Outstanding Researchers and Professors
Introduction To EB1-B Application
EB-1B is a subcategory of immigrant visa employment based category one. To be qualified in this category, the petition must show international recognition as being outstanding in a specific academic area. The foreign national must have at least three years of experience in teaching or research in the academic area.
EB1-B Visas Remain Current (Currently June 2019)
Visas are immediately available for all countries in the first employment-based preference category (EB-1). The State Department’s latest projections indicate that cut-off dates are unlikely in the EB-1 category in the near future.
Requirements for EB1-B
A foreign national is eligible for classification as an outstanding professor or researcher if he/she satisfies all the following three criteria:
- Recognition Internationally as outstanding in a specific academic field, and
- at least three years of teaching or research in the field and
- (a) the offer of a tenured or tenure-track teaching position or the offer a comparable research position, OR (b) the offer of a research position having no fixed term and in which the employee will ordinarily have an expectation of permanent employment, OR (c) the offer of a comparable research position with a private employer if the employer has at least three full-time researchers and documented accomplishments in the research field.
Evidence of International Recognition
A petition for EB-1b must establish that the foreign person is recognized internationally as outstanding in a specific academic field. USCIS rules permit the submission of expert support letters to establish that the professor/researcher is internationally recognized as outstanding. Such expert testimonials must discuss the foreign national’s original scientific or scholarly contributions of major significance in the field.
Calculation of “Three Year” Experience in Teaching or Research
The Alien must have at least three years of experience in teaching or research in the academic field. Experience in teaching or research while working on an advanced degree will only be acceptable if the Alien has acquired the degree, and if the teaching duties were such that he or she had full responsibility for the class taught or if the research conducted toward the degree has been recognized within the academic field as outstanding.
Evidence of teaching and/or research experience must be in the form of letter(s) from current or former employer(s) and must include the name, address, and title of the writer, and a specific description of the duties performed by the beneficiary.
Which Expert Testimonials Will Help an EB1-B Case?
Tenure-track, Tenure or Comparable Position
The last qualification for an EB-1b beneficiary is that he/she is offered a tenured or tenure-track teaching or research position at a university, or a comparable research position with a private employer if the employer has at least three full-time researchers and documented accomplishments in the research field.
Permanent Research Position
Since many research positions at universities are not tenured or tenure-track positions, the USCIS rules permit a job offer to qualify for first preference consideration if the university is offering a permanent research position to the beneficiary. A permanent position is one that is for a term of indefinite or unlimited duration, and in which the employee will ordinarily have an expectation of continued employment unless there is good cause for termination.
Comparable Position with a Private Employer
USCIS has declared that since private employers do not usually give tenure to employees, a “comparable” position for purposes of this category would be one in which the duties and job description are similar to those of a researcher in an academic setting, i.e., one who is offered a “permanent” position as defined by the rules.
A Qualified “Employer”
Government agencies at the local, state, or federal level do not qualify for the definition of employer for the EB1-B purposes unless the government agency is a U.S. university or institution of higher learning.
Criteria of “Outstanding“ for EB1-B Petitions
In order to qualify as an outstanding researcher or professor, the beneficiary must meet a minimum of two of the following conditions:
- documentation of the applicant’s receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement in the academic field
- documentation of the applicant’s membership in associations in the academic field, which require outstanding achievements of their members
- published material, in any language, provided it is translated into English, in professional publications written by others about the alien’s work in the academic field–this documentation must include the title, date, and author of the material
- evidence of the alien’s participation, either individually or on a panel, as the judge of the work of others in the same, or an allied, academic field
- evidence of the applicant’s original scientific or scholarly research contributions to the academic field
- evidence of the applicant’s authorship of scholarly books or articles, in scholarly journals with international circulation, in the academic field
Standard of Review by the USCIS for EB1-B
As with EB1-A petitions, two-part analysis is used with EB1-B cases. The USCIS will make a determination to decide whether a non-resident is “outstanding” based on all evidence submitted. The types of documentation listed in the regulations are only guidelines for the adjudicator and the petitioner.
In the end, the documentation must prove that the petitioner is a researcher or professor who is internationally recognized as outstanding. Simply presenting documentation that relates to two of the conditions listed does not necessarily mean that the priority worker petition will be approved since the adjudicator must evaluate and weigh the evidence.
If the USCIS determines that the evidence submitted does not meet the standard for classification, then additional evidence may be requested.
A June 1992 document from the former INS suggested that the following documentation would present a strong case that the researcher or professor is considered outstanding:
- Peer-reviewed presentations at academic conferences
- Peer-reviewed articles in academic journals
- Testimony from other colleagues on the applicant’s contribution to the area of expertise
- Several entries in a citation index citing the applicant’s work as authoritative
- Participation by the applicant as a reviewer for a peer-reviewed academic journal.
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