EB-1  Visa Green Card Processing Time

The processing time of an EB-1 visa green card application varies on the sub-category you are pursuing. If your extraordinary ability qualifies you for the EB-1A immigration green card, you can self-petition for your visa. The other two categories require an employer to sponsor your visa application. Whether you are self-petitioning or have a sponsoring employer, you will take the next step to file Form I-140.

  • Form I-140 Petition for Immigrant Workers

Petitioners for the EB-1 green card application must first file to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) a Form I-140 Petition for Immigrant Workers. If the employer files it, the priority date must demonstrate the employer’s capacity to pay the agreed-upon wage.

Applicants for EB-1 green cards must file an I-140 Immigrant Petition form and the supporting evidence and documentation to the designated service center. The processing times may vary depending on the service center where the supporting documents and immigration petition are submitted.

The filing period varies depending on whether the applicant submits hard copies electronically or requests expedited processing. When an application and accompanying documents are submitted electronically, the USCIS can automatically reroute the applications based on the intended state of employment of the applicant. The processing times at the Texas Service Center (TSC) and the Nebraska Service Center (NSC) are quite similar; however, the NSC is generally thought to have delayed and slow processing times.

Since the USCIS has predetermined filing locations based on the applicant’s intended state of employment and the jurisdiction of the service centers, applicants are unable to choose their preferred service center. Details and other information on the appropriate processing facilities are listed on the USCIS website.

The USCIS publishes the most recent EB-1 processing times. On average, an EB-1 visa takes eight months to process. The government typically takes six months to issue permanent residency after the EB-1 petition is approved. Only during operational EB-1 periods are these times available. Applicants can use the DOS Visa Bulletin to check the status of their category. If the EB-1 category is out of date, it will take longer to obtain visa numbers. These are, once again, only estimates.

If an applicant is late or files incorrectly, it will delay the process. Applicants can perform online case status checks. The online application provides a more precise indicator of case-specific processing to applicants.

  • I-485 Form

If the beneficiary is already present in the US, the I-485 form (also known as the Adjust Status or the Application to Register Permanent Residence) is the next step after the I-140 petition. This means you are a nonimmigrant applying to become a permanent resident.  Before filing your I-485 petition to the USCIS, you must wait for your priority date to become current.  The average I-485 processing time is six months, but it can be lessened or shortened  by waiting for the priority date to be current.

  • Concurrent Filing for EB-1 Green Card

Concurrent filing entails simultaneously submitting I-140 and I-485 forms for adjudication. It’s one of the most practical ways to speed up your EB-1 visa green card application process. However, it is only permitted in certain circumstances.

In order to be eligible for the concurrent filing of the forms of I-140 and I-485, your priority date must be “current”. This indicates that the visa number is already available  and you are eligible to file for adjustment of status. Thus, this opportunity will allow you to reduce your overall processing time.

  • EB-1 Green Card Consular Processing

The procedure and process will be different if you live outside of the United States. You must complete consular processing in your home country after USCIS has approved your I-140 form. This requires you to submit a visa application. In addition, you will be required to attend a one-on-one interview at the US embassy or a consulate in your home country. After the interview,  you will be granted a visa to enter and travel the United States, as well as getting your green card.

A consular processing entails several additional steps, including visa application, a medical exam, as well as interview appointments, The volume of work and process at the embassy or consulate, as well as your level of preparedness, will determine how these are handled.

EB-1 Green Card Sub-categories

EB-1A: aliens with extraordinary ability

You must have exceptional ability in art, athletics, film, business, education, or in science. All three subcategories are prestigious and require proof such as media publications, association membership, and awards.

EB-1B: professors and researchers

In terms of prestige and requirements, the EB-1B visa green card is next to EB-1A. Outstanding academic achievements and three years of research and teaching experience are ideal. You must also be coming to the US to teach or conduct research in a similar capacity at a university.

EB-1C: multinational corporate executives

For an EB-1C visa green card, you must have worked full-time for a foreign organization for at least a year within the three years prior to your application. The US company that will employ you as an executive or manager must have a one-year qualifying working relationship with the foreign company and be willing to hire you.

Processing times are similar in all three subcategories. Depending on your eligibility, the green card application process can be lengthy or brief. Your immigration lawyer can provide a more accurate assessment of your case.

As in most employment-based immigration cases, the processing time for an EB-1 visa green card depends on the applicant’s ability to complete the necessary paperwork. Unfortunately, a significant amount of paperwork may be incorrectly completed or will be sent to the wrong location.

As a result, your EB-1 visa application will take longer to process, and you may miss the filing deadline.  Processing time is also heavily influenced by how quickly the government (USCIS) processes applicants’ documents.

Please contact an EB-1 green card attorney at Green Card Link or an experienced immigration law professional for the most accurate information.

Advantages of EB-1 Green Card

Applying for an EB-1 green card can be difficult and exhausting, especially that it requires above-average qualifications, the benefits outweigh the difficulties. When you have an EB-1 immigrant visa, you have the following rights:

  • Reduced wait times for priority dates.
  • EB-1A and EB-1B visa holders are exempt from the need for a sponsoring employer and may self-sponsor.
  • Ability to reside and work in the United States.
  • Opportunity to travel within and outside the United States.
  • Ability to obtain dependent visas for your spouse and unmarried children.
  • Ability to obtain US citizenship.

These benefits are usually accompanied by increased case scrutiny. Consult an immigration attorney to ensure that your application has the best chance of being approved.

If you didn’t meet the requirements for EB-1 Green Card, you may consider a lower preference level. Despite having a long waiting period, these visas allow you to live, work, and travel within and outside of the United States, as well as allow you to apply for green cards and visas for your family members.

How Do Priority Dates for EB-1 Visas Work?

For most green cards, the priority date determines processing time. Before starting your EB-1 application, you should be familiar with the priority date system. Your EB-1 priority date is when the USCIS receives your EB-1 petition and is distinctive to your situation. This date is not subject to change and should be noted down or recorded.

The Department of State issues a monthly visa bulletin with “final action dates” for each green card and country of origin. The final action date depends on how many people from each country apply for a green card. Because each green card has an annual limit, the relative number of petitions will determine whether the final action date advances, stagnates, or retrogresses (moves backward).

Your priority date must coincide with the category’s final action date. This could take anywhere between zero and five years. Applicants from countries with large populations like China and India should anticipate a longer wait period for an EB-1 priority date, while applicants from smaller nations may be able to use the current priority dates. If this is the case, you can proceed to the next step once your I-140 is current. Once the dates match or your EB-1 priority date passes the final action date, you’ll have a visa number and can continue with the EB-1 process.

The Department of State provides the exact date for all EB-1 green cards, so there is no distinction between the final action dates for EB-1A, EB-1B, and EB-1C green cards. You may be eligible for expedited processing if your EB-1A or EB-1B green card priority date is still valid. Continue reading to learn how premium processing can help you speed up the processing of your EB-1 green card application.

Why Is the Processing Time for EB-1 Visas in India Longer?

This is a common question, as applicants from India may be required to wait longer than those from other nations. Some people believe there are hidden nationalistic or discriminatory agendas at work, but the truth is much more simpler.

The number of green cards issued to a specific country in a particular category per year is limited. There are 140,000 employment-based green cards issued annually. This leaves less than 30,000 per chargeability area (country or group of countries), which is divided further based on the type of green card. Thus, countries with tens of thousands of green card applicants in the United States are more likely to exceed the annual limit than those with fewer.

If a certain country and green card category limit is reached (e.g EB-1 for India), the final action date will either remain the same or move backward, resulting in significantly longer wait times for applicants from those countries. In the EB-1 category, this is referred to as a backlog. Because other countries have far fewer applicants than the United States, the annual limit for each category of green cards is never reached, causing expiration dates to advance or remain current.

As long as their green card categories remain oversubscribed, Indian applicants will experience longer wait times than those from other nations. Future legislation may expand or eliminate the limit, but the limit remains unchanged for now, resulting in longer EB-1 processing times for Indian applicants.

EB-1 Adjustment of Status vs Consular Processing

Whether or not you are in the United States with valid nonimmigrant status, you may have two options once your priority date becomes current.

If you’re currently in the U.S on a nonimmigrant visa, you can either adjust your status or undergo consular processing. If you wish to register as a permanent resident with the USCIS, you may submit an I-485 application for adjustment of status. By submitting this form, which is not eligible for Aa premium processing, an additional six months of processing time will be required. You will receive a green card once your nonimmigrant status has been “adjusted” to that of an immigrant. If your application is successful, your current status as a nonimmigrant will be “adjusted” to that of an immigrant, and you will receive your green card visa not long after that.

If you are located outside of the United States and do not have an active nonimmigrant status, you must go through consular processing. It is important that you schedule an appointment with the US Embassy or Consulate in the country where you currently reside. During this appointment, you will go through a one-on-one interview with a consular officer to determine whether your case for an EB-1 visa application is legitimate. Your passport will be taken from you, but it will be returned to you along with your EB-1 green card if you are successful.

EB-1 Green Card Premium Processing

Form I-140 petitions for Extraordinary Ability can take up to six months to receive approval from USCIS after filing. Given that this processing time may vary on the volume of work at the regional service center, you may consider having premium processing.

This service reduces the time required to decide to fifteen calendar days. However, selecting this option incurs an additional cost of $1,440. Depending on your circumstances, you may choose this alternative. Note that using this service does not guarantee approval of your petition. It simply reduces the decision-making time required by the USCIS.

However, the priority dates are not always current. Premium processing will not reduce your wait time if a significant backlog develops (which can sometimes last for years). The USCIS may delay or postpone a decision on your petition until your priority date you provided becomes current.

Which EB-1 visas are eligible?

Individuals with extraordinary ability (EB-1A) and outstanding professors and researchers (EB-1B) are examples of EB-1 visas eligible for premium processing. It is essential to note that multinational executives and managers or the NIW visa (EB-2) are not eligible for the premium processing. Therefore, the EB-1C visa may have a significantly longer waiting period than other EB-1 visas.

It is best to consult with an EB-1 green card attorney to see if your case qualifies for expedited processing.

PERM Labor Certification

In numerous visa cases, the Department of Labor (DOL) requires a PERM Labor Certification to confirm that no qualified and willing US workers are available to fill the position. EB-2 and EB-3 visa applications require labor certifications, but EB-1 visa applications do not unless the EB-2 applicant requests a National Interest Waiver (NIW) for the EB-2 visa.

If you have not yet received your PERM Labor Certification Audit, contact Green Card Link to learn about proper response procedures.

EB-1 Processing Time Delays: RFE

The USCIS Request for Evidence (or RFE) can either increase or delay your EB-1 processing time. This occurs if the officer evaluating your petition believes that there is a lack of sufficient documents or evidence in your petition. An example of this is there might be a missing passport copy or lack of proof for your extraordinary ability for your EB-1 Application.

For such, the USCIS will provide you with a list of required documents and a response window. First, you should consult with your attorney to ensure that your response to the EB-1 RFE is sufficient and submitted on time. If not, your EB-1 petition has a significant chance of being denied.

You might receive a Notice of Intent to Deny (also known as a NOID) from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) if the circumstances surrounding your case are significantly more serious than those of RFE. Failure to provide all required evidence may still result in a favorable outcome in the latter scenario. Nonetheless, failure to respond precisely to a NOID will almost always result in denial. To guarantee the proper and most timely response to the USCIS, both the NOIDs and RFEs must be presented immediately to an immigration attorney.

How an EB-1 Green Card Immigration Attorney Can Help You

Lawyers at Green Card Link specialize in employment-based immigration. They examine your credentials and supporting documents to see if you qualify for an EB-1 A  Green Card.

Green Card Link’s EB-1 attorneys have filed hundreds of successful petitions and can help you highlight your qualifications and achievements. They can handle every detail and ensure your petition meets EB-1 green card requirements.

Green Card Link’s immigration attorneys have extensive experience with EB-1 cases. To avoid unnecessary delays, they will ensure that all required and additional documentation is accurate.

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