EB-1 Outstanding Professors or Researchers

Step 1: Determine EB-1 eligibility
Step 2: Prepare EB-1 request
Step 3: FSIS processing
Step 4: USCIS processing
Step 5: Apply for U.S. permanent residence


Step 1: Determine EB-1 eligibility

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will approve an EB-1 outstanding professor/researcher petition only if the evidence submitted with the petition supports the contention that the employee is internationally recognized as outstanding in the academic field.

Provide documentation showing both the position and the employee meet the necessary requirements below. If any document is not written in English, provide a translation and a translator’s certification.

Requirements How to document requirements
1 A tenured or tenure-track teaching or “permanent” research position in the academic field.

Note: USCIS defines “permanent” as being “for a term of indefinite or unlimited duration, and in which the employee will ordinarily have an expectation of continued employment unless there is good cause for termination.”

Provide a letter signed by the dean/director confirming the position is tenured, tenure-track, or “permanent.”
2 At least three years of postdoctoral teaching or research experience in the academic field.

Teaching experience gained while pursuing an advanced degree can be counted toward the three years only if the beneficiary received the degree and had full responsibility for the class taught (i.e. solo-teaching, instructor of record).

Research experience gained while pursuing an advanced degree can be counted toward the three years only if the beneficiary received the degree and conducted research that is recognized as outstanding by other experts in the academic field.

Provide employment certification letters from past employers to show at least three years of teaching and/or research experience in the field. If some or all experience took place in the same UH college/school/unit, then employment certification can be combined with the dean/director’s letter.
3 Substantial achievements in a specific academic field in at least two of these six categories:

(A) Major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement in the academic field.

(B) Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members.

(C) Published material in professional publications about the individual’s work in the field for which classification is sought.

(D) Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in an allied field of specialization for which classification is sought.

(E) Required: Original scientific or scholarly contributions of significance to the field.

(F) Authorship of articles published in scholarly journals with international circulation in the academic field.

If at least one of the above categories does not fit the type of evidence to be submitted, the beneficiary may also provide comparable documentation of outstanding international achievements in the field.

(A) Major awards/prizes for outstanding achievement:

  • Copies of award certificates/letters;
  • Patents may count as awards for this category;
  • Criteria used to judge the nominees;
  • Proof of how difficult it is to win the award/prize or obtain the patent;
  • Information about the purpose, significance, and scope of each award/prize and of the awarding bodies/organizations; and
  • If available, list of prior winners in the past 3-5 years.

Note 1: Although prizes must be prestigious national or international in scope, they do not have to be of the same caliber as a Nobel or Pulitzer prize.

Note 2: USCIS generally does not accept school-awarded academic scholarships/fellowships and grants unless they are notoriously competitive.


(B) Memberships based on outstanding achievements:

  • Copies of membership letters from associations;
  • Criteria used and procedures followed to determine whether an applicant is “outstanding” and other requirements for membership;
  • Number of current members and the beneficiary’s rank in each association compared to other members; and
  • Information establishing the international reputations of those reviewing applications and of the associations in the field.

(C) Published articles about the beneficiary’s work:

  • Copies of articles’ cover pages showing title, author, publication name, and issue date;
  • Copies of pages on which the beneficiary’s work is significantly discussed;
  • Information establishing the prestige of the publications;
  • Information about local/national/international circulation, frequency of publication, and numbers of copies published; and
  • If available, information establishing the importance of the articles.

Note: The articles must extensively discuss, as opposed to simply cite, the beneficiary’s work in positive or neutral way.


(D) Participation as a panelist/individual as a judge of others’ work:

  • If on a journal’s editorial board, include a website printout naming the beneficiary as an editor/editorial board member;
  • For journal and/or conference peer-reviewing, provide copies of letters/emails acknowledging the judging (e.g. letter from an editor explaining why the beneficiary is regularly asked to review manuscripts);
  • Criteria used to select the beneficiary as a judge for journals, conferences, etc.; and
  • Information establishing the international significance of the journals, conferences, etc.

(E) Required: Original scientific or scholarly contributions:

  • 10 recommendation letters regarding from recognized experts in the field describing the beneficiary’s original contributions and explaining the significant impact of those contributions on the field;
    • Address letters “To Whom It May Concern.”
    • Experts should include summaries of their career highlights and explain how they are acquainted with the beneficiary, if at all.
    • Some letters should come from outside the U.S. from different regions of the world; only 1-2 of the international letters should come from the person’s home country.
    • Letters from individuals in high-ranking positions, particularly U.S. government officials who have expertise in the field, are valuable.
    • Only submit 1 letter per institution/organization.
    • Only one of the letters should be written by someone from UH.
    • Each letter should sound unique – do not submit similar sounding letters with different signers.
    • Letters should provide examples of how the person’s work is positively influencing the field and explain its global and national impacts on mainstream issues.
    • Letters should not describe the beneficiary as promising, young, or having potential – they should already be established in the field.
    • Letters should comment on the person’s professional achievements rather than personal qualities.
  • Documentation of original research presentations made at conferences, seminars, etc. and the significance of the events;
  • Participation as a consultant/researcher due to original contributions at the invitation of a distinguished organization (e.g. UN sub-committee, governmental workgroup, etc.); and/or
  • Other evidence showing major original scientific or scholarly contributions.

(F) Authorship of published scholarly articles:

  • The beneficiary should have at least 10 peer-reviewed international journal articles.
  • Provide a list of scholarly journal articles, books, book chapters, or other publications;
  • If the beneficiary has a lot of citations, evidence showing the number of citations for each article (e.g. printout of a Google Scholar search);
  • Copies of articles’ cover pages showing title, author, publication name, and issue date;
  • Copies of books’ pages showing title, author, table of contents, and publication date; for book chapters, include the first page of each chapter written;
  • Information establishing the prestige and international reputation of the publications/media;
  • Information showing international circulation, publication frequencies, and numbers of copies published; and
  • If available, information establishing the importance of the articles/books/chapters.

Examples of comparable evidence proving outstanding international recognition in the field include, but are not limited to:

  • Evidence of receipt of very important or competitive grants or other funding as evidenced by grant award letters and information explaining the difficulty in obtaining the grant;
  • Articles in popular media, such as magazines and newspapers — it is ideal if color photos accompany the articles;
  • Command of a high salary or other payment for services evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence;
  • Prestigious appointments with distinguished institutions, evidenced by documentation establishing the prestige of each appointment as well as each institution; and/or
  • Any other evidence that does not fit one of the six categories above, but which proves outstanding international reputation.

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Step 2: Prepare EB-1 request

UH colleges, schools, departments, and units should follow each step below to complete and submit EB-1 requests to FSIS.

1 The UH department initiates the EB-1 request.

The UH department should work with the EB-1 beneficiary to obtain necessary information and documentation for the EB-1 request packet. The department should complete/gather its portion of the documents listed on the EB-1 Request Form.

2 The HR specialist reviews the EB-1 request and attaches documents.

The UH department should forward its portion of the EB-1 request packet to the Human Resources specialist for the college/school/unit. The HR specialist reviews these documents and attaches any additional documents.

The HR specialist should send the complete request packet to FSIS, Attn: Isis, PSB 102-106.

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Step 3: FSIS processing

Once FSIS receives the request from the HR specialist, we will review it. If we have any questions, we will contact the HR specialist and/or the employee. As long as all initial requirements are met, we will complete the following:

Procedures Average Timeline
1 Review all departmental letters and documentation of outstanding international recognition; may independently obtain additional supporting documents and/or ask the employee for additional evidence to clarify and/or supplement the information already provided. 2 to 6 weeks
2 Draft a comprehensive petition cover letter summarizing the employee’s impact on the specific area of research and detailing the documentation of outstanding international recognition being submitted. 2 weeks
3 Email the employee to confirm their information and method of applying for permanent residence; employee replies to provide information. Few days or longer after cover letter is drafted
4 Complete Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker and Form I-907 Request for Premium Processing (optional) and attaches the cover letter and supporting documents. Few days after employee replies
5 FSIS emails the employee to provide the I-140 filing fee(s) and a pre-paid mailing label for the petition. Few days or longer
6 FSIS mails the EB-1 petition to USCIS and file drops a copy of it to the employee and the HR specialist for the unit. Same day or day after petition is finished

Note: At this step in the process, certain employees may be eligible to concurrently file a Form I-485 adjustment of status application with the I-140 petition. See Step 5 below for more details.

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Step 4: USCIS processing

Once the UH department or employee mails the EB-1 petition, USCIS will conduct an initial review to ensure the petition is being filed with the appropriate fee. If USCIS determines the petition has been properly filed, it will mail a receipt notice to FSIS.

USCIS adjudication

Under regular processing, it generally takes USCIS 4-6 months to adjudicate petitions.

If premium processing service is requested, USCIS will act on the petition within 15 calendar days. (“Act on” = approve, deny, request further evidence, or notify of intent to deny.) USCIS offers this service for an additional fee.

While the petition is pending, departments can check its status using the receipt number and view average processing times on USCIS’s case status website.

If the petition is approved, USCIS will mail an EB-1 approval notice (Form I-797 Notice of Action) to FSIS. FSIS will email a copy of the notice and information about the next steps to the HR specialist and the employee. It is important to note that approval of an EB-1 petition does not grant a person legal status in the U.S. The employee must continue to have valid status and work authorization in the U.S. until permanent residence is obtained.

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Step 5: Apply for U.S. permanent residence

The employee can apply for permanent residence by one of these two methods:

Adjustment of status Consular processing
  • Employee files a Form I-485 application with USCIS while remaining in the U.S. Approval of the I-485 will grant permanent residence.
  • Check USCIS’s Adjustment of Status Filing Chart for priority date status.
  • I-485 may be filed concurrently with the I-140 petition if the priority date is current.
  • Police clearance reports are not required.
  • Employee applies for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. After the visa is issued, the worker presents it at a U.S. port of entry and is admitted as a permanent resident.
  • Check U.S. Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for priority date status.
  • Immigrant visa application must be submitted after the I-140 petition is approved; no concurrent filing with I-140.
  • Police clearance reports are required with the visa application.

Effect of unauthorized employment or status

If the employee has maintained a valid nonimmigrant status throughout their stay in the U.S. and is currently in the U.S. in a qualifying nonimmigrant status, adjustment of status or consular processing are both options for the final stage of the permanent residence process. However, if the worker has not maintained status, has engaged in unauthorized employment, or has violated the terms and conditions of admission for a total period of more than 180 days, they may not be eligible to adjust status in the U.S. In such a case, the only option will be consular processing.

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