EB-1 General Questions

Posted on December 11, 2007 by Warren Wen | Category: Immigration

Q&A: General Questions for EB-1(a)

Mr. Gu asked:

I am a famous wood carving artist in China.  I am very interested in EB-1(a) immigration after I read your articles regarding EB-1 greencard applications.  It seems that I qualify for an EB-1(a) greencard application.  I have some general questions about the EB-1(a).

My first question is regarding the letter of recommendation.  In one of your previous articles you mentioned how one can prepare letters of recommendation for the EB-1 greencard application.  In my case, however, it is difficult to get letters of recommendation.  Therefore, I would like to know how important these letters are.  How many letters of recommendation are required by the USCIS?  Whom should I contact to obtain letters of recommendation?

Currently, I am not a member of any professional organization in my field, but I could join one by paying a membership fee.  My second question is whether it would be necessary for me to join a professional association now in order to increase my chances of approval on my EB-1(a) application.

I live in China, but I travel to US quite often.  My final question would be the following: Can I file an EB-1 application even if I am living outside the US?  Is there any difference between filing an EB-1(a) application in the US versus outside the US?


Let me address your questions one by one.  First of all, the letter of recommendation is not a required by the USCIS as evidence for EB-1 (a) greencard applications.  If an applicant can provide clear evidence that the applicant fulfills the criteria for EB-1(a), the letter of recommendation can be omitted.  Normally, it is not easy for an applicant to prepare strong and clear evidence to show that they qualify.  Therefore, according to our experience, letters of recommendation are often necessary for most of EB-1(a) applicants in order to show that they meet the EB-1(a) requirements.  There is no specific number set forth by the USCIS regarding the letters of recommendation.  We generally advise our clients to prepare five to six letters of recommendation for their EB-1(a) application.  Experts in the applicant’s field could write a letter of recommendation for them.  We also suggest that clients ask one or two people who are less familiar with the applicant to write letters of recommendation because they could be more objective and independent.

To address the second question, membership in a professional association requiring “outstanding achievement” of its members can be considered as evidence to support an EB-1(a) petition.  If the professional association which Mr. Gu is considering is relatively easy to join, it may not be help him with his EB-1(a) case.

Finally, any alien, living either in or outside the US, may apply for an EB-1 application.  The requirements for filing an EB-1 application are the same, no matter where the applicant is.  However, the procedure for filing an EB-1 application will be different.  If an applicant is living in the US, he can concurrently file an I-140 and an I-485 according to the current Visa Bulletin.  If the applicant is living outside the US, he can only file an I-140 based on the EB-1 category.  The applicant will also need to deal with the National Visa Center and US embassy for the immigrant visa processing once the EB-1 case has been approved by the USCIS.  Therefore, the total processing time may take longer if the applicant is living outside the US.

This article is only for your reference. Please do not apply mechanically to any exact cases. You are welcome to consult our attorneys at Liu & Associates, P.C. For contact information, please click here.