Disclaimer: Please note that I am not a legal professional. The information shared below is from personal experience, and it’s crucial to consult with an immigration lawyer regarding your situation. None of this constitutes any form of legal advice.
Every year, the United States welcomes almost a hundred thousand professionals on work visas from various fields. Engineers, lawyers, doctors, finance professionals, designers: These individuals bolster the US economy and add value, diversity of expertise to the workforce.
Theoretically, a work visa should be a relatively seamless first step towards making the United States a home via permanent residency. However, a majority face a long wait. Due to the country of origin distribution of green cards, folks from certain nationalities face almost a decades-long wait backlog.
This leads to stressful situations for a large proportion of immigrants. They’re unable to freely transfer among jobs due to the hassle of visa transfers. and faced with difficulties with international travel due to unavailability of visa appointments at times. Additionally there are varying amounts of anxiety and uncertainty about their future in the United States.
The helplessness and injustices of the situation hits them since this is outside their control, since this is based on the country of birth.
There do exist relatively faster track option such as the EB-5 based investment visa. However, this requires an investment of almost a million dollars. Not a very popular option for most immigrants. (There have also been some processing delays based on the country of birth)
However, there is something which one can control. This is a less-traveled path to a green card, one that is relatively non-backlogged and almost instantaneous: the EB-1A/B Extraordinary Ability green card. The EB-1C route also exists but involves specific conditions related to international work experience.
A major advantage of this is that not only does it help you secure your permanent residency faster but the effort involved also helps you bolster your portfolio.
Figure: Data taken form the USCIS Visa Bulletin for June 2023. The dates represents when an applicant files the application whose Green card is ready to be approved. We see that for most skilled immigrants who apply from India and China via the EB-2 and EB-3 category, it’s a long long wait. However for the 1st Employment based category, we see a much shorter backlog of almost a year.
The name itself does sound daunting. It felt the same way for me and other colleagues, once we studies the requirements, time and cost required for this. However, as I break this down in part-2, it’s not quite achievable with some effort.
Edit: I’ll be sharing Part-2 soon after the holiday break. I’m also happy to answer questions with my experience, feel free to reach out here.