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EB-1A Extraordinary Ability

Understanding EB-1A Extraordinary Ability Green Card Petitions

EB-1A extraordinary ability green card petitions are reserved for those who have risen to the very top of their field of endeavor. The individual must show extraordinary ability and have sustained national or international acclaim in the arts, sciences, business, education, or athletics. Because these extraordinary individuals are considered valuable, they get to file a green card without first filing a PERM labor certification with the Department of Labor. This can save an enormous amount of time and money. Another potential benefit is that the EB-1A can be filed as a self-petition, meaning that no offer of employment is per se required. The individual must, however, show that he or she will be working in an extraordinary ability capacity in the U.S. once the petition is approved.

What Does ‘Extraordinary Ability’ Mean?

The regulations require that an extraordinary ability EB-1A petition be submitted with evidence that the applicant has sustained national or international acclaim and that his or her achievements have been recognized. Unless the person has received a one-time major international award, he or she must meet at least three of the following 10 criteria listed in the regulations:

  • Documentation of the alien’s receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor
  • Documentation of the alien’s membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or field
  • Published material about the alien in professional or major trade publications or other major media, relating to the alien’s work in the field for which classification is sought. Such evidence shall include the title, date, and author of the material, and any necessary translation
  • Evidence of the alien’s participation, either individually or on a panel, as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field of specification for which classification is sought
  • Evidence of the alien’s original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field
  • Evidence of the alien’s authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  • Evidence of the display of the alien’s work in the field at artistic exhibitions or showcases
  • Evidence that the alien has performed in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation
  • Evidence that the alien has commanded a high salary or other significantly high remuneration for services, in relation to others in the field
  • Evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts, as shown by box office receipts or record, cassette, compact disk, or video sales. 16 8 CFR §204.5(h)(3)(i–x)

Although the criteria for O-1A nonimmigrant visa petitions are nearly identical to the EB-1A visa, in practice the EB-1A is generally considered a harder standard to meet than the O-1A  standard. Nonetheless, once an applicant has established the criteria for an O-1A the same general evidence can be used to prove EB-1A extraordinary ability.

What Is Filed With An EB-1A Extraordinary Ability Green Card Petition?

The EB-1A Extraordinary Ability petitions is submitted by filing form I-140, along with supporting evidence such as letters of support from experts in the field of endeavor, evidence of the applicant’s extraordinary work and other documentation. Most often the I-140 can be concurrently filed with the I-485 green card or Adjustment of Status application if the applicant is in the United States. When the I-485 is filed the applicant can also file an application for employment authorization.

We Can Help You Prove That Your Work Is Extraordinary

At Becker & Lee LLP, business and employment-based immigration is one of our primary focus areas. Our attorneys have advised a range of extraordinary ability individuals, including scientists, medical researchers, investors, entrepreneurs, artists and others.

Our EB-1 extraordinary ability lawyers offer comprehensive representation to help increase chances of success in the visa application process. Contact our San Francisco law firm to learn more about your options.