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People of Extraordinary Ability (EB-1A)

by Hamid R. Kashani, Attorney at Law
Nov 07, 2018 (last modified Nov 30, 2018)

What is the EB-1A immigrant visa category?

Employment-Based immigrant visas are divided into five (5) preference classes.  EB-1A is a subcategory of the first preference.  It is reserved for individuals of extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.

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Do I qualify for EB-1A immigrant visa category?

You may apply for this visa, if you possess an extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. You must have achieved national or international acclaim, must be at the very top of your field, and must plan to come to the United States to continue working in that field.

This immigrant visa is available where

  • the applicant has an extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation,
  • the applicant seeks to enter the United States to continue working in the area of extraordinary ability, and
  • the applicant's entry into the United States will substantially benefit the United States.

If you qualify as possessing an extraordinary ability, you would not need to go through labor certification process at the U.S. Department of Labor.  In addition, you can directly self-petition, i.e., you would not need the employer to file a petition on your behalf. You still need to have a job offer in order to show that you are coming here to continue working in the same field of expertise.

EB-1A visas are usually immediately available for citizens of most countries and there is no waiting time, except for processing time, to acquire this visa. You may check the visa availability of a particular visa category for your country of origin. See Priority Date & Visa Availability.

What evidence do I need to show for EB-1A classification?

You must show having received a major internationally recognized award, such as Noble, Olympic Medal, Oscar, or Pulitzer, Noble.

Alternatively, you may present evidence for at least three (3) of the following ten (10) types of achievement:

  • Receipt of any lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor
  • Membership in associations that require outstanding achievements of their members as judged by recognized national or international experts
  • Published materials in professional or major trade publications or major media about the applicant which relates to the applicant's work in the field
  • Participation, either as a panel member or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in an allied field of specialization
  • Original scientific, scholarly or business contributions that are of major significance
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media
  • Displaying at artistic exhibitions or showcases
  • Playing a leading or critical role for an organization with a distinguished reputation
  • Commanding a high salary or other remuneration for you services, when compared to others in the field
  • Enjoyment of commercial successes in performing arts

If you succeed in showing sufficient evidence in at least three (3) of foregoing categories, then the USCIS will examine the totally of the evidence submitted, to determine whether you have achieved sustained national or international acclaim and are one of that small percentage of individuals who have risen to the very top of their field of endeavor.

Finally, you must show that you are coming to the United States to continue working in your area of extraordinary ability.

How can I file a petition for EB-1A classification?

To apply for EB-1A classification, you may directly file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140) together with extensive, supporting evidence, which can be rather complicated.

To see the current USCIS fee for your petition, see USCIS Fee Schedule.

To see how long the USCIS would take to adjudicate your petition, see USCIS Processing Times.

Premium processing is available for this kind of petition, meaning that you may be able to obtain a decision in 15 calendar days.

What happens after the EB-1A classification petition is approved?

If you are in the United States and qualify, you may apply for Adjustment of Status.  If you qualify to file for adjustment of status and a visa is immediately available to you, you should file an Application for Adjustment of Status together with the petition.

If you are outside of the United States or do not qualify to file for adjustment of status, you must go through Consular Processing, to actually receive an immigrant visa.

 

Adjustment of Status

Consular Processing

Applying for Citizenship

 

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