This is the first in a continuing series of posts that will describe a case handled by the Alcorn Immigration Law team that shows what we can do for you.* To maintain client confidentiality, the client’s name has been changed, and some details of the case may have been omitted or slightly altered.
For two years, Sara has worked on the business side for the major tech company that sponsored her H-1B visa. She worried about changes in immigration policy under the Trump administration. Moreover, she wanted to be free of depending on her employer for her immigration status.
When Sara met with our team, she told us she wanted to remain in the U.S. The 25-year-old felt frustrated by her employer dragging its heels to start the green card process and by being unable to control the process. We helped her move from a nonimmigrant (temporary) visa to an immigrant (permanent residency) visa. By doing so, we freed Sara from dependence on her employer for her immigration status and put her on a quick path to citizenship.
On an H-1B, Sara couldn’t change jobs without finding a prospective employer willing to apply for a new H-1B or another status on her behalf. And H-1B visas for specialty occupations have become increasingly more difficult to obtain under the Trump administration. With an H-1B, Sara faces restrictions in starting her own business and in pursuing full-time higher education.
Determining a Path
When we meet with prospective clients, we often discover that they underestimate the value of their accomplishments. That was true in Sara’s case.
Based on what she told us, we knew she would be a strong candidate for an EB-1A immigrant visa—or EB-1A green card—for aliens of extraordinary ability. Foreign nationals who have distinguished themselves in their field of science, art, education, business or athletics are eligible.
Sara served as the lead on various projects and filled critical roles at her company. She also had inventions and patents under her belt. The products she developed led to newspaper articles about those products.
A special green card category, the EB-1A is an employment-based, first-preference immigrant visa. Candidates can self-sponsor, which means they do not need an employer sponsor, a job offer, or labor certification. The labor certification (also called PERM, or Program Electronic Review Management) requires an employer to prove to the U.S. Department of Labor that qualified U.S. workers are unavailable for the position sought by the foreign national.
The Alcorn Method
Making the case for transitioning from H-1B to EB-1A can be challenging and time-consuming. Over the course of four weeks, the Alcorn Immigration Law team helped Sara assemble all the required documentation and corroborating evidence for an EB-1A petition, including letters of recommendation from people around the world willing to attest to her abilities.
We filed Sara’s petition with premium processing, which reduces the time it takes for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to determine whether an individual is eligible for the visa for which she or he applied. For a $1,225 fee, USCIS will decide within 15 calendar days whether a visa candidate is eligible for a particular status. Without premium processing, a visa candidate may have to wait six or eight months—and possibly longer—for a determination.
However, premium processing brings with it increased scrutiny of the petition by USCIS officers. And premium processing is not available for all immigration categories.
In less than two weeks, USCIS approved Sara for an EB-1A green card with no requests for evidence. A request for evidence would have slowed down a determination on a visa or green card petition. Awaiting the green card interview, Sara received her work permit and Advance Parole combo card. Advance Parole allows non-citizens to reenter the U.S. while changing their status from a non-immigrant to a permanent resident.
Now, Sara has the flexibility to decide what she wants to do next without being tied to one company. We feel honored that Sara trusted us to help guide her through the confusing, challenging, and constantly changing rules and regulations of U.S. immigration policy.
The Alcorn Immigration Law team supports immigration for innovation by assisting highly-motivated investors, founders, talent, and families obtain visas, green cards, and citizenship. Contact us if we can help you, an employee or a loved one. We can help individuals whether they are inside or outside of the U.S.
* Our success in any immigration case does not predict nor guarantee the outcome of your legal matter. The result portrayed above was dependent on the facts of that case. Results will differ if based on different facts.