You can go through consular processing or adjust your status once 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.
Yes. Even though the EB-1C does not require a PERM Labor Certification, you need a valid job offer from a multinational U.S. employer for a qualifying executive or managerial position.
Your sponsoring employer is the acting petitioner in an EB-1C case. This employer must file the petition on your behalf. You cannot do this yourself. Only the EB-1A, EB-2 NIW, and EB-5 permit the beneficiary to self-petition.
To apply for the EB-1C, you will need the following:
The I-140 and I-485 should be sent to the USCIS, while the DS-260 is an online form with payments to the Department of State.
The processing time for the I-140 petition is six to eight months. However, this period heavily depends on the caseload of the service center processing your petition.
Each person’s supporting documents are different because each immigration case is different. However, your employer will most likely need to produce the following:
This list is not exhaustive and should not be treated so. Consult your immigration attorney to find precisely what documents you need to help solidify your case.
The officer who reviews your petition will take a two-pronged approach to their evaluation. The first prong is to determine if you have submitted enough evidence and filled out your petition correctly.
The second prong is when the officer evaluates the submitted evidence to determine whether or not you meet the qualifications.
Yes, it is available as a limited service that is expanding. As of summer 2022, specific EB-1C premium processing applications will be accepted. If you have a pending Form I-140 that was filed under an EB-1C visa, then USCIS will allow premium processing:
USCIS stated that it would continue implementing a phased approach to offering EB-1C premium processing in the near future, mainly focusing on Forms I-140, I-539, and I-765.
The I-485 also takes an average of six months to process. Though this too is dependent on the workload of your service center.
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. Consular processing can be a complex and time-consuming process. It’s essential to follow the instructions provided by the embassy or consulate, submit accurate and complete documentation, and prepare for the consular interview. Seeking guidance from an immigration attorney or consulting with the embassy or consulate handling the case can help ensure a smoother consular processing experience.
Consular processing is mandatory for anyone petitioning while outside the U.S. If you are inside the country, you can use consular processing or adjust your status.
The answer to this question depends on your immigration situation. Consular processing may seem more complicated, but it can be the cheapest and fastest path. This is because adjusting your status takes an average of six months. 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.
Firstly, like any interview, you want to ensure 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 seaport). There, you’ll be granted a temporary green card until the official visa can be mailed to your residence in the U.S.
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.
During the interview, the officer will attempt to discern if your case is legitimate. You will be asked questions about your background, company, role in that company, your plans 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.
Remember, even though an evaluating officer has already approved your petition, the interviewing officer can still deny your green card.
In addition to the printed confirmation page of your completed DS-260, you will need to present to following items at your interview appointment:
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
If you are using consular processing
The I-140 and I-485 payments 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 instead of combining them. This helps avoid confusion and possible delays in your petition’s processing time.
Keep in mind that your petitioning employer must pay the I-140 fee. There could be severe consequences if the USCIS learns you paid this fee instead. The I-485 fee and DS-260 are your responsibility depending on your chosen route.
The DS-260, if you are using consular processing, is paid online to the Department of State.
The USCIS states that there are only three main situations in which they will issue a refund:
This depends on your traveling situation. Aside from that, consular processing should cost around $400 including the biometrics and affidavit of support fees.
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 must travel overseas to the U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country, you must factor in your traveling cost.
Your priority date is the day the USCIS receives your I-140 petition.
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 in your section, the USCIS will consider your date as current, and a visa number will be available for you.
One of the significant benefits of the EB-1 category is that the final action dates are usually current for most countries. You can check the latest visa bulletin here to see which countries, if any, have wait times.
The reason for the waiting times is that the Department of State only allows a certain number of immigrant visas to be issued annually for each country. When the demand for visas from a particular country exceeds the available supply, then a backlog will build.
The visa bulletin uses a priority date system to determine the order in which visa applications are processed. The priority date is generally the date when the immigrant petition is filed. If there is a backlog in visa processing, applicants with earlier priority dates are given preference over those with later dates. High demand from a specific country can result in a longer wait time for applicants from that country, as their priority dates may be further back in the queue. This is why populous countries such as China and India tend to exceed the yearly limit and grow the backlog. Specific categories of visas, such as immediate relative visas for spouses, parents, and unmarried children under 21 of U.S. citizens, are not subject to numerical limits. This means that applicants in these categories can obtain visas more quickly, regardless of their country of origin. However, numerical limitations apply for other family-based or employment-based visa categories, which can lead to longer wait times.
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.
Some of the main reasons that might result in your EB-1C being denied or rejected are:
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, your petition will be rejected before it moves onto the second stage. This issue is usually rectified by fixing the error and refiling the petition. Remember that the USCIS will not issue a refund for the first submission and must make a new payment.
On the other hand, denial 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 refile, you will likely need to work with your immigration attorney to find a solution. Visa denials can occur for various reasons, such as a criminal record, previous visa violations, suspicion of immigration fraud, insufficient ties to the home country, or failure to demonstrate the purpose of travel or intent to return. A visa denial is a formal decision and can have long-term consequences, as it may impact future visa applications.
If the U.S. consulate or embassy denied your petition, then you will likely see a note on your denial letter stating that the decision cannot be appealed. However, if the USCIS denied you, it may be possible to appeal to a third party, the Administrative Appeals Office.
It is important to note that the AAO usually upholds the evaluating officer’s decision unless a significant change in your evidence or circumstances is brought to light. Overall, appealing is a delicate procedure and should only be undertaken with the help of an experienced immigration attorney.
Yes. Two main kinds of legal motions could be available to you depending on your situation:
Motion to Reopen
If circumstances or facts surface that would alter the initial decision, 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 impact your case.
Motion to Reconsider
If you and your attorney believe that the evaluating officer was incorrect in their decision, you can 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.
A Request for Evidence (RFE) can be issued if the evaluating officer believes that more evidence is necessary to clarify your position or qualifications. If you are given an RFE, consider it a second chance. The USCIS has not yet denied your petition, but if you do not respond sufficiently by the deadline, they may deny you.
Be sure to take your RFE to your attorney as soon as possible to ensure that all issues are addressed promptly and that you have the best chance for approval once the RFE response has been submitted.
If you do not qualify for an EB-1C green card, you might consider either the EB-2 or the EB-3 as alternatives.
You may qualify for the EB-2 if you hold an advanced degree or prove 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.
Remember, however, that both the EB-2 and the EB-3 require your employer to obtain a PERM Labor Certification. Your employer must post job ads for your position to determine 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.
All of these questions only serve to scratch the surface of what is involved with acquiring an EB-1C. When investing this much time, effort, and money, it’s always best to have an expert handle your case. Hiring an experienced immigration firm can help you avoid common pitfalls, optimize your immigration path, and deal with unexpected obstacles that might arise.
VisaNation Law Group’s dedicated attorneys have years of experience helping managers and executives worldwide find permanent residency in the U.S. through the EB-1C green card. They handle everything from gathering evidence to supporting your qualifications to helping you file your fees and responding to RFEs.
To contact one of their EB-1C attorneys today, you can fill out this contact form and schedule your consultation.