EB1 Visa Processing Time

Glen D. Wasserstein, Managing Partner of ILG, specializes in immigration law, focusing on E-2 Investor Visas, L-1 visas, H-1B visas, and federal litigation. With a background in international relations, he founded ILG in 1996 and has addressed human trafficking at the United Nations Convention on Crime.

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The EB1 visa represents a premier immigration path for highly skilled individuals, including those with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, as well as multinational managers and executives. This employment-based visa category facilitates a quicker route to permanent residency in the U.S. for applicants demonstrating exceptional qualifications.

This article delves into the EB1 processing times, highlighting crucial steps from the initial filing at USCIS service centers like the Texas or Nebraska Service Center to the ultimate adjustment of status or consular processing. Understanding the processing timeline, priority dates, and the possibility of premium processing is essential for efficiently navigating the complexities of your visa application and securing your path to permanent residence.

Overview of EB1 Visa Processing Times

The initial step, filing the I-140 Immigrant Petition through service centers like the Texas or Nebraska Service Center, usually takes about 6 to 9 months under regular processing.

Applicants have the option of premium processing, which can reduce this time to approximately 15 calendar days. Following the I-140 approval, those in the U.S. can adjust their status with the I-485 application, which might take another 8 to 14 months. Applicants outside the U.S. will undergo consular processing, which can vary greatly depending on the consulate’s workload and the applicant’s country. It’s important to monitor the priority dates and visa availability, as these will greatly influence the timeline for obtaining a green card.

Priority Dates and Their Impact on Your EB1 Application

Priority dates play a critical role in the EB1 visa application process, acting as a marker that determines when an applicant can move forward with their petition for permanent residency. Once the I-140 Immigrant Petition is approved—a process that bypasses the usual labor certification process—the next vital step for applicants within the United States is to file the I-485 application to adjust their status to permanent resident.

The date is published monthly in the Visa Bulletin issued by the U.S. Department of State. The waiting period varies depending on the applicant’s home country and the demand in their specific EB1 category, such as extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, or multinational managers. Understanding and monitoring your priority date is essential as it influences not just the processing time but also the overall timeline for obtaining your green card.

First Steps in the EB1 Visa Process: Submitting the I-140 Immigrant Petition

The initial step in the EB1 visa application process is submitting the I-140 Immigrant Petition, which is pivotal for those with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors, researchers, and multinational managers. This form is processed at USCIS service centers, notably the Texas or Nebraska Service Centers. The filing involves detailing your qualifications and providing evidence of national or international acclaim in your field.

Processing times can vary, but applicants can utilize premium processing to expedite the review to approximately 15 days for an additional fee. Upon approval, this stage sets the priority date, which is crucial for the subsequent steps toward permanent residency. Accurate and comprehensive documentation is essential to avoid delays and ensure smooth progression to adjusting status or consular processing for your green card.

Proceeding with the I-485 Application: Adjusting Your Status

Once the I-140 Immigrant Petition is approved—a step not requiring a labor certification process—the next critical step for those within the United States is filing the I-485 application to adjust their status to permanent resident. This step is pivotal for EB1 applicants, particularly those with extraordinary abilities, outstanding professors, researchers, or multinational managers who aim to secure a green card.

The I-485 is processed at USCIS service centers such as the Nebraska or Texas Service Center. Applicants must ensure that their priority date is current before filing, as indicated in the Visa Bulletin. The process involves submitting extensive supporting evidence to demonstrate eligibility for permanent residency, including documents related to employment, background, and legal entry into the country. Processing times vary but generally range from 8 to 14 months, depending on the service center and specifics of the case. Proper completion and timely submission of the I-485 can help avoid delays and expedite the journey to permanent residency.

Advantages of Concurrent Filing for the EB1 Green Card

Concurrent filing presents significant advantages for EB1 green card applicants, particularly those in extraordinary ability, outstanding professor, or multinational manager categories. This process allows individuals to file their I-140 Immigrant Petition and I-485 Application to Adjust Status simultaneously, rather than waiting for the I-140 approval before submitting the I-485.

The primary benefit of this approach is time efficiency; it can significantly reduce the overall waiting period for permanent residency. Additionally, concurrent filing enables applicants to apply for a work permit and advance parole, which allows travel in and out of the U.S. while the application is processed.

Utilizing this method, individuals can begin their transition to permanent residence sooner, all while maintaining the flexibility to work and travel. This can be especially advantageous when premium processing is utilized, speeding up the I-140 processing times at service centers like the Texas or Nebraska Service Center.

Applying from Abroad: Consular Processing for the EB1 Green Card

For EB1 green card applicants outside the United States, engaging with a consulate abroad through consular processing is a vital step towards securing permanent residency. This sequence of steps transitions candidates from approved petitioners to lawful permanent residents.

Consular Processing Steps:

1. I-140 Immigrant Petition Approval: Start once USCIS confirms your EB1 eligibility.

2. Visa Availability: Check the Visa Bulletin for when your priority date becomes current.

3. Visa Application: Submit required documents to the U.S. consulate in your home country.

4. Interview Scheduling: The consulate schedules your visa interview.

5. Prepare for the Interview: Gather necessary supporting documents.

6. Attend the Visa Interview: Verify compliance with a consular officer.

7. Visa Issuance: If successful, receive your visa to travel and obtain U.S. permanent residency.

This succinct overview provides a clear path through the consular processing stages, ensuring you know what to expect and prepare for each step.

Speeding Up Your Application with Premium Processing

Premium processing significantly accelerates the review of the I-140 Immigrant Petition for EB1 visa applicants, facilitating a faster acquisition of the immigrant visa. By paying the premium processing fee, applicants can shorten their processing time to just 15 calendar days, speeding up their visa application process.

This service is especially advantageous for applicants in managerial or executive capacity, as it expedites their journey toward permanent residency by accelerating the application process. Premium processing is available at USCIS service centers, ensuring quicker handling of documents and potentially reducing wait times for visa availability and final action dates. This option is ideal for minimizing uncertainty and streamlining the immigration process.

Navigating Challenges: Responding to USCIS Requests for Evidence

Receiving a Request for Evidence (RFE) from USCIS can be a critical point in your visa application process. Here are some tips for handling an RFE efficiently:

1. Read Carefully: Understand exactly what evidence is requested. Each piece of missing or insufficient evidence will be specified.

2. Respond Promptly: Adhere to the deadline given by USCIS to avoid delays in your application. Generally, you have 60-90 days to respond.

3. Gather Comprehensive Evidence: Compile all requested documents thoroughly. If the RFE is for proof of extraordinary ability or qualifications of multinational managers, include detailed supporting evidence.

4. Consult an Immigration Attorney: If you’re unsure about the evidence requested, consulting with an immigration attorney can help clarify what is needed.

5. Organize Your Response: Ensure that your response is well-organized and clearly addresses each aspect of the RFE. Use a cover letter that itemizes the contents of your response.

6. Double-Check Before Sending: Review your response package to ensure that nothing is missing and all information confirms with USCIS requirements.

By meticulously addressing the USCIS’s concerns, you can help move your application towards approval without additional delays.

How Total Law Can Assist with Your EB1 Visa Application

Total Law, one of the premier Immigration Law Firms in DC, specializes in expediting the EB1 visa process. Our EB1 visa lawyers are adept at navigating complex cases for extraordinary-ability individuals, multinational managers, and outstanding professors, ensuring efficient paths to permanent residency.

Ready to streamline your EB1 visa application? Connect with us now!

Get expert legal advice as well tailored to your immigration needs by consulting an immigration attorney in New Orleans.