Green Card Application Process for Outstanding Researchers and Professors

To get permanent residency as an Outstanding Researcher/ Professor, the US employer has to file Form I-140, Petition for Immigrant Worker,with the USCIS on behalf of the foreign national. In this petition, the employer has to prove that the foreign national is an Outstanding Researcher/Professor. The US employer has to submit adequate substantial supporting documentation detailing the achievements of the foreign national along with this petition.

The subsequent process depends on whether the foreign national is residing in the US or living abroad. Whether the foreign national is in the US or abroad, in both cases, the employer must file Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, with the appropriate USCIS Service Center.

Beneficiary Outside of the United States

Once Form I-140 is approved by USCIS, it will be forwarded to the National Visa Center, which is the authority that processes all immigrant visas for applicants living abroad. The National Visa Center will send an immigrant visa packet to the beneficiary that will have detailed instructions on applying for an immigrant visa at a US consulate abroad.

The beneficiary and any accompanying family members will have to finish the required medical examinations and police clearances as described in the immigrant visa packet. In addition, they should also attend an interview at the US consulate.

At the interview, after reviewing the evidence provided in support of the petition originally filed with USCIS, the consular officer will decide if the beneficiary is eligible to receive an immigrant visa. So it is important to provide adequate evidence when filing the initial petition. The consular officer will then determine whether the beneficiary is admissible to the US.

If the officer approves the application, the beneficiary will receive an immigrant visa. Each accompanying family member will also receive an immigrant visa. Procedures for issuing immigrant visas vary from consulate to consulate. Once approved, the immigrant visa will be valid for six months. The beneficiary has to enter the US within that period. The visa will only be good for a single entry. When the beneficiary enters the US, an immigration officer will stamp their passport. The stamp in the passport is valid for one year and can be used as proof of their status as a permanent resident. The beneficiary will eventually get a green card in the mail at his/her US address.

Beneficiary in the U.S.

If the foreign national is already in the US in another legal status, he/she has to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Note that this application is filed by the the foreign national, not by the employer. When this application is approved, the foreign national will be a lawful permanent resident of the US. The foreign national can file Form I-485 at the same time as Form I-140 or after Form I-140 has been approved.

Within a few weeks after mailing in the application, the beneficiary will receive a receipt notice from USCIS, issued on Form I-797. It will contain a receipt number that the beneficiary can use to track the status of the application. The foreign national can remain in the US while the adjustment of status application is pending.

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