Employment-based immigration is one way in which you can relocate permanently to the United States. Foreign nationals of extraordinary abilities, outstanding researchers, and professors are all eligible to apply for an employment-based visa. The same case applies to managers and executives of multinational companies who wish to expand their businesses to the country. However, they must meet specific criteria and follow a strict procedure to be granted permanent residence. At California Immigration Attorney, we have in-depth knowledge regarding EB-1 visa status, including the qualifying criteria and visa application processes. Get in touch with us for help and guidance.
Overview of United States Employment-Based Immigration
The United States Immigration Law provides foreigners with various ways to become legal residents through obtaining a green card. Among the different methods is through employment, referred to as employment-based immigration (EB-1 status). The United States is perceived as the land of significant economic opportunities. Thus, many people from all over the world relocate with dreams of a better life for themselves and their families. On the other hand, the U.S is a country that has been built and created by immigrants from all walks of life. Everyone comes with values and other benefits that have transformed the country into what we have today.
Foreign nationals who move here on employment-based visas have extraordinary abilities, are researchers, professors, and specific multinational managers and executives. Every category has a list of criteria that the applicant must meet to be granted entry into the country. Today, the EB-1 visa is the fastest method for obtaining permanent residence in the U.S, among other employment-based categories. It is referred to as the first choice employment-based visa category. Every year, the U.S immigration law allows up to 140,000 applications in this category alone, with every country permitted 7% of those.
Generally, there are up to five different categories under the employment-based green card category. The first category is for priority workers (EB-1), and they are the first preference in obtaining a green card. Priority workers are individuals who possess extraordinary skills in their respective occupations. Under this group, we have three priority personnel subgroups who can quickly qualify to apply for a green card. They are as follows:
EB-1A comprises of applicants with extraordinary abilities. Applicants will be required to prove their superior capabilities in fields of art, science, education, athletics, or business. They must also provide evidence of recognition.
EB-1B is the category comprising of outstanding researchers and professors. It is the category for scientists and scholars who are highly acknowledged and would like to continue their practice.
EB-1C is the category for multinational managers and executives. Applicants must be managers and executives of multinational corporations who wish to start a new business or office in the country. They could also be managers or executives of reputable international companies who have received transfers to the U.S. In the second case, a reputed multinational company must already be in operation in the country.
Note that an EB-1 category is a prevalent option for immigrants as it doesn’t call for a Permanent Labor Certification. Acquiring a Labor Certification is a long and expensive process but necessary whenever foreign workers are involved. The U.S Department of Labor will always want to be sure that the country does not have sufficient workers who are willing, able, and qualified to take up jobs in the intended area of employment. Whenever a Labor Certification is involved, applicants always run the risk of facing rejection, which could take a toll on their time and finances.
Even so, the process is not always straightforward, and the applicant might need the help of an experienced attorney. A common requirement for EB-1A and EB-1C applicants is to have a permanent employment offer for them to be given a visa. In that case, the applicant needs a sponsor or employer to file a petition on their behalf.
Another thing about EB-1 Green Cards is that they are always current. Thus, applicants do not need to wait for long periods before their applications are reviewed. Your application will be processed as soon as it is received, inspected, and then you can be given a visa number. It also makes it easy and quick to apply for an adjustment of your visa status to start applying for a green card.
EB-1 Green Cards for Multinational Executives
Today, we have many international corporations doing business all over the world, including the United States. Thus, it is not unusual to find executives, managers, and other high-ranking personnel receiving transfers to move, work, and live in the country permanently. Having an EB-1C visa enables them to supervise operations of the companies they represent in the U.S.
They could apply for a non-immigrant visa that allows them to live and work in the U.S for a predetermined period. However, some managers and executives prefer to avoid issues regarding the renewing of their non-immigrant status. Others want to move and live permanently in the U.S as citizens. Therefore, an EB-1 green card is always the best choice for them.
An EB-1 visa is an application for legal permanent residence based on the employment of the applicant. The EB-1C is a particular visa intended for highly skilled and proficient foreign executives and managers. Of the 140,000 employment-based immigrants allowed into the country every year, 40,000 of those visas are assigned to first preference applicants.
Two ways in which you can attain an EB-1C visa status today are:
- If you are already living in the U.S under the L-1A visa status, you can apply for Adjustment of Status. Your employer can file a petition on your behalf for the application for an EB-1C visa. The petition will show that you have a permanent employment offer in the U.S, even before submitting Form 1-485, the application form for adjustment of status.
- If you live outside the U.S, you will process your entry into the country abroad, in a Consulate or U.S Embassy in your country. This process is not always the most preferred by many because it involves much paperwork, which must be significantly examined to ascertain applicants’ eligibility to apply for legal permanent residence.
However, both processes are quicker than applying or a non-immigrant visa as they do not involve an application for a Permanent Labor Certification. Your employer or potential employer in the country does not have to prove that you are not coming into the country to take up jobs that could be handled by capable U.S employees. Again, your employer does not have to find out and show proof that he/she will pay the principal wage for the position as per the state and county of your employment.
The Application Process
Remember that the application process’s success determines success in your effort to migrate to the United States. Therefore, you need to first think about what you need and then go through the application procedures.
To qualify for the EB-1 green card, applicants, and the employers the applicants will be working for must be involved. Each of them must meet specific requirements.
Requirements for Applicants:
- You need to have been in employment for a minimum of one year in the last three years before the application. Your employer must be the branch, subsidiary, parent company, or overseas affiliate of the company you’ll be working for in the U.S.
- You must be coming to the U.S to take up an executive or managerial position with the same company, subsidiary, or affiliate of the company.
Requirements for Employers:
- Your employer must be having business relations with the U.S when you made the application.
- Your company needs to have been in operation in the U.S for a minimum period of one year.
The application process for EB-1C visas takes several steps.
The first phase would be to receive a proposal for full-time and permanent employment in the country. Note that you cannot relocate, hoping that you’ll be considered for a permanent job once you are in the U.S.
The second phase would be for your employer to file Form 1-140. It is the Immigration Application with the applicable service center. USCIS is currently not receiving five forms through its e-legacy filing, including the immigration application. Therefore, your employer will have to send the form and others as hard copies.
The USCIS will receive and review the petition for approval. If it is approved, you will have to hold until the priority date given is current, then you will apply for consular processing or status adjustment.
What Are Priority Dates?
Priority dates is a common phrase for those applying for U.S green cards. An applicant’s priority date is the day when the USCIS accepts its Form 1-140 application. You must check the priority day and compare it to the final action days you see in the Department of State’s monthly visa report. Note that the closing action dates could be different, depending on your preferred level of green card and nationality.
If your country has sent so many applications for the same green card, the date retrogresses. If, on the other hand, there are only a few applicants of the same green card in your country, the date may progress.
Check to see the last action date for EB-1C applications, and your country is set at, then wait until that final date passes. You can also take action on the exact priority date. Note that you do not have to wait for three years as the last action days fluctuate, and sometimes they can move slowly or very fast.
Consular Processing Vs. Adjustment of Status
When your priority day becomes current, and USCIS has approved your Form 1-140, you now have two routes to take to obtain your EB-1 green card.
The most common route will be an adjustment of visa status. The route is available for applicants already living in the country under a non-immigrant level like L-1, H-1B, or E-2. A non-immigrant visa gives you a temporary stay in the country. You need to keep renewing it to keep working and living in the country, which is a tedious process to go through all the time. Again, there is always no guarantee that your renewal application will be approved, which means you could lose your status. Upgrading a non-immigrant level to immigrant helps resolve all these and more issues.
To adjust your visa status, you are required to file Form 1-485 together with the processing fees to the Citizen and Immigration Services. If your application is accepted, you’ll become a green card holder. USCIS will then mail your green card to your address within six months of application.
Eligibility for Status Adjustment
The following requirements must be met for you to be eligible to apply for adjustment of your status to EB-1 status:
- A correctly filled and filed Form 1-485
- Proof that you have been inspected and admitted or paroled into the country
- Proof that you are physically living in the country at the time you were filing Form 1-485
- That you qualify to apply for aS immigrant visa
- Proof that an immigrant visa will be available to you immediately after filing Form 1-485 and after USCIS makes its last decision regarding your application.
- Proof that the job offered to you through Form 1-140 is still there, with the same employer who filed the petition on your behalf. You must also prove that you’ll be accepting the job as soon as USCIS approves your application. If you had filed Form 1-140 on your behalf, you would provide proof that you’ll be working in the same or similar field of occupation as you had specified in the petition.
The second route to obtain an EB-1 status is via consular processing. The route is available for non-immigrant visa holders and applicants living outside the country. Consular processing entails setting up a meeting with the Consulate or Embassy in your country. During the meeting, you’ll be required to have a one-to-one conversation with a U.S immigration officer. The interview helps determine whether your unique situation qualifies you to apply for a green card. Note that there is no guarantee that the green card application will be accepted.
Applicants are highly advised to remain relaxed and speak the truth during these interviews, not to compromise their chances of success. If you aren’t sure about a particular question or feel that the immigration officer may not appreciate your response, it is better to tell the truth. Making up something or exaggerating the truth could cause the embassy or consulate to deny your application.
If you tell a lie and you are discovered, it could cause the embassy or consulate to block you from ever attempting to immigrate to America. The worst that could happen if an applicant is honest is that their visa application will only be denied once, and they can try applying again. Again, working with a skilled immigration attorney could save the situation. He/she will take you through each process. to make sure that your application stands a better chance at approval.
If you go through the interview successfully, you’ll be allowed entry into the United States as an EB-1 visa holder. The USCIS will then mail your physical green card to your address within six months.
Processing of EB-1 Green Cards
The USCIS will start processing your petition as soon as it receives your application. If you want to speed things up for yourself, you are better off engaging an experienced immigration lawyer’s services. Your attorney will ensure that the information provided is complete, correct, and accurate.
Generally, Forms 1-140 for EB-1 visas require up to six months to be processed. You may choose premium processing for your green card, in which case you’ll be required to pay an extra fee. Premium processing will expedite the processing time to 15 days, and it exists for green cards that require the filing of Form 1-140. Form 1-485 also takes around six months of processing time. Therefore, it takes about one year for the entire process to complete
Again, you might want to note your priority day as it, too, affects visa processing time. Generally, priority dates for first-preference level visas are always up-to-date in visa bulletins. But not for countries with larger populations like China and India, for which these dates can retrogress. When this happens, applicants may have to wait up to the following fiscal year to proceed to the next step. Applicants should keep checking the latest visa bulletins to find where their priority dates stand.
What if My Visa Application is Denied?
As mentioned above, there is always no guarantee that your application for an EB-1 visa will go through, whether you apply through adjustment of status or consular processing. Thus, it helps to be prepared for denial and tips that could help you deal with the rejection. A denied application will be a massive blow to you, after all the money, work, and time you have put into the process. Let us look into how you can deal with it.
Rejection or Denial
Rejection and denial are different terms when it comes to visa applications. While the two are used synonymously in everyday language, they mean another thing in immigration law.
The USCIS takes two main approaches when adjudicating your visa application. In the course, the evaluating officer will look at the following:
- Whether all the required documents and information are attached to the petition
- Whether all the information provided is consistent and accurate.
- Whether the processing fees have been paid and all the documents filed properly
If the petition is disqualified in this first stage, that is considered a rejection. To rectify this, you are allowed to fix the omission or error and then re-file the petition once more. However, you’ll be required to pay the processing fees a second time.
If the petition goes through this initial stage, the evaluating officer will proceed to review the proof provided and whether you qualify for an EB-1 visa. If you are disqualified in this second stage, you will notice that your application has been denied. Re-filing the application is not the best option to salvage the situation in this case. But filing a motion in court and going through an appeal process could. But you need the help of a competent immigration attorney to do it successfully.
How an Immigration Attorney Can Help
Immigration attorneys have extensive knowledge regarding the U.S Immigration Law and qualifying criteria for every visa status. Thus, they are the right people to guide and help you through the application process. An experienced attorney will advise you on the category you best qualify, depending on your experience and previous accomplishments.
A knowledgeable immigration attorney will also advise you and thoroughly examine all the support documents required for the application. This minimizes your chance of getting a rejection or denial.
A competent immigration attorney will also answer all the questions you might have regarding the visa status you are seeking and the application criteria. Even if you are allowed to go through the procedures alone, you do not have to do it alone. Having someone that understands the processes better gives you the courage you need in a time like that.
If you are not sure about the right visa status to apply for, an experienced attorney will help you make the right decision. He/she will also assist you in bringing your loved ones to the U.S if you want to relocate with your immediate family.
Find a Los Angeles Immigration attorney Near Me.
If you are a multinational executive seeking to migrate permanently to the U.S, applying for an EB-1 visa is the best possible avenue available for you today. However, you must meet all the qualifying requirements and go through the process successfully. At California Immigration Attorney, we have qualified attorneys at work to advise and assist you through the legal process. We will explain your options, examine all the documents needed, and advise you on the best course to take to give you a good chance at qualifying for an EB-1 visa. Call us at 424-789-8809 and let us make the process smoother for you.