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Eb-1 Green Card: Common Q&A

By January 6, 2022Immigration
A man holding an award for being extraordinary

EB-1A green card is a green card for individuals that have arisen to the top of their profession and have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. This blog post will go over some common questions about the Eb-1a green card we receive from clients.

Do I need a sponsor for an Eb-1a green card?

No, you don’t need a sponsor for an Eb-1a green card and you can file what’s called an Eb-1a self-petition. This means, that as long as you can show that you meet the Eb-1a requirements, you can get a green card based on your extraordinary ability without a U.S. employer sponsoring you. This is a great advantage of an Eb-1a green card, as for most other green card categories, you do not a U.S. sponsor that will sponsor you for a green card.

Can I work for my own company?

Yes. As mentioned above, you don’t need an employer in the U.S. to sponsor you for an Eb-1a green card. When you file an Eb-1a self-petition, you will need to explain what work in your field you plan to do in the next couple of years. This can either be work for multiple U.S. companies/employers or you could set up your own company and work for that company.

Is an Eb-1a green card a good option for entrepreneurs?

Yes! This is a great option for entrepreneurs who are able to show that they raised to the very top of their field.

How many years of experience do I have to have?

There is no minimum as to how many years of experience you have to have to be able to apply for the Eb-1a green card. You will have to show that you meet the Eb-1a criteria and that you have risen to the very top of your profession. As long as you are able to prove that, you can qualify for an Eb-1a green card with for example 5 years of experience. On the other hand, if you have 40 years of experience but do not meet 3 of the Eb-1a criteria, you would not qualify.

Is there a minimum age for the applicant?

No. There is no minimum age and as long you can show that you qualify, you can apply. For example, if you win a Nobel prize at the age of 25, you may get an Eb-1 green card at the age of 25. Age is a factor the Consular/USCIS officer may look at when making a decision on your case though, so if you are applying at a very young age, you should submit a strong evidence that you meet the Eb-1a criteria.

Do I need to have an O-1 visa first before applying for a green card?

No. You don’t need an O-1 visa before applying for an Eb-1a green card. While this is a common path for many people, it is not a requirement. As long as you can show that you meet the Eb-1a criteria, you can apply for a green card immediately, without having the O-1 visa first.

Can my family come to the U.S. with me?

Yes, your wife and unmarried children under the age of 21 can apply for a green card with you.

Do I need to be in the U.S. to apply for an Eb-1a green card?

No, you don’t need to be physically in the U.S. to apply for the green card. If you are in the U.S., you could file an Adjustment of Status.  petition, but if you are outside the U.S., you could file the petition as Consular Processing.

If I file an Adjustment petition, how long will it take for me to get a work authorization/green card?

If you are in the U.S. on a valid non-immigrant visa, you could file an Adjustment of Status petition concurrently with the I-140 petition. With the Adjustment of Status petition, you could also apply for a work and travel authorization. The processing time changes often, but it generally takes around 6-7 months to get the work and travel authorization. If you have an underlying status in the U.S. that allows you to work (e.g. an O-1 status), you can keep working on that status and would not necessarily need the work authorization (but there may be some benefits of applying for it).

How long does it take to get a green card through Consular Processing?

Once the I-140 petition is approved, you will need to start the application process for a green card through Consular processing. Each Consulate has its own timeline, but due to the COVID-19 backlogs, this may take around 1-2 years.

What is the I-140 petition?

The I-140 petition is petition for immigrant worker. This is the form you will file to USCIS in both situations: whether you are applying for an Adjustment of Status or through Consular Processing. You will need to submit all the evidence how you qualify for the Eb-1a green card with the I-140 form.

Do I need to file a Permanent Labor Certification?

No. You don’t need to go through the PERM process if you are applying for an Eb-1a green card. This means that you (or the employer if an employer is sponsoring you for the Eb-1a green card) don’t have to file the Prevailing Wage Determination or file the PERM, and can immediately file the I-140 petition.

Can I pay for a premium processing?

Yes, you can pay $2,500 for premium processing for the I-140 form, which means that USCI will make a decision on your petition within 15 days. This means that in about 2 weeks, you can have the decision whether or not your Eb-1a petition is approved.

Do I need to live in the U.S. once I get the green card?

To maintain your green card, you should not move abroad permanently/you should not remain outside the U.S. for an extended period of time. Please see our blog post on How to maintain your green card here.

When can I apply for a citizenship?

If you obtain your green card based on the Eb-1a green card category, you will be able to apply for a U.S. citizenship  in 5 years.

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