EB1 Processing Time: Everything You Need to Know

EB1 Processing Time

 

The EB1 visa is a powerful option used by professionals from around the world to get a US green card.  One of the questions I get asked most frequently about the EB1 visa is: How long is the EB1 processing time? In this guide, I will explain the EB1 processing time from beginning to end. If you have any questions, please email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com.

 

Overview:

 

1. EB1 Processing Time (Quick Answer)

2. Intro to EB1 Visa

3. EB1 Process Explained

4. Benefits of EB1 Visa

5. Conclusion

 

1. EB1 Processing Time (Quick Answer)

 

The EB1 visa is divided into 3 different categories: EB1A, EB1B, and EB1C. The EB1 processing time will depend on which of these 3 categories you are applying for. Additionally, the overall EB1 processing time will depend on other factors, including:

 

  • whether you select premium processing;
  • if you’re doing an adjustment of status, whether you file your I-140 at the same time as your I-485 (concurrent filing), or if you first wait for the I-140 to get approved, and then file your I-485;
  • which USCIS service center reviews your case (Nebraska Service Center/Texas Service Center)
  • whether an RFE is issued for your case.

 

These factors will be discussed in more detail below.

 

Here is a quick overview of the EB1 processing time by category:

 

EB1A (Extraordinary Ability) and EB1B (Outstanding Professors and Researchers)

 

I-140 Processing Time:

 

  • Standard Processing: average processing time of 5.5 to 6.5 months
  • Premium Processing: 15 calendar days

 

Adjustment of Status /Visa Processing Time:

 

  • Average processing time of 6 to 8 months

 

 

EB1C (Multinational Manager or Executive)

 

I-140 Processing Time:

 

  • Texas Service Center: average processing time of 7.5 to 9.5 months
  • Nebraska Service Center: average processing time of 12.5 to 16 months
  • Premium Processing: Not Available

 

Adjustment of Status /Visa Processing Time:

 

  • Average processing time of 6 to 8 months

 

You can check current USCIS processing times using the USCIS website, here.

 

Now that we’ve gone over the basics, let’s go over the details of the EB1 green card and the process of getting an EB1 green card.

 

 

2. Intro to EB1 Visa

 

The EB1 visa is broken into 3 separate categories EB1A, EB1B, and EB1C. Each of these subcategories has its own requirements for approval.

 

  • EB1A: The EB1A visa is reserved for people who have an extraordinary ability in either the sciences, arts, business, athletics, education, motion picture industry, or television industry. EB1A petitioners must demonstrate that they have an extraordinary ability in a particular field and that they will come to the US to work in that particular field. This category typically requires various evidence such as awards, publications, memberships in various organizations within the field, etc. EB1A visa application can be found here.

 

  • EB1B: The EB1B visa is reserved for outstanding professors and researchers. The EB1B visa has a lower standard for approval than the EB1A visa, however, it is only available to professors and researchers.

 

  • EB1C: The EB1C visa is reserved for multinational managers and executives. To qualify for an EB1C visa, you must have worked for 1 continuous year (full-time) for a foreign company as either a manager or executive. You must be coming to the United States to work for a US company as a manager or executive. The US company must have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (they must one of the following relationships: parent/subsidiary, affiliate, or branch office).

 

Depending on which of these categories you apply for, your processing time will be different.

 

3. EB1 Process Explained

 

Applying for an EB1 green card is a 2-step process. The first step is to file an immigrant petition (Form I-140) with USCIS. Once the Form I-140 is approved, you have 2 options for how to proceed; you can either apply for an adjustment of status with USCIS or apply for an immigrant visa at a US consulate or embassy abroad.

 

Form I-140

 

  • The Form I-140 (also called the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) is the initial petition that must be filed for an EB1 green card.

 

  • For EB1A and EB1B petitions, the I-140 takes about 5.5 to 6.5 months to process with standard processing.

 

  • For EB1C petitions, the I-140 takes anywhere from 7.5 to 16 months to process depending on the USCIS service center reviewing the petition.

 

Premium Processing

 

For EB1A and EB1B petitions, USCIS offers an optional premium processing service for an additional fee of $2,805. If you select premium processing, USCIS will review and respond to your I-140 petition within 15 calendar days. Premium processing is currently not available for EB1C petitions.

 

Quick Note About RFEs

 

When reviewing your I-140, USCIS may sometimes issue a request for additional evidence (RFE). If an RFE is issued on your case, it can slow down the overall processing time. This is because it will take additional time for you to prepare a response to the RFE. It will also take time for USCIS to review your response and then issue a decision on your case. So receiving an RFE can increase the overall EB1 processing time by 3 to 6 months.

 

Adjustment of Status

 

  • An adjustment of status is available to people who are already lawfully present in the United States in a qualifying non-immigrant status (such as a B1/B2 visa).

 

  • Adjustment of status quite literally means adjusting from a non-immigrant status to immigrant status.

 

  • The adjustment of status is handled entirely within the United States

 

  • You apply for an adjustment of status by filing a Form I-485 with USCIS

 

  • The I-485 takes about 6 to 8 months to process on average.

 

  • You are usually given work authorization and travel permission 90 days after filing your Form I-485 with USCIS. Until receiving these documents, you should not leave the US.

 

Concurrent Filing

 

In certain situations, you may be eligible to file your Form I-140 and your Form I-485 (adjustment of status) at the same time (This is also referred to as concurrent filing). By filing both forms together, the overall EB1 processing time is shortened. This is because you do not have to first wait for the I-140 to get approved before filing the I-485.

 

In order to concurrently file your I-140 and I-485, the EB1 subcategory that you are applying for must be current. This is a somewhat complicated concept to explain. To oversimplify, sometimes high demand for certain visa categories leads to a waitlist for that category (this is referred to as visa retrogression). If the visa is current (no waitlist) then you can file the I-140 and the I-485 at the same time. If there is a waitlist, then you have to wait until your I-140 is approved and then wait for your visa to become current (get to the front of the line) before filing your I-485. Historically, all EB1 categories are usually current and are therefore eligible for concurrent filing. If you have any questions about concurrent filing, please email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com.

 

Visa Processing

 

  • If you are outside of the US, you will likely have to do visa processing (also called consular processing). This is the process of applying for a visa at a US embassy or consulate abroad.

 

  • To do visa processing, you must file a Form DS-260 with the Department of State. The DS-260 is also called the Immigrant Visa Electronic Application.

 

  • The DS-260 takes about 6 to 8 months on average to process.

 

  • After you submit your DS-260, you will attend a visa interview at a US consulate or embassy abroad.

 

  • Following a successful interview, an immigrant visa will be affixed to your passport allowing entry to the US.

 

  • Visa processing is not eligible for concurrent filing. Your Form I-140 must be approved by USCIS before filing a DS-260.

 

4. Benefits of EB1 Visa

 

The EB1 visa has several benefits which make it a very attractive immigration option for working professionals.

 

Here are some of the benefits:

 

  • No Labor Certification Required: For many employment-based green cards, a US employer is required to apply for and get an approved labor certification through the Department of Labor. The labor certification process can be both time consuming and tedious. For an EB1 green card, your employer is not required to get an approved labor certification. In addition, for the EB1A visa, you are not even required to have an employer file your I-140 petition. Instead, you can self-petition.

 

  • Live and Work in the US: EB1 is an immigrant visa category. This means that successful applicants under this classification are eligible for a US permanent residence (a green card) for themselves, their spouse, and their unmarried children under 21 years old. As a green card holder, you can live and work anywhere in the US.

 

  • Premium Processing: EB1A and EB1B are both eligible for premium processing. Selecting this option can greatly reduce the EB1 processing time.

 

5. Conclusion

 

The EB1 visa is a great option to get a green card to the United States (if you can qualify under 1 of the 3 sub-categories. With an EB1 green card you can live and work in the United States, and get immigration benefits for your spouse and children. Also, due to various features such as premium processing and concurrent filing, the EB1 processing times can be very favorable.

 

Some complex concepts were discussed in this guide. If you have any questions about any of the information covered in this guide, or if you need help with your EB1 green card, please feel free to email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com.

 

Resources:

 

 

 

 

 

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Michael Ashoori Headshot

Michael Ashoori, Esq.

U.S. Immigration Lawyer

I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer and I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.

Since starting my law firm, I’ve helped hundreds of people from all over the world with their immigration needs. I’m very passionate, hard-working, and committed to my clients.

Got a question? Send me an email.