Outstanding professors and researchers are eligible for permanent residence without having to obtain a labor certification, under the first employment-based (EB1) visa preference.
Outstanding Professor and Researcher Requirements
To qualify, the professor or researcher must:
- be recognized internationally as outstanding in a specific academic area,
- have at least three years of experience in research or teaching in the academic area, and
- be hired to fill a tenure-track teaching position or comparable research position at a university or private employer.
If filed through a private employer, the employer needs to have at least three persons devoted full time to research activities and to have achieved documented accomplishments in an academic field.
To show international recognition, the researcher or professor needs at least two of the following:
- Major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement in the academic field
- Membership in associations in the academic field which require outstanding achievements of their members
- Published material in professional publications written by others about the researcher’s work in the academic field
- Participation (either individually or on a panel) as the judge of the work of others in the same or an allied academic field
- Original scientifc scholarly research contributions to the academic field
- Authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the academic field
Experience in teaching or research done while obtaining an advanced degree counts only if the researcher has acquired the degree, and the researcher had full responsbility for the class taught or the research conducted has been recognized within the academic community as outstanding.
Outstanding Professor and Researcher Process
There are two parts to filing for permanent residence in an EB1 category, the I-140 Immigrant Visa Petition and the application for permanent residence, which may be either an I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status for persons in the United States or a Form DS-230 Immigrant Visa Application for persons abroad. Since there is usually no shortage of visas available in the EB1 category, the I-140 and I-485 may be filed concurrently.
The processing time for the I-140 is currently about four months for this category. The I-485 application may take six months to a year to process.
Once the I-485 application for permanent residence is filed, the employee is eligible for a work permit. The employee’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 are also eligible to apply for permanent residence, whether they are in the United States or abroad. If they are in the United States, they are eligible for work permits as well.