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USCIS Releases I-140 Approval/Denial Statistics for EB-1 Cases from 2005 to 2010: Steadily Increasing Approval Rate for EB1-A and High Approval Rate for EB1-B

by WeGreened 04/05/2011

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released statistics on approval and denial rates for employment-based Form I-140 petitions involving EB1-A Aliens of Extraordinary Ability and EB1-B Outstanding Professors/Researchers on 02/28/2011. EB1-A Alien of Extraordinary ability and EB1-B Outstanding Professors or Researchers are two of the subgroups of first preference employment-based immigrant visa, they are also called “priority workers.“ No labor certification is required for this preference group and all visas are current, which make this preference group the most attractive classification for potential immigrants.

According to the released statistics, I-140s filed for EB1-A Alien of Extraordinary Ability has a stable increase in approval rates between 2007 and 2010. The approval rate during these years increased from 49% to 62%. In 2010, 5,188 cases were filed under this classification and 3,200 got approved (62 % approval rate). This is substantial increase in both the number of cases filed and approval rate. In 2007, only 1,438 cases were filed with 791 being approved (55% approval rate). The steadily increasing rate may be caused by more qualified alien beneficiaries or/and a more consistent adjudication by the USCIS officers.

As for EB1-B Exceptional Professors and Researchers, approval rate has always been high, from 90% (2007) to 95% (2006). But USCIS statistics evidence a slight decrease in approval rates for these petitions over the past five years. In 2005 and 2006, the approval rate was 94% and 95%, respectively, whereas in 2010, USCIS reports an approval rate of 91%. In 2010, 3,446 cases were filed and 3,140 cases were approved (91% approval rate). The number of cases filed has not fluctuated much with 2005 the most (5,382 cases) and 2008 the fewest (2,320 cases).

The markedly higher approval rate of EB1-B than EB1-A partially because of the respected status of U.S. universities and research institutes. Aliens pursing classification of EB1-B need to have a university or research institute as petitioning sponsor while EB1-A seekers can do self-petition. Other than that, the two subcategories of EB-1 classification have different standards. The classification for Alien of Extraordinary Ability has much higher threshold to pass, which leads to a higher bar for applicants.

The category for extraordinary priority worker benefits foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. Such persons are not required to have a prospective employer, but they must be entering to continue to work in their chosen field, and they must substantially benefit prospectively in the U.S. The petitioner has to show that the foreign person sustained national or international acclaim with recognized achievements. To win an extraordinary ability case usually requires extensive documentation.

An EB-1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher, however, is recognized internationally as outstanding in a specific academic field. The alien beneficiary must have at least three years of experience in teaching or research in the academic field and must be offered a tenured or tenure-track teaching or research position at a university or a comparable research position. Compared to the classification of EB1-A, the standards of achievements for EB1-B are lower.

Table A provides data on the approval and denial for the E-11 classification (Alien of Extraordinary Ability) of the Form I-140.

Table A: I-140 E-11 Approval/Denail for EB1-A Alien of Extraordinary Ability by Fiscal Year2005 to 2010

Fiscal Year Approvals Denials Approval Rate Denial Rate
2005 791 647 55% 45%
2006 1,646 1,032 61% 39%
2007 2,236 2,313 49% 51%
2008 2,329 2,667 47% 53%
2009 4,337 3,053 59% 41%
2010 3,200 1,998 62% 38%

Table B provides data on the approval and denial for the E-12 classification (Outstanding Professor or Researcher) of the Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers.

Table B: I-140 E-11 Approval/Denail for EB1-B Outstanding Professor or Researcher by Fiscal Year2005 to 2010

Fiscal Year Approvals Denials Approval Rate Denial Rate
2005 5,042 340 94% 6%
2006 2,991 146 95% 5%
2007 2,459 283 90% 10%
2008 2,148 172 93% 7%
2009 3,893 300 93% 7%
2010 3,140 306 91% 9%

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