EB-12

First Preference Employment-Based Visa for Outstanding Professors and Researchers (EB-12):

The EB-12 visa allows an outstanding professor or researcher to obtain U.S. permanent residency based on a petition filed by a qualifying university or institution of higher education or private research institution, if certain conditions are met.

General Requirements:

  • The individual must be recognized internationally as outstanding in a specific academic field. An "academic field" is defined as "a body of specialized knowledge offered for study at an accredited United States university or institution of higher learning." To establish international recognition in an academic field, at least two of the following must be established:
    • Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement;
    • Membership in an association which requires outstanding achievement;
    • Published material in professional publications written by others about the individual's work;
    • Evidence of the individual's participation as a judge of the work of others;
    • Evidence of original scientific research; or
    • Authorship of scholarly books or articles in the field.
  • The individual must have at least 3 years of teaching or research experience in the specific academic area. Time spent teaching or researching while working on advanced degrees may be counted if the degree is ultimately acquired and the individual had full responsibility for the class taught or research being conducted in the outstanding academic field.
  • The offered position must be either tenured or tenured track (or an expectation of continued employment) at a university or institution of higher education in a position comparable to the individual's work abroad, or must be a comparable private entity that employs at least 3 full-time researches and has achieved documented accomplishments in an academic field.

Derivative Benefits:

  • The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may accompany the principal EB-12 visa holder to the United States as permanent residents. The spouse and unmarried children are allowed to work in the United States and may apply to become citizens after five years.

Procedure:

  • The sponsoring institution must first file a petition for alien worker with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. No labor certification is required, but the petitioner must demonstrate the ability to pay the professor/researcher.
  • Upon approval of the petition, the alien will then be eligible to either adjust status (if within the United States in lawful status) or apply for an immigrant visa at the appropriate consulate abroad (if outside of the United States). Priority dates are current for the EB-12 category, allowing the individual to adjust or immigrate immediately upon approval of the petition.

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