A professor or researcher who is internationally recognized as outstanding in a specific academic area may obtain this classification and avoid labor certification.
The outstanding researcher and professor category is a first preference employment-based immigrant visa category.
1. An offer of employment for a tenured or tenure-track position or a comparable “permanent” research position.
The USCIS defines a “permanent” position as one that is “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.”
Visiting and employee-in-training appointments and Research Fellows are not considered permanent. However, no proof of indefinite grant funding is required; the department’s commitment to the position and the individual for an indefinite period is sufficient.
A research position may be tenured, tenure track or a permanent offer, that is, an offer of in definite or unlimited duration in which the researcher will have an expectation of continued permanent employment unless there is good cause for termination.
In recognition that modern business practices often have year-to-year “at will” contracts, USCIS does not require the contract to have a “good cause” provision, and will accept other evidence of permanency from the employer that demonstrates “the intent to continue to seek funding and a reasonable expectation that funding will continue (such as demonstrated prior renewals for extended long-term research projects).”
If the position is tenured or tenure track there is no requirement to demonstrate permanency.
Private Employers: If the employer is a private employer, it must employ at least 3 full time researchers and provide evidence that the department, division or institution has achieved documented accomplishments in an academic field.
Government Agencies-Government agencies at the federal, state or local level will not fit the definition of private employers and would therefore only qualify as petitioners under EB 1(2) if it is “shown to be a U.S. university or an institution of higher learning.
2. The applicant must possess 3 years of experience in teaching or research in the academic area.
Experience in teaching or research while working on advanced degree may be counted if degree is acquired, person had full responsibility for the class taught, or the research has been recognized as outstanding in the academic field.
3. National and international recognition as being “outstanding” in the academic field.
The employee must meet at least two of following six criteria. Specific documentary requirements of these criteria to establish international recognition are included below.
Evidence of receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement in the academic field.
Submit photocopies of prizes or awards. Include an explanation of the reputation or the organization granting the award, the significance of the award, and the criteria used to select the recipient.
Evidence of membership in associations in the academic field which require outstanding achievements of their members.
Submit photocopies of membership certificates, letters of nomination, or letters from associations that require outstanding achievement for membership. Include a description of the association’s mission and the requirements which must be met for membership, such as by-laws of the organization or a letter of explanation.
Evidence of published material in professional publications written by others about the scholar’s work in the academic field.
An explanation of how the work is significant to the field is essential. According to the USCIS Nebraska Service Center, “an unevaluated listing in a subject matter index or footnote, or a reference to the work without evaluation is insufficient.” They require published material in international professional journals written by others (not past or present colleagues) about the applicant, which specifically name the applicant. Submit photocopies of cover pages of publications and pages where the employee’s name appears, including footnotes, with title and date of publication. Please highlight the employee’s name on all pages where it appears.
Evidence of participation, either individually or on a panel, as the judge of the work of others in the same or an allied academic field.
Submit photocopies of lists of editors, letters requesting review of publications, thank you letters, evidence of supervision of Ph.D. students, etc. Please highlight employee’s name where it appears. Explain the criteria for selection as a panelist, reviewer, etc., such as widespread recognition or outstanding achievements in the field.
Evidence of original scientific or scholarly research contributions to the academic field.
Submit a complete list of professional presentations, patents, etc. Include date, place, lists of speakers, criteria for selection, photocopies of invitations, conference papers, etc. Please highlight the foreign scholar’s name where it appears. Include evidence of the importance of such contributions, as well as the significance of the particular conference or event, to the field. According to USCIS Nebraska Service Center, “evidence that those outside the scholar’s circle of colleagues and acquaintances consider the work important is especially valuable.”
Evidence of authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the academic field.
Submit a complete list of publications. Submit photocopies of title page and/or first page of publication showing title of article/book, title of journal, date, volume, and authorship. If publications in item 6 also fit into item 5, you may include an explanation to that effect as well. Please highlight the employee’s name where it appears as author. It is important to explain the significance to the field of the publications in which they appeared, its circulation, and process for selection of articles.
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