EB-1 vs. EB-2

Posted on November 27, 2007 by Warren Wen | Category: Immigration

Q&A: EB-1 vs. EB-2

Mr. Yan asked:

I have a Ph.D. in Computer Science.  I am currently working in a software company as a senior researcher.  I have published several papers and journals during my studies in the US.  Recently, one of my research results was published in a professional magazine.  I am interested in applying for a green card in the EB-1 or EB-2 categories.  I would like to know which one is better for me based on my background and qualification.


Mr. Yan has several choices for his employment based green card application.  If Mr. Yan’s current position is a permanent one and his employer is willing to sponsor his green card application, he can consider EB-2 (PERM) or EB-1 (b) for outstanding professors or researchers.

The advantage of EB-2 (PERM) is that the burden of preparing the case is mainly on the employer, not on Mr. Yan.  Most of the supporting documents will be provided by the employer.  Normally under EB-2 (PERM), Mr. Yan is not required to prepare recommendation letters from experts in his field or the supporting documents for his accomplishments.  However, it is less flexible for Mr. Yan to change his employer during the green card application process.  In addition, Mr. Yan will not be eligible to file an I-485 application unless there is an immediate visa number available under this category.

The EB-1 (b) Category for Outstanding Professors and Researchers also needs the sponsorship from an employer.  It has the same disadvantage in terms of its flexibility of changing jobs as the EB-2 (PERM).  The other disadvantage of EB-1 (b) is that Mr. Yan will have to spend much time and energy to collect recommendation letters from experts in his study field, as well as supporting documents for his international acclaim and accomplishments.  The major advantage of the EB-1(b), however, is that under this category Mr. Yan can file I-485 concurrently with his I-140.  Also, EB-1 (b) does not require a Labor Certificate, and hence it can significantly shorten the whole processing time of Mr. Yan’s green card application.

If Mr. Yan’s employer is not willing to sponsor his green card application, EB-2 (NIW), National Interest Waiver, and EB-1 (a), Extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics can be considered as well, since EB-2 (NIW) and EB-1 (a) can be self-petitioned.  Mr. Yan could have more flexibility to change jobs or plan to change jobs in the near future.  Moreover, these two categories do not require the Labor Certificate process either.  EB-1 (a) is a highly restrictive visa classification, intended for aliens already at the top of their respective fields.  To make an approvable case in this category, Mr. Yan needs to have sustained national or international acclaim at the very top level.  Compared to EB-1 (a), EB-2 (b) may be easier to provide evidence showing the qualification.  Mr. Yan will need to collect recommendation letters from experts in his field.  He will also need to provide evidence showing that his research is well related to the national interest of the US.  The disadvantage of EB-2 (NIW) is that it is of second preference, which means that Mr. Yan may not be eligible to file his I-485 unless the quota is immediately available for him.

Mr. Yan may need to talk to his employer and prepare some initial evidence.  It is highly recommended that he has further consultation with experienced attorneys in order to choose a best option for his green card application.

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.