EB-1B Green Card for Outstanding Researchers

The Outstanding Professors and Researchers is a subcategory of the Employment-Based EB-1 immigrant visa. EB-1B recipients have a highly acknowledged record in a scholarly or scientific field. Like the extraordinary ability and multinational manager/executive categories, the EB-1B does not require a PERM Labor Certification.

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. 

However, it does require a permanent job offer from a U.S. employer, unlike the self-petitioned EB-1A cases. Unlike the EA category that covers many areas of study, the EB-1B job offer must solely come from scientific or scholarly fields. The U.S. employer would be the petitioner and the applicant would be the named beneficiary of the EB-1B.

Commonly referred to as the outstanding researcher visa or professor visa, the EB-1B requires the applicant to receive sponsorship from the U.S. employer throughout the total length of the petition admission process. For the outstanding professors and researchers, the qualified employer must be a university or institution of higher education.

The qualified U.S. employer is required to provide achievements in research and recognition. If instead, the U.S. employer is a private company, the department of the employer is required to hire at least three scholars to contribute to research activities. The private employer must also have documented evidence of distinguished achievement.

Outstanding Researcher Green Card Requirements

The requirements for the outstanding researcher category are as follows:

  • Have the ability to exhibit evidence of your international achievements.
  • Must have a minimum of three years of teaching or research experience.
  • The intent of entry in the United States must be purely based on receiving tenure, tenure track, or presenting comparable research at a university or another qualified institution.

Outstanding Professors and Researchers Documentation

To receive approval for an outstanding researcher visa, you must provide the following documentation:

  • Must provide evidence of your international acknowledgments within your field.
  • Applicant must have at least two of the accepted articles of evidence.
    • Documented proof of significant awards and prizes in your field
    • Membership in prestigious organizations associated with the applicant’s field. Must demonstrate achievements within the organization.
    • Recognition by others in the form of professional or media publication within the applicant’s field.
    • Having been a judge of the work of your peers individually or on a panel.
    • Created significant, original scholarly or scientific research to the field.
    • Published scholarly books, articles, or journals with international circulation.

EB-1B Processing Time

There are several factors that go into to EB-1B processing time. The first factor is the I-140 processing time. This can take an average of 6 months, but it heavily depends on the caseload of the service center that is processing your petition. Opting for premium processing can shorten this processing time to 15 calendar days.

However, the I-140 processing time may change depending on your priority date, which brings us to the second factor in the EB-1B processing time. The day that you file your I-140 petition is your “priority date”. You will then need to check the monthly visa bulletin released by the Department of State to see if your priority date matches or passes the “final action date” given in your category and country.

Once that happens, your priority date will be considered current. A visa number will become available and you will be able to move onto the next step. For other visa categories, there is a wait time of several years before a priority date can become current.

Fortunately, the entire EB-1 category usually has current priority dates, meaning that you can adjust your status as soon as your I-140 is approved. However, if the USCIS receives too many petitions, a backlog will occur creating a wait time.

The next step would be to submit the I-485 Application to Register Permanent Resident or Adjust Status. This form can be filed as soon as your priority date is current and can take about 6 months to process. Unfortunately, you cannot use the premium processing service for this step.

Once your I-485 is approved, your status will automatically be adjusted to legal permanent resident and your green card will be mailed to you in the coming months.

Consular Processing

The above process is for those who are already working in the U.S. under a nonimmigrant visa such as the O-1 or H-1B. However, if you are currently abroad and wish to enter the U.S. through an EB-1B green card, you will need to go through consular processing. This involves going to a designated U.S. consulate or embassy for a personal interview with a consular officer.

The wait time for this appointment will depend on the workload of the consulate or embassy. Some applicants only need to wait a few weeks while others need to wait several months. You will go through security and background checks and you will most likely have your biometrics taken (e.g. fingerprints).

At the appointment, a consular officer will ask you questions about you, your work, your experience, and your plans in the U.S. This interview is not designed to interrogate you but rather to determine if you are who you say you are and if your qualifications meet the standards.

EB-1B Cost and Fees

Based on the process outlined above, we can break each step down and determine the fees that go along with getting your EB-1B card.

Adjusting Your Status

  • I-140 basic filing fee: $460
  • Premium processing fee (optional): $1,440
  • I-485 fee: $750-1,140. This fee changes depending on your age. See this chart to find out where you stand.
  • Biometrics fee (if applicable): $85

Consular Processing

  • I-140 basic filing fee: $460
  • Premium processing fee (optional): $1,440
  • Affidavit of Support fee: $88
  • DS-260 fee: $230
  • Biometrics fee (if applicable): $85

When calculating the cost of your EB-1B green card, you should also factor in any traveling that might be necessary as well as an attorney fee if you decide to retain an EB-1B lawyer.

Outstanding Researcher Visa Example

Here is one example of a job offers for the Outstanding Researcher Visa (OPR):

Dr. Jones has been working in the medical field for over 12 years. This letter is an official offer for a permanent research position as an associate at the Chesapeake Medical University. His research and contributions to the field of medicine, specifically neuro-plasticity, have been thoroughly documented and published in reputable organizations.

Dr. Jones without a doubt qualifies for the outstanding researcher visa because he has the minimum 3 years of experience, has the official employment offer, and a presence within the industry. 

Outstanding Professors and Researchers FAQs

Q. Who can an EB-1 visa holder help within their family? 

An EB-1 or EB-2 visa holder can provide perm. residency status to their spouse as well as minor children (unmarried and under the age of 21). The spouse and children who qualify will have the ability to work in the U.S.

Q. Who is able to be an EB-1 or EB-2 employer? 

The EB-1 visa petitioner should be employed by one of the following:

  • Institution of higher education (i.e., University)
  • A private institute or department that provides employment for at least 3 full-time researchers.

Q. What is the waiting period for an E-2 Visa holder? 

Individuals who receive lawful permanent resident status via an EB-1 or EB-2 visa typically become naturalized citizens in a span of five years. If you intend to take this path, however, it’s recommended to first consult an EB-1 lawyer.

How VisaNation Law Group Can Help

Like most aspects of immigration law, you don’t want to attempt to navigate the path to a green card without an expert guide. If you are unsure if you qualify under the Outstanding Professors and Researchers category, our EB-1B lawyers can assist you in determining if you have the necessary evidence and experience.

VisaNation Law Group’s immigration lawyers will aid you in gathering the required evidence and documentation to file the evidence you need to prove that you meet the requirements. They will work alongside you during the filing process and even afterward if the USCIS issues a Request for Evidence.

To get in touch with one of VisaNation Law Group’s EB-1B lawyers, feel free to fill out this contact form and schedule a consultation today.