How-To Guide for EB2 to EB1 Porting

Updated on April 4, 2024

At a Glance

  • Green card porting involves switching from an EB-2 to an EB-1 green card while maintaining the initial priority date.
  • EB visas are employment-based immigrant visas, with EB-1 being prestigious and EB-2 requiring advanced degrees or exceptional abilities.
  • Porting from EB-2 to EB-1 requires eligibility and a job that meets EB-1 qualifications.
  • The 180-day portability rule allows applicants to retain their application’s validity even if they change or lose their job after filing.

Many people have to wait to receive an EB-2 green card. But as excited as they are for their new card, it can take a few years until they finally receive their document. As a result, many consider EB2 to EB1 porting, as EB-1 waiting times are not as long as the ones for EB2. What is this porting, though, and how does the process unfold? Read on to find out more.

What Is Green Card Porting?

Green card porting means switching from an EB-2 green card to an EB-1, basically filing for a new green card from scratch. With green card porting, you can get a new green card while maintaining the initial priority date from the other card.

EB Visa

An EB visa, aka employment-based immigrant visa, is a type of visa that allows you to immigrate to the U.S. as a foreign worker, and for a permanent period too. These visas also allow you to apply for permanent residency in the country. However, there are different types of EB visas, and two of them are the EB-1 visa and the EB-2 visa.

EB1 Visa

EB-1 green cards are pretty much the best employment-based visas you can get. They are very prestigious and give you a lot of benefits, with one of them being the fact that you don’t have to wait for priority dates. Moreover, no PERM Labor Certification is needed from you.

EB1 visas also split into multiple types, each of them with its own requirements. For instance, with an EB-1A, there is no PERM Labor Certification needed, nor a job offer. Meanwhile, with EB-1B and EB-1C visas, you will not require a PERM either, but you will need a job offer. With the latter, you will also not have the premium processing service, which can be a little frustrating.

Each category of EB-1 visa has its own requirements, and they are all different from each other, being suitable for various types of people. For example, an EB-1A visa is for foreign nationals that have extraordinary achievements in fields such as business, athletics, science, art, or education. The achievements can be either the Nobel Prize or three forms such as:

  • Getting the recognition of the media or journal publications
  • Awards in the field that are either nationally or internationally recognized
  • Significant contributions that you made to your particular field
  • Having your own work published in professional journals or scholarly articles
  • Being part of any organization that only allows entry if you’ve had extraordinary achievements in your specific field
  • Having a large salary that makes you easily distinguishable in your field
  • Having an exhibition displaying your work
  • Having an important role in an organization or association with a good reputation in your field

EB-1B visas are for either outstanding professors or researchers. You will need international recognition in the particular academic field in order to qualify. Or you must have been offered some research position or tenure without a fixed term. Another requirement would be having at least three years of experience in researching or teaching in the specific field you’ve chosen.

Lastly, EB-1C visas are meant for managers and executives. If you want to qualify as an executive, then you must be able to make plans and goals, as well as control the organization’s managers. You should be able to make some good decisions under no supervision as well. For manager qualification, you will have to be able to control tasks and activities every day, and have what it takes to manage components or functions of the organization. Supervising the subordinates’ work is necessary too, as well as being able to hire and fire people.

There are other requirements too, for employers, such as having been doing business in the U.S. at least a year before you filed the petition or working for a multinational organization that has a subsidiary, branch, or affiliate in another country. Before filing the petition, you should have worked outside the U.S. 3 years preceding your petition for at least a year.

EB2 Visa

EB2 visas are different from EB1 ones and they are meant for either foreign nationals with an advanced degree in their specific field or foreign nationals with amazing abilities in that field. If you’re part of the second category, you will have to submit evidence of it, such as:

  • Proof of 10 years of experience
  • A specialized degree related to the field
  • Membership in associations of the field
  • Certifications or licenses related to your work
  • Awards
  • Peers recognition
  • Substantial salary command

You need a job offer from a U.S. employer if you don’t have an NIW.

What’s the Difference?

The difference between the two is the processing time, as the EB1 is much faster than the EB2 visa. Another difference is the type of workers that can work under these visas. Different categories of workers can obtain them. Also, while the EB-2 is a single category, EB-1 has three categories, suitable for different workers and with different requirements for each.

How to Port EB2 Visa to an EB1 Visa?

If you want to port from your EB-2 to an EB-1 visa, you need to be eligible. This means you must have the qualifications for an EB-1 category, and get a job that fits these qualifications.

For instance, let’s say you applied for an EB-2 green card and your I-140 got approved. You got it for a multinational company, but depending on where you come from, it might take years until you can have a current priority date. In the meantime, you keep receiving some positions as a manager within the same company after receiving promotions.

As such, you will be able to apply for EB-2 to EB-1 porting. You need to qualify for the USCIS, though, in which case it’s essential to work with an immigration attorney who will help you collect proof of your qualifications.

Your employer can also file another I-140, but under the EB-1 category instead, and this will help you keep the priority date from the initial petition. When USCIS approves this petition, then you will have a visa number available.

180-Day Portability Rule

In some cases, you might lose your job after you submitted your EB application, or you decided to change it. Luckily, you can have the application retained even if you’re not working for the same employer who sponsored the petition.

There’s a thing known as the 180-day portability rule. It became effective back in 2000 and is part of the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act. Basically, it refers to the problems that you may encounter after you filed your I-140 form. Moreover, it talks about the way all applicants have to wait for their status adjustment. According to the rule, the I-140 petition will maintain its validity, even in case you lose your job or change it.

Of course, for this to happen, you need to meet some requirements. For instance, your new job needs to meet the same occupational classification stated in the initial petition that had the I-140 approved. In addition, the I-485 must have been filed and pending for 180 or more with USCIS.

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If you want to port from an EB-2 green card to an EB-1, it’s important to know how the process goes, and see the differences between the visas. We hope this post was able to help.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What Is EB2 to EB1 Porting?

EB2 to EB1 porting is a process that allows individuals who initially applied for an employment-based immigrant visa (green card) under the EB2 category to later upgrade their application to the EB1 category if they meet the eligibility criteria for EB1.

2. What Are the Eligibility Criteria for EB2 to EB1 Porting?

To be eligible for EB2 to EB1 porting, an applicant typically needs to demonstrate extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, or multinational executive or managerial capacity, depending on the specific EB1 subcategory they are applying under.

3. Can I Port My Priority Date from EB2 to EB1?

Yes, in most cases, you can retain your existing priority date from your EB2 application when porting to EB1. This can potentially result in a faster processing time for your green card application.

4. What Documents and Evidence Are Required for EB2 to EB1 Porting?

The specific documents and evidence required for EB2 to EB1 porting will depend on the subcategory of EB1 you are applying under. Generally, you will need to provide substantial documentation to prove your eligibility, such as awards, recognition, publications, and employment history.

5. Can I Work for a Different Employer After Porting from EB2 to EB1?

Yes, you can typically change employers after porting your green card application from EB2 to EB1. However, you should consult with an immigration attorney to ensure that the change of employer does not negatively impact your green card application.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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