What is the EB1-2 visa?
The EB1 green card is an immigrant visa that allows any qualified foreign citizen to live and work permanently in the United States. It has several categories, which are some of the most sought after US visas. EB1 categories are highly favored due to their shorter priority dates, meaning shorter visa processing periods compared to other categories where waiting times could be years.
Exceptional researchers or professors who wish to move to the United States can apply for the second preference of the EB1 visa, known as the EB1-2 or EB1-B visa. Outstanding implies that you have international recognition for your efforts in a specific academic area.
This visa requires three years of teaching or research experience in your academic area. Your reason for entering the United States must be to teach or research at an institution of higher education. All EB1 categories, including the EB1-2 visa, do not require the Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) process. This means you do not need to go through the Department of Labor (DOL) requirements and certification process.
However, applying for an EB1 visa requires a high level of documentation and application screening. It is ideal to hire an experienced immigration lawyer 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 in the E-14 (spouse) and E-15 (children) categories. US citizenship is available to EB1-2 visa holders after 5 years of continuous residency. Before you become a U.S. citizen, you are free to travel with your Green Card in and out of the United States.
EB1-2 visa eligibility:
Outstanding professors and researchers must have at least three years of teaching or research experience 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 six USCIS requirements and show proof of a job offer from a U.S. employer. The six USCIS requirements are as follows:
- Evidence of major recognition or rewards for great achievement
- Evidence of membership in organizations requiring exceptional success.
- Evidence of other academic writings and professional publications written about your work.
- Evidence of innovative scientific or academic research contributions to the field
- Evidence of being an individual judge or jury of other people’s work in your discipline or a related discipline.
- Evidence of authorship of academic publications or articles in your academic field.
- You can apply for EB1-2 if you come to do research or teach at a college, university, or work for a private employer. If your sponsor is a private employer, they must also have notable achievements in their field and demonstrate that they employ at least 3 full-time researchers.
Documentary proof for EB1-2 visa:
For your EB1-2 visa application, you must provide at least two of the following comparable evidence to demonstrate international recognition in your discipline:
- Evidence of a major recognition or award for an achievement in your academic field of great importance.
- Proof that you are a member of a professional achievement that requires notable results
- Copies of your academic writings and material published in professional journals. This could be written by you or someone else about your work.
- Evidence that you have participated, either on a panel or as an individual, as a judge of other people’s work in your academic field or a related field.
- Copies of your academic research or original scientific contributions to your academic field
- Evidence to demonstrate that you are the author of internationally recognized academic articles or books in academic journals.
Other required evidence may include:
- Reference letters from your previous employment to demonstrate that you meet the minimum experience requirement of 3 years.
- A letter or contractual document demonstrating that your job position requires a permanent researcher who is tenured or in a tenured position to teach a specific subject or subjects.
- Evidence 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 showing that you will continue with your research or teaching in the United States
Checklist of documents for visa application:
As part of the EB1-2 visa application process, you will need to submit the following documents:
- A valid passport
- DS-260 confirmation page
- Receipt of visa application fees
- Two passport-sized photographs that meet US visa requirements
- Job offer letter
- Medical examination and vaccination certificates where applicable
- Marriage certificates for dependent spouses and birth certificates for dependent children
To begin your EB-12 application, your U.S. employer must file a Foreign Worker Petition known as a Form I-140. Unlike other work-based immigrant visas, EB1 visas do not require PERM labor certification.
In particular, your US employer must demonstrate that it can continue to pay your reported wages as of the priority date. They can submit an annual report, tax return, or audited financial statement to demonstrate ability to pay. If your Form I-140 is approved, it will be sent to the National Visa Center.
Next you will need to submit the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, known as Form DS-260. Pay all applicable fees, schedule the interview, and print the application and interview confirmation page. You will need to bring this page with you to your visa interview.
When your priority date arrives, you must have your visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your country. If you pass the interview, you will get your visa and be able to enter the United States. For those in the United States, you must file Form I-485 for an adjustment of status. You will attend the interview at a USCIS office.
EB1-2 Visa Application Fees
The following costs could be applied to your EB1-2 visa application in full or in part:
- Form DS-260 filing fee: $325
- Affidavit of Support: $120
- Form I-485 Adjustment of Status filing fee: Varies; $750 or $1,140
- Biometrics fee (if applicable): $85
- USCIS Immigrant Fee (if applicable): $220
- The $700 filing fee for the Form I-140 will be covered by your sponsor. You may need to pay other fees for medical visits, vaccinations.
A visa interview is mandatory for all EB1-2 visa applicants and is one of the most important steps in the entire application process. A consular official, often known as the interviewer, will interrogate you about your visa application at the embassy or consulate based on the documentation you have submitted.
The interviewer may ask questions about your background, education, job qualifications, employer, job posting in the United States, and employer. You will get the visa if the interviewer deems your answers and the evidence provided satisfactory.
If your family members plan to move to the United States with you, they will also need to interview for an E-14 or E-15 visa application. Based on the documentation you provide, the interviewer will also inquire about your relationship with them. Children under the age of 14 may not be required to attend the interview.
EB1-2 Medical visits and vaccinations:
All EB1-2 applicants must undergo a medical examination to demonstrate 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 which vaccinations you need to have and your medical examination. A licensed doctor will carry out the medical examination and provide you with a sealed report to submit to the embassy.
EB1-2 Processing times:
Compared to other immigrant visa categories, EB1-2 visas have lower wait times since they have current priority dates. Form I-140 processing time is approximately 6-9 months.
If your case qualifies for premium processing and is urgent, your employer may request premium processing. It costs $2,500 and your employer must file Form I-907. Premium processing ensures that your request is processed within just 15 days.
How can I submit an EB1 visa application?
Form DS-260 for Immigrants must be submitted online using the official website. Your US sponsor will handle the Form I-140 petition for foreign workers.
What is the difference between EB1A and EB1B?
The EB1A classification is available for several professions. On the other hand, the EB1-B (EB1-2) classification is reserved only for those working in scientific and academic fields.
Is EB1B simpler than EB1A?
Since EB1-A and EB1-B have strict requirements, they are both challenging to get. The former requires extraordinary skills, while the latter requires exceptional achievement in academic fields. It can be more challenging, nevertheless, to prove exceptional ability.
Is it possible to self-apply for EB1B?
As a distinguished professor or researcher, you are not eligible to self-sponsor an EB1-2 visa. You must receive a job offer from a US employer who will file a petition on your behalf.