I came to the U.S. in 2007, over 15 years ago. I knew before I even came that I wanted to stay indefinitely. My wife was initially sponsored for a J-1 and then quickly switched to an O-1, with myself trailing in the shadows.
My wife was and still is a talented fashion designer. She spoke to HR and said if we were to remain in the U.S., they needed to sponsor her for a green card so that I could work. I had after all given up my job as an Attorney to move to the U.S.
They agreed to sponsor her and in less than 2 years we became permanent residents. It helped that I worked in the legal department of that company and sat next to the Immigration Attorney who was handling our case. Oh, and I am also from England! That makes a big difference. If I was born in India, I would probably still be waiting for a green card 15 years later.
Indian-born foreign nationals have the longest wait for a green card. There are typically only 140,000 employment-based visas available every fiscal year and each country has a 7% numerical limit, which means countries like India can only be awarded a small fraction of the 140,000 possible visas. Due to Consular closures caused by the pandemic, unused family- visas have spilled over into the employment-based visa category in the last few years, providing more available visas. However, despite this Indian Nationals still face massive backlogs.
According to the December 2022 visa bulletin the cut off date for EB-2 India is Oct 8, 2011, and for EB-3 India, June 15, 2012. These dates determine when an individual born in India can be issued a green card.
On paper, this looks like a 10-11 year wait. However, the wait for a green card will be significantly longer as the visa bulletin dates do not move forward in real time.
This brings me to the purpose of this article. Those familiar with the Visa Bulletin will note that the EB-1 category for India, remains current. This means someone that has an EB-1 approval would be eligible to receive a green card, either by filing I-485, to adjust status or attending a U.S. Consulate to obtain an immigrant visa. No backlog and no wait time other than the processing time itself.
There are three types of EB-1 filings. EB-1a requires extraordinary ability and most do not qualify unless they can demonstrate that they are in the top 1-2% of their field. EB-1b is reserved for outstanding professors and researchers and again very few will qualify.
However, EB-1c is for Multinational managers or executives and is potentially open to anyone working abroad as a manager that intends to come to the U.S. to continue in the same role.
EB-1c- Multinational manager or executive.
This category is a national progression for a manager who has entered the U.S. on an L-1A visa, although having L-1A approval is not necessarily a prerequisite. An applicant must have been employed outside the U.S. for at least 1 year in the 3 years preceding the petition or the most recent lawful nonimmigrant admission is already working for the U.S. petitioning employer. The U.S. Petitioner must have been doing business for at least 1 year, have a qualifying relationship with the foreign entity, and must intend to employ the applicant in a managerial or executive capacity.
If you are currently in the U.S. and are working for a company that has offices outside of the U.S. you should explore the possibility of working abroad as a manager for 1 year, returning to the U.S. and having your employer file an EB-1c. For an Indian-born foreign national this will expedite your green card process exponentially. If EB-1c dates remain current the I-140 and I-485 can be filed concurrently and USCIS also recently allowed EB-1C applicants to upgrade their I-140 petitions to premium processing.
Obtaining a green card through EB-1C is likely to take 2-3 years. Compare this to the wait time under EB-2 and EB-3 and it’s a no-brainer.
If you have questions regarding an EB-1C filing, please do not hesitate to contact PLG Partner Chris Prescott at firstname.lastname@example.org.