Green Card for Accomplished Professionals


Immigration Desk clients use EB-1A to file for green cards for themselves. Our EB-1A clients are researchers, entrepreneurs, key employees and exceptional people working in many different industries.


Basics and Benefits of the EB-1A Green Card

To obtain an EB-1A green card, you must have extraordinary ability in the sciences, the arts, education, business or athletics.

EB-1A is a highly preferred category because you can sponsor yourself and the processing is much faster than other categories:

  • Self-sponsorship. This is one of the very few categories where you can file for yourself. You do not need an employer or family member to sponsor you.
  • Extremely fast. Filing an EB-1A is, possibly, the fastest method to obtain a work-based green card. Usually, filing for employment-based green cards is a 3-part process. However, for EB-1 green cards, only 2 steps are needed.

Generally, people who qualify for O-1 and J-1 visas (used for temporary stay) also qualify for EB-1A (permanent residence).

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Eligibility Criteria

To get a green card under EB-1A, you must prove:

  • That you are extraordinary at your job
  • You are very well known in your industry because of your work
  • You will continue to work in your area of expertise in the US

To prove that you are extraordinary, you must have either won a top international award (like the Nobel prize) or meet 3 out of this list of 10 criteria:

  • Lesser-known national or international prizes
  • Membership in associations that only allow outstanding professionals as members
  • Professional accomplishments showcased in the news or print media
  • Been a reviewer or a judge of similar works in your industry
  • Original scientific, scholarly or business-related contributions of major significance in the field
  • Authorship of scholarly articles
  • Have worked at distinguished organizations and your work has been necessary to the organization
  • A very high salary

Once the individual criteria are met, the USCIS also looks at the petition as a whole to decide if you can be considered extraordinary at your job.

While the list looks daunting, our team has helped many clients document their accomplishments to successfully receive green cards through EB-1A.

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The Filing Process

EB-1A petitions can only be filed with the USCIS in the United States. These are the 2 steps in the process:

  • Step I – (I-140) You file the 140 petition with the USCIS requesting a green card in the EB-1A category. You can also pay the USCIS an additional premium processing fee and have your I-140 reviewed in less than a month. Usual processing times may several months, sometimes taking over a year.
  • To process these petitions, the USCIS often consults with experts in your industry, to decide whether your work is truly extraordinary.

  • Step II – (I-485 or Consular Processing). This is the 2nd step in the process. If you are in the US, you may qualify to file for I-485 along with an I-140 (Step I), saving you many months in government processing time. If you do not qualify to file both the 140 and 485 petitions together, you will need to wait till your “priority date” is current so you can file this step.
  • If you are out of the US, you must wait till the I-140 is approved before applying for consular processing.

(See this link for explanation of I-485, consular processing and the concept of “priority date”)

  • Green cards issued in EB-1A category are usually valid for 10 years and can be extended.
  • Green card holders also can file for US citizenship 5 years after becoming green cards holders.
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How We Can Help

Proving an EB-1A Case

Proving that our client is at the level of a Nobel prize winner is a tough ask. Only 7 Nobel prizes are given out each year. All other applicants need to prove that they are extraordinary by meeting 3 of the 10 criteria listed above.

While many of our clients are scientists already established in their fields, we also help researchers who are just starting their professional journey. The question that will get new reserachers’ green card approved is – How do you prove that your client, who is a newly minted researcher, is doing extraordinary work, if they have only been at their job for a few years? Young scientists usually do not have hundreds of research publications. Neither do they have lots of colleagues who have cited their work in their own research papers. Besides, when the research has not completed, how do you know what its benefits will be?

EB-1As are also filed for non-research positions. One common case is for someone in an emerging field. For example, Biotechnology and Information Technology are industries that have existed less than 50 years. There is no one determinative association or international award for these fields. Sometimes, the work being performed may be a mixture of 2 different fields of study. To get the green card approved in such situations, a thorough understanding of the legal criteria and the researcher’s work is needed.

Even when the field is established, and the applicant has achieved world-wide fame, they may be entering the US to perform a different job. This is particularly true of high-ranking athletes who retire and decide to coach instead of to compete.

For established businesspeople and entrepreneurs, we need to prove that their companies are doing extraordinarily and that their own contribution is absolutely necessary to their companies’ success. Not every company is a Google or Amazon.

Most times, our clients work as part of teams that are creating technologies or doing research. Not every client is the project lead or the principal author on the patent. Some clients started work right after their Masters and do not have a Ph.Ds in their fields.

There are a lot of questions that need to be answered to file a successful EB-1A petition.

The Immigration Desk Solution

Creating an approvable EB-1A petition is always exciting.

Located in the Northeastern United States, we are in the vicinity of world-class universities and financial, fin-tech and biotech industries. Our services include helping recent graduates and businesspeople qualify for EB-1A green cards.

While some clients walk in with extremely strong cases, most cases require real work. We take a tiered approach to most EB-1A cases. Our attorneys screen your work track and what you wish to accomplish to determine if an EB-1A is the best choice for you. This includes a deep dive into your industry, its current standards, your research project and your contributions to it. For businesspeople, we explore your industry, your products, and your role in your company thoroughly.

Our in-depth review helps us write a winning case for you. In cases where you do not meet the requirements, we help you identify actions that you can take to further build your profile so you will qualify for an EB-1A green card case later. Our attorneys offer practical suggestions backed by a pragmatic understanding of the USCIS officer’s mindset, the reason behind the creation of this EB-1A category, combined with a deep knowledge of business and research.

We believe it only takes an involved attorney with a patient ear to get your EB-1A green card approved. It is our pleasure to help you on this journey!

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