• 22 January 2020

When Do I Get My Green Card Once My EB-1A Visa Has Been Approved?

The EB-1A Extraordinary Ability Visa has been called “the most prestigious” employment-based immigration program. All the publicity that the EB-5 Investment Visa program has received over the past several years might lead some readers to believe that the EB-5 holds that commendation. It does not.

“Number One” Visa

The priority of a U.S. visa program among those of its classification group (e.g., employment-based) is designated by the numerical portion of the visa title. The EB-1 Visa is the “number one” or the highest priority among the EB Visas. Although the EB-5 has been extremely popular and enjoyed much publicity, it ranks, nonetheless, fifth in priority.

The priority of the EB-1A Visa is based on the exclusivity of the accomplishments of the applicants allowed to petition for immigration via that visa. EB-1A Visas are reserved for people who have demonstrated “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim” or have accomplished a significant, singular achievement such as having won a Pulitzer Prize of an Olympic medal.

Much has been written relative to the application process. However, we often receive inquiries from individuals who are confused about when they receive their actual Green Card once their petition has been approved. We understand that the various immigration options and processes can be confusing, so we are delighted to tell you that the wait for the Green Card should probably be the least of your concerns.

How to Apply for the Green Card

There are two ways to apply for the Green Card after the approval of your EB-1A Visa:

1. If you are already legally residing in the U.S. on a non-resident visa, you submit an I-140 and an I-485 simultaneously to adjust your status to remain in the country permanently under the EB-1A program. You will be allowed to stay in the U.S. while your petition is being processed (with certain restrictions). Your Green Card will arrive in the mail along with the change of status approval.
2. Applying from outside the U.S. requires a consular visit to submit your visa petition. Here is an interesting point for those taking the Consular Processing Route. Although the EB-1A Visa is in the employment-based category, no labor certification or job offer are required. However, you must be able to prove that you qualify for this highest priority. After a one-on-one interview with a consular officer and your application has been approved, the officer will give you a sealed “Visa Packet.”


Present the Visa Packet unopened to the Customs and Border Protection officer. As soon as the officer allows you to enter the United States, you will be a lawful permanent resident. Your Green Card should arrive in the mail at your U.S. address within 45 days or less.

U.S. immigration rules, forms, and processes can be perplexing. Sometimes they are downright intimidating. We understand. We have helped a significant number of EB-1A applicants navigate through the experience successfully.

In most cases, the greatest disappointments that immigration applicants face is their failure to obtain the expert services of highly experienced Immigration Attorneys. On the other hand, we love the testimonies of those who avoided pitfalls and mistakes because we were there to help.