Our experience with EB-1 and NIW petitions
A very significant part of our practice is focused on representing individuals seeking to qualify for permanent residence (“green card”) through the Extraordinary, Exceptional, Outstanding, or National Interest categories. Our success rate is such that over 25 universities, hospitals and research institutions, as well as other immigration attorneys, refer individuals to our firm to prepare these petitions.
Suzanne B. Seltzer led the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) advocacy to USCIS for clear and consistent standards in EB-1 adjudications. In fact, Suzanne drafted AILA’s comment to USCIS on its EB-1 policy memorandum and RFE template, and has discussed EB-1s directly with USCIS senior officials.
Suzanne has lectured extensively and written numerous articles on EB-1 and EB-2 petitions, and has successfully represented (at least) hundreds of individuals over the last seventeen years. In fact, our success rate is upwards of 95%. Suzanne is supported by a team dedicated exclusively to the preparation of EB-1 and NIW petitions.
How we assist with the petition
We work closely with you to prepare a petition that clearly reflects how your achievements meet the EB-1 and/or EB-2 regulatory standards. In addition to working with you, we assist your referees in framing your achievements in terms a lay person can understand. Our success with these petitions is based in large part on the time we spend understanding the nature and significance of your achievements, and translating very technical concepts into terms that the immigration adjudicators can understand and appreciate. These detailed explanations, coupled with corroborating documentation, provide a picture of your accomplishments that facilitates the immigration examiner’s understanding of just how extraordinary you are.
It’s a Team Effort
Although I am responsible for your case and am available to you as needed, we work on all cases as a team. In addition to myself, you should expect to be communicating with at least one other professional, a technical writer, in my office. The technical writer will have primary responsibility for helping to frame your achievements in terms that the immigration officer can understand.
Your Role & Responsibilities
You will need to provide a detailed written input statement describing your field, your accomplishments, the importance of your work, and other requested information. As best you can, this information should be written in terms that a lay person could understand. It is not a problem to use technical terms and concepts, as long as you explain the meaning behind those terms and concepts. We will work with what you provide to draft detailed letters, but you will need to carefully edit and review this information. This is therefore very much a collaborative effort between yourself and our team. For example, you will be asked to respond to our requests for more information about your work or questions we may have regarding your input statement. You will also be expected to identify appropriate referees, and to coordinate the sending and receiving of reference letters directly with your referees.
Guidance for the requested input statement
We provide a detailed Input Questionnaire with specific questions to answer and information to provide in written form. The Input Questionnaire also outlines documentation that you will need to send. When you are ready to proceed, we will have an input call to review the information and documentation requested in the questionnaire, and guide you specifically on what is needed for your individual situation. This call will be about an hour, during which we will review in-depth the information needed and provide an idea of the level of detail and technicality required.
Timeframe for preparing the case
Our work generally takes about two months from the time you provide us the requested information to get started with our work. We estimate approximately another two months for you to review and edit the reference letters, for us to make the requested changes, for you to forward the reference letters to the referees, for the referees to review and sign the reference letters and get them back to us, and for us to prepare the final transmittal letter to USCIS.
Government processing time
Government processing times vary, and the most current processing times are posted at www.uscis.gov. Presently, the average government processing time for EB-1 cases is about 4 to 8 months. The average government processing time for NIW cases is also about 4 to 8 months. The average processing time for the application for permanent residence is 6 to 8 months, but it will only be processed once the EB-1 or NIW is approved, and the priority date is current. The average processing time for the applications for employment authorization and travel document, after the filing of the application for permanent residence, is ninety days.
Keep in mind that government processing times are subject to change. The most up to date information can be found here.
Is it possible to file multiple petitions?
Yes, and we often recommend filing multiple petitions. We do not charge additional for filing both an EB-1 and an NIW application at the same time.
Concurrent filing of the I-140 petition with the I-485, the application to register for permanent residence
If you are not subject to a quota backlog, you have the option of filing concurrently. Information on concurrent filing can be found here.
Legal fees and services
We will provide you a fixed legal fee after we have had the opportunity to evaluate your case. The legal fee is broken down based on the stages of preparation and filing, and a breakdown will also be provided to you during your consultation. Please ask any questions you may have about the quoted legal fee and what it includes.
The legal fee includes all of the legal services specified above, as well as our preparation of a detailed transmittal letter to USCIS explaining how and why you qualify for EB-1 or NIW, advice regarding premium processing and concurrent filing, preparation of all government forms, preparation of applications for permanent residence, preparation of applications for employment authorization, preparation of applications for travel documents, prompt response to all telephonic and email inquiries, and follow up with USCIS if there are processing delays. In addition, we do not bill separately for miscellaneous costs and expenses, including photocopies and FedEx. Rather, we add 6% to each legal fee payment to cover the expenses.
Government filing fees
The I-140 government filing is $700. If you file more than one I-140, you will need to pay the $700 with each petition. The filing fee for the I-485, including employment authorization and travel document applications, is $1225. If you are including spouse or children fourteen years of age or older, they will also need to pay the $1225. For children under 14, the filing fee is $750. Government filing fees are separate from legal fees.
If you are applying in the EB-1A or EB-1B categories, you may also have the option to “premium process” your application. Premium processing is a service provided by USCIS to adjudicate your petition within two weeks. The filing fee for this service is $1225, in addition to the $700 for the underlying petition.
How do I get started?
Once you are ready to proceed, we would need the retainer payment to get started. Once received, we would schedule the “input” meeting during which time we would review all the information and documentation that will be needed to prepare the petition. This meeting can either be in person or over the phone.