As many of you are aware in July 2023 the August Visa Bulletin revealed a new decade backlog for the EB-1A visa category for Indian Nationals. For Non-Indians the visa category has moved to August 1, 2023. Therefore for anyone not from India you are currently eligible to file your EB-1A I-140 and your I-485 for a concurrent green card filing if you have a priority date from 8/1/2023 and earlier. For Indians this news was disheartening but may not be the death sentence many believe it is for hope of a green card via the EB-1A category for themselves and their families. For August and September here is what you should know and can do in preparation for the October 2023 visa bulletin:
I Was Already in the Works to File My Application…Is it Worth it Now?
Many were in the process of gathering evidence to file their EB-1A applications and likely missed this July rush. While most will not be current for the months of August and September, there is substantial likelihood of dates shifting in October 2023. While it likely will not return to current any time soon for all applicants with priority dates of 2018 and earlier there is a very good chance you will be current in October. What does this mean? IT means August and September are going to be key and crucial preparation months for you to get your I-140 filed and approved in anticipation of filing the green card once the dates shift in October. For anyone for whom this will be your first I-140 it is still worth it to apply for a few reasons:
- Can use this I-140 to extend H-1B to avoid the 6 year max-out
- Will have an approved I-140 independent of your employer which will allow job switching flexibility
- Much more likely to become current in EB-1A visa category than in EB-2 or EB-3 in the next 2 years
What Should I Be Doing Now Until October?
IF you are already in the preparation stages of your petition keep going! Even though the dates are not current for filing the Green Card you can still file your petition and have that approved I-140 ready to file with your Green Card application if the dates move in October. You can also choose to hold and file concurrently but it’s advisable to file now and premium to allow time to answer an RFE if you receive one.
If you have not yet started but are interested now is the time to begin! It takes most firms a few months to initiate and prepare. Here we usually finish and file in around a month to a month and a half when the client comes with all of their evidence gathered and ready. That gives you August and most of September to gather evidence, get letters signed, and get your case filed in preparation for October.
For those who feel they are close to being eligible but are not yet—now is the time to meet with an experienced immigration attorney to really discuss your case and get insight on what you can do between now and October to strengthen your case. Here are some examples of preparation work to be doing now to make filing in the next month to two months seamless:
- Begin drafting letters: While the attorney will make the letters polished and file-ready for your petition coming with the bare-bones details helps the attorney move faster on your case and gain better clarity on the depth and breadth of what companies and employers will be endorsing for you. It will also help the attorney guide specific evidence requirements to make evidenced gathering on your end much more efficient and targeted.
- Start gathering your project documents, work product samples, and presentations: EB-1A petitions have a high threshold for evidence. The more you can provide to supplement what is attested to in your letters of recommendation the lower the likelihood of an RFE on your case. Now is the time to start asking around and digging for those presentations you gave for big projects, for those reviews and comments you left while critiquing others work products, for the press releases and thank you emails honoring your work and talent on successful end-client projects. You will need these types of evidence to submit in your petitions.
- Publications!: For those who meet 2/3 criteria or who meet the 3 but there are some weak aspects to your case, getting some pieces published about you is a great way to bolster your petition. Most PR places can take a few weeks to a few months to get pieces about you published and circulating so, if it is advisable for your case, now would be the time to get this process started to ensure it is ready by the time of filing.
- Academic Reviews: Reviewing published works for journals counts as evidence of judging. Many are aware that in academia it can takes years to get published and garner citations that would pass USCIS’ muster. What is often much quicker is serving as a peer reviewer for reputable journals. Submitting evidence of several peer reviews counts as judging and, depending on how many and how well you work, reputable journals also tend to give awards for your review contributions which can also be used in your petition!
- Exhibition and Conference Evidence: being invited to attend conferences to speak on topics within your field help supplement the leading and critical role criteria, original contribution (depends on case-by-case basis), and evidence that you have sustained national or international acclaim in your field. Conferences are also great opportunities to be asked to serve as a judge. IF you have already attended now is the best time to start compiling the emails inviting you and thank you for your attendance and contributions, pictures from your time at the conference, samples of the presentation you gave, request blank rubrics if you served as a judge, and request an certificates of appreciation if you were awarded any.
The above information is helpful suggestions. Each case is different and underscores the need to seek guidance from experienced immigration attorneys. An attorney will give you the final evaluation of whether you qualify for the above and which of the above is worth your time and investment to help strengthen your petition. We will likely know by mid-September what October 2023 will bring for EB-1A applicants, especially for eager Indian Nationals, but for those seriously considering the application process the work begins now and not in October. These petitions take much time, effort, and careful consideration and waiting until the last minute to begin work is not advisable. If you have any doubt, questions, or concerns be sure to speak with an immigration attorney for clarity.
Reddy & Neumann has been serving the business community for over 20 years and is Houston’s largest immigration law firm focused solely on US. Employment-based immigration. We work with both employers and their employees, helping them navigate the immigration process quickly and cost-effectively.
By: Juanita Deaver is an Associate Attorney in the I-140 and AOS Department, where she assists clients in the middle and later stages of the green card process.
Juanita earned her J.D. from South Texas College of Law Houston in May 2021. As a law-student, Juanita interned at a non-profit organization where she discovered her passion for immigration while working on family-based cases helping file I-130 petitions and I-485 adjustments of status. During her time at South Texas, she further pursued her interest in the field of immigration law through enrollment in the school’s Immigration Clinics where she worked on TPS, T visas, and DACA cases. Her experience working with families and clients in emergency situations has provided Juanita the tools and experience to provide clear and concise explanations to the seemingly daunting immigration process.
Juanita joined Reddy & Neumann as a law clerk in December 2019. While clerking, she gained valuable experience by working closely under attorneys from each of the firm’s departments on drafting successful requests for evidence, appeals, motions to re-open, and through legal research on immigration matters. Juanita understands that every case is unique and hopes to provide each client with a better understanding of the ever-changing immigration process.