Employment Based, First Preference (EB-1-2 Visa), I-140 Petition for an Outstanding Professor or Researcher.
8 CFR 204.5(i)(3) sets forth the type of documentation that must accompany an I-140 petition filed on behalf of an outstanding professor or researcher. An EB-1-2 (aka EB-1-B) I-140 outstanding professor or researcher petition is filed by a qualifying academic or research institution or qualifying private sector organization, and is supported by detailed evidence that the petitioned professional has gained “international” acclaim in their area of academic expertise.
The regulations at 8 CFR 204.5(i)(2) further lay out what is meant by “academic field” – declaring it as “a body of specialized knowledge offered for study at an accredited United States university or institution of higher education.” Further, an area of specialized knowledge can encompasses a body of thought larger than a small, peculiar area of expertise, where only a single class is offered or is the focus of only extremely specialized research.
In addition, an outstanding professor/researcher filing must be supported by an offer from a qualifying institution or organization to fill a position considered permanent, tenured, or tenure-track. Additionally, the I-140 petition must include supporting evidence the petitioned professional has already gained at least three years of experience as a professor or researcher in their area of academic expertise.
What Constitutes ‘Outstanding’?
How is it proven that a researcher or professor is “outstanding” or has gained international acclaim? The I-140 petition must be supported by documentation covering at least 2 of the following areas of qualifications:
- The petitioned professional received a major prize or award recognizing their outstanding contribution to their field,
- The professor or researcher obtained membership in organization limited to individuals with exceptional achievements in their particular field.
- Documentation reflecting that the petitioned professional and their work has been the subject of published material authored by another party
- Proof of the petitioned professional’s acting in the role of judge of others in the same or similar area of academic expertise.
- Documentation evidencing the professional’s original scholarship or scientific findings in their area of expertise,
- Documentation reflecting the petitioned professional’s research or writing in their field of expertise appearance in scholarly publications that are distributed globally
Lastly, as stated, the I-140 petitioning entity must be a university, an academic institution, and in some cases an organization in the private sector, but only if at least 3 researchers are employed full time on it staff. Further, the petitioning entity must present evidence of its notable research achievements and stature or prominence in the field of expertise at issue.
Starting the Process
The process is commenced with the sponsoring institution submitting their I-140 petition with the appropriate US DHS/CIS Service Center in the U.S. Importantly, to obtain the quickest review of the filing, the petitioner can pay an extra filing fee and submit Form I-907 and have the case reviewed within 14 days, via premium, expedited processing. Following submission, the US CIS Service Center will generally either approve the petition or issue a Request for Evidence.
If the petition is approved, the final stage of processing of the petitioned professional’s permanent resident status (“green card”) will take place either in the U.S., before a US CIS office assuming the worker is eligible for “adjustment of status”, or if preferable, at a U.S. consular post in the worker’s home country. Importantly, the worker’s spouse and under 21 year old children are also eligible to be issued U.S. permanent residence as “derivative” beneficiaries.
The importance of preparing and submitting a petition that adheres to all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements cannot be overstated. To assist with this process, hiring the services of an accomplished, experienced attorney, such as Richard Hanus of the Law Offices of Richard Hanus, is a must.