Green Cards for Professors and Researchers
The public policy of the United States is to be the unrivaled political, technological, and academic leader of the world. To meet that goal, Congress has made it relatively easy for the best and brightest minds in the world to come to the U.S. and contribute to the country’s academic and research endeavors.
The primary legal mechanism for helping top intellectual talent immigrate to the U.S. is the EB-1B green card category for outstanding researchers and professors.
To make the green card process go more easily, Congress has exempted outstanding researchers and professors from the labor certification process (which is designed to protect U.S. workers from foreign competition). This exemption is certainly logical, as it is in the United States’ best interest to host the world’s foremost minds at its universities and research institutions.
The green card process begins with the sponsoring academic or research institution filing a petition for the professor or researcher to come to the U.S. There are three main requirements the beneficiary of the petition must meet to qualify as an outstanding professor or researcher.
- Evidence that the professor or researcher is recognized internationally as outstanding in the academic field specified in the petition;
- Evidence that the applicant has at least three years of experience in teaching and/or research in the academic field. Notably, experience in teaching or research while working on an advanced degree will only be acceptable if the alien has acquired the degree, and if the teaching duties were such that he or she had full responsibility for the class taught or if the research conducted toward the degree has been recognized within the academic field as outstanding; and
- An offer of employment from a prospective United States employer.
It should be noted that offers of employment from universities and other institutes of higher education must be for tenured or tenure-track teaching positions, or permanent research positions. Additionally, subject to certain additional requirements, offers of employment from a department, division, or institute of a private employer offering the alien a permanent research position in the alien’s academic field will also qualify.