I am an assistant professor at a major university in the U.S. My academic credentials are strong but not quite ready for EB-1. The current waiting time for EB-1 visa for my country is not long. I am applying for EB-5. After I receive a conditional green card through EB-5, would I be able to file an EB-1 petition (my academic credentials are expected to be stronger by then) and adjust my status through EB-1 to receive a permanent green card, rather than waiting for conditions to be removed through EB-5?
It is my understanding that you can apply for an EB-1 if you have an approved EB-5 conditional green card. If the EB-1 is approved, they may ask you to abandon your EB-5 case. You might well qualify as an outstanding professor or researcher now. We have done hundreds of those cases. Why not just wait until you get a full green card? Five years after you got your conditional green card, you can apply for U.S. citizenship, even if your removal of conditions has not yet been approved. When they call you for a naturalization interview, they will approve the removal of conditions at the same time.
It is possible to file for the EB-1 permanent green card, assuming your case is very strong and approvable. You will be required to surrender your conditional green card and process for a permanent green card basis. It is also necessary to determine whether the EB-1 route is viable for you in light of the current visa retrogression for the EB-1 category, especially if you are a Chinese or Indian national. Discuss with an experienced immigration attorney.
Once your I-526 is approved and you have obtained the conditional permanent residency, it will be virtually difficult and possibly unjustifiable to start another immigrant visa application such as EB-1. Consult an immigration attorney to plan your strategies on the two visa options before you proceed any further.
Yes, an EB-5 conditional permanent resident can apply for an EB-1 green card, but before you can get the final green card, you do have to surrender the conditional green card. It is absolutely doable but a little tricky with timing. We have succeeded with this type of strategy, especially if the I-829 may be rejected.
Unless your EB-5 petition has problems (i.e., cannot demonstrate job creation, etc.), it would be simpler to file for the removal of conditional permanent residency than to start the green card processing over with EB-1 processing, since at that point you would have to first withdraw your permanent residency before filing for the EB-1 (I-140 petition) and adjustment of status.
You may apply for your EB-1 status at any time you believe you are eligible for same and have an argument. There is nothing wrong with pursuing two separate bases upon which you can acquire permanent residency. You are free to apply at any point. This way you have two options.
The conditional green card is still a green card. I find it unlikely that USCIS will allow you to submit a second immigrant petition after getting the first approved and adjusting your status. If you were still waiting for the I-526 to be approved, then yes, submit an I-140, but since you already have the green card, that is your green card.
You can have only one green card.
Yes, you can file an EB-1 application after receiving conditional permanent residency under the EB-5 program. You should file the EB-1 application before terminating your conditional residency under the EB-5 category to make sure that it is approved. Upon approval, you will then request to terminate your conditional permanent residency under the EB-5 category and then proceed with the adjustment of status process under the EB-1 category.
Once you become a conditional resident, you will not be able to obtain permanent residency in another category until you renounce your green card abroad at a consulate. The process is complicated and you must consult and confirm with an immigration attorney on the current process.
I recommend that you consult with an attorney to develop a strategy.
Please note that the Visa Bulletin for August 2018 shows that EB-1 category visa availability has maxed out and went back to May 1, 2016. If you are from India or China, the backlog is worse at January 2012. As different categories of the visas fill up, other categories will have more applicants, which again leads to that category being filled up as well. Thus, you may want to discuss the pros and cons of doing multiple routes of immigration with your lawyer, including whether the added legal fees and voluminous documentation that you will have to prepare are worth it.
Yes, you can always file a self petition as an EB-1. To get the visa, you will need to terminate your conditional resident status first.
A conditional green card holder can file an immigrant visa petition in the same or in a different green card category than the one used to achieve conditional green card status. If that petition is approved and the new priority date is current, the applicant can return to the U.S. consulate nearest her last place of foreign residence, surrender the conditional green card and be processed for an immigrant visa under the new category.
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