EB1 Extraordinary Ability Petitions for Engineers

EB1 Extraordinary Ability Petitions for Engineers

The EB1 extraordinary ability green card allows anyone in the arts, sciences, business, education or athletics to sponsor their own green card.  No job offer or labor certification is required.  The requirements for this category are quite high but not insurmountable.  Our office has handled thousands of immigration cases and have secured many EB1 approvals for our clients.  Many people believe that the EB1 category is limited to scientists or researchers or those who have won Nobel prizes.  This is simply not the case.  We have helped many people in business fields with job titles like Subsea Intervention Engineer, Project Engineer, Computer Engineer, Industrial Engineer, Chemical Engineer, Mechanical Engineer self sponsor through the EB1 category.

In order to qualify for EB1 classification, you must be able to prove you meet three out of the following ten items:

  • Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence;
  • Membership in associations in the field that demand outstanding achievement of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts;
  • Published material about the alien in professional or major trade publications;
  • Evidence that the alien is a judge of the work of others in the field;
  • Evidence of the alien’s original contributions of major significance to the field;
  • Authorship of scholarly articles;
  • Display of the alien’s work at artistic exhibitions or showcases;
  • Evidence the alien has performed in a leading or critical role for organizations that have a distinguished reputation;
  • Evidence that the alien commands a high salary in relation to others in the field; or
  • Evidence of commercial success in the performing arts.

None of our clients have sufficient documentation to argue all of these elements and it is not necessary to meet all of them, only three.  We typically have enough documentation to argue 4-5 and as long as we can prove three, that is enough.  Typically engineers like Project Engineer, Computer Engineer, Industrial Engineer and other people in the engineering fields have similar types of experience and accomplishments.  Awards are rare and usually company specific and none have any artistic exhibitions or performing art success.  However, we were able to help our clients to document performance evaluations, business proposals or project management to win judge criteria.   Many projects result in economic benefits, job creation, market share increase or other specific benefits.   Engineers normally do not always have job titles that appear as if they are in leadership positions but, in fact, the actual roles and duties they perform can be shown to be leading or critical for entire divisions of major companies.  We were able to show that their role was leading or critical in their organization.  These are the most common types and if you have made accomplishments in these three areas, then you may have a good EB1 case.

USCIS Appointment and Green Card Interview Rules – NEW

New USCIS Interview for Employment Based I485 Applicants

For the past 15 years, USCIS has only required in person interview of employment based I485 applicants in situations where the USCIS adjudicator believed the applicant may have committed fraud, violated their nonimmigrant status or had a criminal record.  On August 28, 2017 that all changed.  USCIS has announced that their new policy is phase in in-person interviews for all employment based applicants.  This includes employer sponsored EB2 and EB3 based applications as well as self sponsored EB1 and NIW based applications.  These interview are expected to begin on October 1, 2017.

Scope of Interview and Possible Interview Questions

To determine what USCIS is looking for in these new interview, we can look to their announcement itself.  In their announcement, USCIS states that

Conducting in-person interviews will provide USCIS officers with the opportunity to verify the information provided in an individual’s application, to discover new information that may be relevant to the adjudication process, and to determine the credibility of the individual seeking permanent residence in the United States.

It becomes readily apparent that the purpose of these interviews is to find a reason to deny your application.  Similar to marriage based fraud interviews, USCIS will use their available resources to conduct an investigation of the application prior to their interview to determine whether or not the applicant or the applicant’s employer made an false or misleading statements or submitted any false or misleading documents in support of either the labor certification or I140.  Moreover, in addition to background checks previously performed, USCIS is likely to perform credit checks and internet searches to see if there is any information available that contradicts what was submitted in the filings.

In marriage green card interviews, the adjudicating officer will review the forms filed, the documents submitted, and the question the applicants to determine not only if they meet the minimum requirements but also if their relationship is genuine and bonafide.  Questions about maintenance of nonimmigrant status are unusual in those case but in these new USCIS interviews for employment based applicants, it is likely to be one of the primary focuses.  If you are on an employment based visa, expect to be asked questions regarding your work, your job duties, the job location and all related questions.  USCIS will want to see if you properly maintained your status and if they determine that you did not, your case may be denied.  Furthermore, the likely main focus will be on the job identified in the I140.  Why did the employer sponsor you?  How did you hear about the job?  Do you currently work there?  How about your past experience?  Is it legit?  Are you currently working there?  Who are your coworkers?

After we appear at some of these interviews, we’ll know exactly what to expect but this is a new hurdle for employment based I485 applicants and if your interview does not go well, expect big delays and possible denials.  And if you have a spouse or child who has filed a derivative I485, expect to be grilled over those relationships as well, especially if the marriage is young or either of you have been previously divorced.  Our office has extensive experience with USCIS interviews and we can assist you in this matter.  If you are scheduled for an interview at a local office in Chicago, IL, Milwaukee, WI, St. Louis, MO, Des Moines, IA, or Indianapolis, IN, we can help you.  Contact us here.


New Processing Procedure for Form I-140 and I-485 at the Texas Service Center (TSC) and Nebraska Service Center (NSC)

New processing procures at the NSC and TSC regarding concurrently filed Form I-140 and Form I-485 are creating difficulties for borderline cases.  Previous USCIS Memoranda required USCIS adjudicating officers who denied an Petitioner’s Form I-140 to hold the Form I-485 for up to 30 days after the Form I-140 denial in case the Petitioner chose to appeal.  Then if the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) sustained the appeal, the USCIS adjudicating officer would approve the Form I-485.  Now, the USCIS will immediately deny Form I-485 when Form I-140 is denied.  This means that every Petitioner should make sure that their Form I-140 petition is presented in the best possible light, especially in cases of concurrent filings.  Beneficiary’s are also advised to maintain nonimmigrant status, where possible, prior to Form I-140 approval and in some cases, before Form I-485 approval.