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EB1/NIW FAQ

Am I qualified?

Our typical client is a post doc with 2-5 publications and a modest citation history. If you are a successful scientist, recent PhD graduate or even a PhD student, we may be able to help you obtain a green card through either the EB1 or NIW categories.

Can I really do this myself without a sponsor?

Absolutely. In these two types of applications, the foreign national signs all the paperwork and acts as both the petitioner and the beneficiary. The law specifically states that no job offer is required. For an NIW application it is only required that the applicant seek employment in an area of intrinsic merit. For EB1 application, the applicant must certify that if their application is approved, that they intend to be employed in their field of expertise.

Is labor certification required?

No job offer is required. No labor certification is required. No offer of employment is required.

Does my company have to sign anything?

No. If you are currently employed, you do not even need to notify your company that you are applying. This is completely self sponsored and your company does not need to sign anything.

Do I need a job offer?

While it is helpful to have a job offer or employment in your field, it is not required.

Do I need to be in the US?

No, many of our clients apply while they are overseas.

Can I include my family?

Yes, you can include your spouse and children under 21 in the application.

How long does it take?

The application is a two step process. Step 1 is Form I-140. This is the application where you must show that you qualify for EB1 or NIW classification. Step 2 is Form I-485 or if you are outside of the US, consular processing. This is the application for residency.  In most cases where the applicant is in the US, both forms may be filed concurrently and the process can be completed and the green cards issued in as little as 5 weeks. The majority of our cases are approved in 2-3 months with the outliers in the 6 month range.

If the applicant is outside of the US or if the forms are filed separately, it normally takes 6-12 months.

What is the visa bulletin and how does it affect me?

The Visa Bulletin, issued by the DOS, details the availability of immigrant visas (green cards).  There is a per-country limit for each EB category. All beneficiaries, with some exceptions, of immigrant petitions cannot file an application for permanent residency unless their priority date is current and applications cannot be granted until an immigrant visa number is assigned to the application.  Visa Bulletins are updated on a monthly basis.

For EB1 and NIW applicants, this will only affect Chinese and Indian nationals applying through the NIW category. Immigrant visas for Chinese and Indian NIW applicants are currently backlogged by about 4 years. This means that after the I-140 is filed and approved, the applicant must wait about 4 years before he or she can file the I-485. 

What is cross chargeability?

Cross chargeability allows a primary applicant from one country to use available immigrant visa numbers from another category where the primary applicant’s spouse is from different country than the applicant. For example, an Indian NIW applicant who is married to a Japanese woman may use immigrant visa numbers from the Japan pool of numbers and avoid the extra 4 year wait.

I see that your office is located in Chicago, Illinois. I am located in another state or am outside of the US. Can you still help me?

Yes, absolutely.  Immigration law is federal law which means we can take clients from any state or country.  We have helped thousands of people with their immigration issues and we can help you too!

The Messersmith Law Firm, P.C.
230 E Ohio Street Suite 208 Chicago, IL 60611
Tel: (312) 751-9960 Fax: (312) 751-9970 info@messersmithlaw.com
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