From Application to Citizenship: An Overview of the California EB-1 Visa Process

If you’re looking to come to the U.S. in order to continue performing in the top level of your chosen field, you may want to consider the EB-1 visa. This is a highly specialized form of visa, and since it will allow you to eventually seek permanent residency, it is highly competitive: only a few thousand are granted per year. 

Our California based attorney can give you a general description of what you can expect during the application process:

  1. Evidence. Before you begin the application process for the EB-1 visa, you should first determine whether you meet the qualifications. Under the EB-1 visa, you must be able to prove that you have extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, athletics, or business and have been recognized for your achievements nationally or internationally. Recognition may include awards and prizes, professional memberships, published works, significant contributions to your field, artistic exhibitions or showcases, distinguished positions in recognized organizations, evidence of salary requirements, or demonstration of your commercial successes.
  2. Application. You can petition for an EB-1A yourself, since there is no guarantee of employment requirement. You must file Form I-140 (Petition for Alien Worker) and pay the filing fee of $700. It is important that you complete the form accurately in order to avoid delays.
  3. Approval. If you are living outside the United States, you must wait for USCIS to review your petition and determine whether you adequately meet the visa requirements. This normally takes anywhere from three to nine months, unless you have opted for premium processing. If your application is approved, the USCIS will forward the approved petition to the State Department, who will then transfer your application to a U.S. consulate where you must attend an interview to ensure your eligibility for entry into the U.S. If your application is denied, you may appeal the decision, but it is advisable to speak with an immigration attorney before your appeal is made.
  4. Citizenship. Any immigrant who receives a green card through an EB-1A visa must usually wait five years before becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen. However, visa holders who are considering citizenship should seek the advice of a naturalization attorney to make sure they are eligible.
Vaughan de Kirby
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San Francisco California EB-5 Investment Immigration Attorney