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Frequently Asked Questions about EB-1(b)

Q: What is USCIS?

A: USCIS stands for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. It is the governmental agency principally responsible for matters dealing with aliens in the United States. Their domain includes the processing of immigration petitions, such as the EB-1 petition. Prior to March of 2003, the USCIS was called the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). For a brief period, it also went by the name Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS). The agency is also referred to as CIS by some. For the purposes of this website, we will be using the currently accepted name of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS.  USCIS used to belong under the Department of Justice prior to the 9/11 tragedy.  Now, the USCIS belongs under the Department of Homeland Security.

Q: Who is handling my case if I retain Z&A?

A: Our attorneys handle our clients' cases individually by preparing petition letters, contacting clients, and following up on pending cases. That is why we have more attorneys than clerks. Our law clerks' main objective is to help attorneys prepare clients' packages, and each client's package will be reviewed by one of our most experienced attorneys for final checking before it is sent out to the USCIS

Q: Q: What does EB-1 stand for?

A: It stands for Employment-Based First Preference Immigration.

Q: What is the EB-1(b) category?

A: The EB-1 (b) category is for an Outstanding Professor or Outstanding Researcher.

Q: What are the minimum document requirements for EB-1(b) petitions?

A: An EB-1(b) petition consists of Form I-140, an employment offer letter signed by the sponsoring employer, and supporting documents that prove the beneficiary meets the EB-1(b) criteria requirements. There are no other specific documents that are required under immigration laws and regulations.

Q: Who has the burden of proof in an EB-1(b) petition?

A: The burden of proof in EB-1(b) cases rests solely on the petitioner and the representing attorney.

Q: If I have a choice between filing an EB-1(a) or an EB-1(b) petition, which petition should I choose?

A: It depends on your individual circumstances. If you meet both criteria, generally we recommend that you file for an EB-1(a), because it will not bind you to any particular employer and you may file on your own behalf. Conversely, an EB-1(b) petition requires a job offer and sponsorship from a specific employer. In addition, a change of employer while your petition is pending may affect your EB-1(b) petition. Your particular situation may differ depending on your specific facts and circumstances. Please consult with an experienced immigration attorney for more information.

Q: Can I file both an EB-1(a) and an EB-1(b) petition at the same time?

A: Yes. Many of our clients opt for filing both petitions simultaneously. Often, one petition will be approved earlier than the other will. In addition, if one petition is denied for some reason, there is still a chance that the other petition may be approved.

Q: Can a Ph.D. student or a Post Doctoral Researcher apply for an EB-1(b)?

A: In theory, yes. However, in reality, it may be very challenging for a Ph.D. student or Post Doctoral Researcher to receive a permanent job offer teaching or researching with an employer’s sponsorship.

Q: How many publications are sufficient to meet the Eb-1(b) requirements?

A: There is no specific minimum publication requirement; rather, it is determined by USCIS on a case-by-case basis depending on the quality and quantity of the publications. General speaking, several publications in major, well-acknowledged journals in the alien’s field would meet one of the six criteria for “Outstanding”.

Q: What is a Permanent Job Offer?

A: A permanent job offer is any job without a defined termination date. Most jobs are permanent jobs.  Job salary or title are of no relevance.


Anna has a job offer from a restaurant owner as a waitress. The owner has told Anna to begin work next Monday for $8 per hour plus tips. Anna has a permanent job since the owner has not given her a defined termination date.


Leda has been hired by IBM as a Research Scientist Contractor for five years at the rate of $80 per hour. Leda's job offer is not a permanent job offer since her position will terminate in five years.


Victor is a Postdoctoral Researcher at West University. This position will generally not be considered a permanent job offer since it is a position that typically lasts two years.

Q: I have received a permanent job offer from my employer. Is my employer required to employ me permanently?

A: No, most jobs involve an “employment at will” relationship. You or your employer may terminate the employment relationship at any time for any/no reason at all.

Q: What should a permanent researcher offer letter contain?

A: The offer letter should contain the following:

  • Your job title;
  • Your job duties;
  • Your salary;
  • Language stating that the job has no fixed expiration term; and
  • Your employer’s signature.

Q: May I see a sample permanent researcher offer letter?

A: Yes, please click here.

Q: Can I still file for an Outstanding Professor/Researcher petition even if I  plan on staying at my current employment for only a few more months?

A: Yes, you may still file for an Outstanding Professor/Researcher petition even if you plan to stay only a few more months. However, you will lose your permanent resident status if you stop working for the employer who sponsored your Outstanding Researcher petition within 180 days after you receive permanent resident status. If you plan to change employers soon, you would be better served by filing either an Alien of Extraordinary Ability EB-1(a) or National Interest Waiver (NIW) petition.

Q: What if I lose my job while my Outstanding Professor/Researcher petition is pending?

A: Your petition may be approved, but your Adjustment of Status may not be approved. As long as you maintain your job for 180 days after filing, your status should be safe.

Q: I would like to file an EB-1(b) petition but I plan to move in three months to a different state. What will happen to my petition if I move?

A: Nothing. Your petition will remain active and your move will have no effect (if you remain working for the employer who sponsored your petition). The USCIS will contact your attorney with its decision on your case. However, you will need to file an AR-11 to notify the USCIS of your change of address with ten days.

Q: Is it possible to file two petitions such as an EB-1(b) and NIW at the same time?

A: Yes. Some of our clients file two I-140 petitions simultaneously. Some clients file three I-140 petitions at the same time. There is nothing stated in the law that prohibits multiple filings. Multiple filings increase your chances for approval.

Q: What is a Letter of Recommendation?

A: A letter of recommendation is a letter written by an expert in the alien's field or an otherwise authoritative person in an allied or supporting field. The letter discusses the abilities and accomplishments of the alien seeking an EB-1(b). Letters of recommendation are an important part of an EB-1(b) petition.

Q: Who should I contact to obtain Letters of Recommendation?

A: Recommendation Letters should be written by experts or scholars in your field. Usually, our clients ask their former professors, supervisors, co-workers and individuals that they have met at meetings/conferences. One or two people who are less familiar with the alien are also recommended since they are more objective and independent. In general, anyone who knows your work directly or indirectly and has expertise in the field may write a Letter of Recommendation for you.

Q: Does your firm provide some samples of Letters of Recommendation?

A: Yes, we provide our clients with relevant sample recommendation letters.

Q: If my supervisor is not willing to write a strong Letter of Recommendation for me, may I still have a successful EB-1(b)?

A: It is not necessary to obtain a strong letter of recommendation from your current supervisor to have a successful EB-1 petition if you can get strong evidence through other channels. If you obtain letters of recommendation from other experts to support an EB-1(b) claim and your hard evidence is very strong, your case may be a successful one. However, as a practical matter, if your supervisor is not willing to sponsor you, it is hard to get your employer to sponsor you for your EB-1(b).

Q: Who is legally defined as my employer for the EB-1(b) petition? Is it my supervisor, my Department Chair, or my University?

A: Your employer is the legal entity that pays you your salary every month. You may look at your pay check - your employer’s name will be listed as the entity that is issuing the check. For example, Dr. Kim works for Professor Smith at the Biology Department of Ohio State University. Ohio State University is Dr. Kim’s employer.

Q: Who can sign for my employer on my EB-1(b) documents?

A: Usually, the HR Director, International Office Director or Vice President is authorized to sign for an employer. Sometime, another Director or Dean may also sign for an employer.

Q: How many Recommendation Letters should I obtain?

A: There is no specific number set forth by the USCIS. We generally include five to seven letters of recommendation in our EB-1(b) cases.

Q: What information should be included in the Recommendation Letters?

A: Because recommendation Letters provide the primary supporting evidence for your petition, they should include the writers' qualifications, your achievements, awards, publishing record, society memberships, etc. Moreover, the letters should explicitly link your achievements to the EB-1(b) criteria.

Q: Obtaining Letters of Recommendation will be difficult for me. Are these letters important?

A: If you can provide clear and convincing evidence that you fulfill the criteria for an EB-1(b) petition, you do not need any Letters of Recommendation. For example, someone with a Nobel Price may not need them. For most EB-1(b) applicants, however, strong letters of recommendation are necessary to show that you meet the EB-1(b) requirements for approval.

Q: My professors are too busy and I hate to impose on them. What should I do?

A: Letters of Recommendation are hard to draft. Often professors are too busy to draft these letters themselves and are happy to review and modify a draft and sign a letter provided to them by the candidate. Our attorneys can review and edit these drafts to ensure that they include the appropriate language and meet the EB-1(b) filing requirements.

Q: Once I sign the contract, how long does it take to file the petition?

A: It depends on how long it takes you to gather the Recommendation Letters and the supporting documents. Usually, it takes a couple of months for the applicant to get everything ready. Once all the information and documentation is obtained, we can usually file your case usually one week of receipt.

Q: Once filed, how long does it take USCIS to decide a case?

A: It depends. The quickest approval that we have experienced has been two days. Generally, USCIS EB-1(b) processing takes about six months. However, if the applicant or the petitioning employer pays a premium processing fee, the EB-1(b) case will be processed within 15 days.

Q: My friend has the same credentials as me and his EB-1(b) petition has recently been approved. Will my EB-1(b) petition also be approved?

A: It depends, as each case is inherently different. Although your credentials may be identical to someone else’s, your case may result in a different outcome. Z&A provides an initial free consultation where we can review your resume and give you our professional evaluation on your particular circumstances.

Q: If I am not a member of any professional association, organization, or society in my field, may I still apply for an EB-1(b)?

A: Yes. There is no specification that you need to be a member of any professional association, organization, or society in order to apply or obtain approval for an EB-1(b) petition.

Q: If I do not have any awards in my field, may I still apply for an EB-1(b)?

A: Yes. There is no specific requirement for applicant’s receipt of awards in order for him or her to apply or obtain approval of an EB-1(b) petition, although in many instances awards would help improve chances of approval.

Q: If I do not have a permanent offer of employment, can I still apply for an EB-1(b) petition?

A: No, EB-1(b) requires a permanent teaching or research job offer and also an employer’s sponsorship.

Q: If my EB-1(b) petition is approved, can I file a petition for Adjustment of Status or an immigrant visa? If so, when can I do so?

A: Yes, you may file for Adjustment of Status. Because the EB-1 category has immigrant visa numbers immediately available, you can apply for Adjustment of Status immediately after your EB-1(b) approval, or even apply for an EB-1(b) and Adjustment of Status concurrently.

Q: Besides an EB-1(b) petition, what other employment-based immigration petitions are available that do not require a Labor Certification?

A: NIW (National Interest Waiver) and EB-1(a) petitions also do not require a Labor Certification. Please click here for more information on NIW.

Q: Do I need to live in the U.S. to apply for an EB-1(b)?

A: No. Any alien, living either within the U.S. or in a foreign country may apply for an EB-1(b) petition, provided, or course, that she meets the relevant requirements. Nevertheless, it may be very hard for an alien who is outside the US to receive a permanent employment offer for a teaching or research position from a US employer.

Q: I am not a member of any professional organizations in my field, but have the opportunity to join some by paying a membership fee. Should I join the professional associations now in order to increase my chances of approval for an EB-1(b)?

A: No. Evidence that would support an EB-1(b) petition is membership in an association, organization, or society requiring "outstanding achievement" of its members. If the professional association you are considering is relatively easy to join, it may not be applicable evidence to support your EB-1(b) case.

Q: Does the USCIS have premium processing for EB-1(b)?

A: Yes, if premium processing is selected, the USCIS will process an EB-1(b) case within fifteen days. This policy has been instituted since September of 2006.

Q: What are the similarities between EB-1(b) and EB-1(a)?

A: There are three main similarities: 1) both are in the EB-1 category, which means that immigrant visa numbers are immediately available to all aliens from any country; 2) both do not require a Labor Certification; 3) both include the option for premium processing by the USCIS.

Q: What are the differences between EB-1(b) and EB-1(a)?

A: There are three main points: 1) the EB-1(a) petition does not require an employer’s sponsorship and a permanent job offer, while the EB-1(b) petition does; 2) the EB-1(a) petition stipulates a higher standard of achievements than the EB-1(b) petition; 3) the EB-1(a) petition does not require experience, while the EB-1(b) petition requires three years experience.

Q: I am considering applying for an EB-1(b). May I also apply for an NIW?

A: Yes. You are not bound by only one immigrant petition, and may petition under more than one category simultaneously. This increases your odds of getting an approval, since it is impossible to predict whether the USCIS will approve any given case.

Q: If I applied for EB-1 and NIW at the same time, are there any negative effects caused by one petition on the other?

A: No, they are unrelated. One will not affect the other.

Q: Between an EB-1(a) and an NIW, which petition is recommended?

A: You should always keep in mind that filing both an NIW and an EB-1(b) petition at the same time is an option. However, they have different standards/criteria. The EB-1(b) category requires a very high standard of achievements and a permanent teaching or research position. Therefore, for those aliens who do have concrete evidence to prove their achievements and who also possess a permanent research or teaching employment offer, the EB-1(b) petition is a good choice. On the other hand, the NIW category offers more flexible and fluid criteria. For those aliens who do not meet very high achievement standards with hard evidence, NIW is a good and viable choice.

Q: If I have a Labor Certification pending, may I also apply for an EB-1(b)?

A: Yes. They may be filed independently, since they are not related. Labor Certification processing is conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor, whereas the USCIS processes EB-1(b) petitions. If you do both and your Labor Certification is ultimately denied, you still have a chance of getting an EB-1(b) approved. Moreover, and EB-1(b) is faster since it can be adjudicated with premium processing.

Q: If I have been denied a Labor Certification, may I still petition for an EB-1(b)?

A: Yes, assuming you would otherwise qualify for an EB-1(b). The standards for an EB-1(b) petition and Labor Certification are very different. A Labor Certification is based on a lack of available U.S. workers with minimum qualifications for the particular job. By contrast, an EB-1(b) is based on proving that the alien is an “Outstanding Professor or Researcher”.

Q: What is a "Request for Additional Evidence"?

A: Sometimes the USCIS is not convinced that the alien petitioning under an EB-1(b) category has sufficiently proved that she meets the requirements for qualification under the EB-1(b) category. In such cases, they will typically make a "Request for Additional Evidence." Z&A takes great pains to present a strong EB-1(b) case so that it will be approved without a request for additional evidence. Nevertheless, there is no way to predict how a particular USCIS officer reviewing the case will respond.  In such instances, even strong cases could receive a "Request for Additional Evidence." In these situations, our cases are usually approved after we prepare and submit the requested additional evidence.

Q: How can I determine my likelihood for success?

A: We recommend that you perform a free consultation with one of our attorneys. Please e-mail your resume and questions to Usually, Attorney Jerry Zhang will respond to your e-mail within twenty-four hours.

Q: Can Letters of Recommendation included in an NIW petition be used for an EB-1(b) petition?

A: Since EB-1(b) and NIW have different standards, the recommendation letters for NIW may not be effective for EB-1(b) applications. We usually suggest one set of recommendation letters be used for NIW and another set of recommendation letters be used for EB-1(b). Nevertheless, they may come from the same group of experts.

Q: If I have filed an EB-1(b), when is my priority date?

A: Your priority date is the date that the USCIS receives your EB-1(b) petition. Currently, the priority date for the EB-1(b) applicant is not important since visa numbers are available for EB-1 aliens from any country.

Q: I am in J-1 status and subject to the two-year home country residency requirement. May I apply for an EB-1(b)?

A: Yes. However, you need to either obtain a J-1 waiver or satisfy the two-year home residency requirement before you may adjust your status to permanent resident.

Q: I am currently in J-1 status and subject to the two-year home country residence requirement. If I apply for an EB-1(b) and it is approved, is my J-1 home country requirement waived?

A: No, a J-1 waiver and an EB-1 are two different things. A J-1 waiver is an application to waive the two-year home country residency requirement. An EB-1 is an immigration petition. Even if your EB-1 is approved, you are still subject to the two-year requirement. You need to either obtain a J-1 waiver or satisfy it before you may adjust your status to a permanent resident.

Q: How many EB-1(b) cases has your firm handled?

A: Our firm has successfully handled several hundred Eb-1(b) approvals. We have extensive experience representing clients in EB-1(b) cases.

Q: What is your firm’s success rate for EB-1(b)?

A: We have about a 98% success rate for EB-1(b).

Q: After my EB-1(b) petition is approved, do I need to remain working in the same field as indicated in my petition?

A: Yes, you need to continue working in the field specified in filed EB-1(b). If you venture into another area, the USCIS may deny your Adjustment of Status (I-485) or even revoke permanent residency after an Adjustment of Status (I-485) is granted.

Q: What is the similarity between EB-1(b) and NIW applications?

A: Neither one of them needs a Labor Certification.

Q: What are the differences between an NIW and an EB-1(b)?

A: There are four main points of difference: 1) EB-1(b) is in the first preference category while NIW is in the second preference category; as such, immigrant visa numbers are available for all EB-1(b) applicants, whereas there are visa backlogs for NIW applicants born in India or China; 2) EB-1(b) requires a higher standard of achievement, while NIW has more flexible and fluid requirements; 3) EB-1(b) requires a permanent teaching or research job offer with an employer’s sponsorship, while NIW, as a self petition, has no such requirements; and 4) EB-1(b) applicants can choose premium processing whereas NIW applicants do not have that option. Please click here to learn more about NIW.

Q: If I retain Z&A for my EB-1(b) petition, what do I need to do?

A: If you decide to retain us to conduct your EB-1(b) petition, please read over carefully Z&A’s EB-1 agreement.  Upon thoroughly reviewing the document, please sign it and mail it to us along a check for the initial attorney's fees. Once we receive the signed and completed contract and payment, we will begin to work on your case. Please click here for our EB-1(b) agreement.

Q: I know your firm has offices in Houston, TX, Chicago, IL, and New York, NY, but I live in another state. Can your firm handle my EB-1(b) case?

A: Yes. Since immigration laws are federal in scope, we represent clients located throughout and outside the U.S. by using the latest technology in providing professional services to our clients. Please click here to see the map of our clients' locations in the United States.

Q: If I retain your firm, do I need to meet in-person with one of the attorneys at Z&A?

A: No, you do not need to meet your attorney in person for us to handle your case. You may communicate with us via fax, telephone, mail, e-mail, and courier (Fed-Ex, UPS, etc.).

Q: I want Z&A to evaluate my case. What do I need to do?

A: To receive your free initial evaluation, please e-mail your resume and specific questions to Attorney Jerry Zhang will provide you a free evaluation typically within 24 hours.

For more information on EB-1 Visa, please refer to the following links: