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Extraordinary ability: Securing an EB-1A green card

On Behalf of | Sep 24, 2021 | Employment-based Immigration

U.S. employers are often seeking the most highly qualified employees, and these employees often reside in countries outside the U.S. In these situations, the employer must work through the immigration process to bring their desired candidate to work in the U.S.

Aliens of extraordinary ability are eligible for first-preference of employment-based visas. This category is unique because the individual does not need to have a prospective employer and can file individually. Read on to learn more about the qualifications required to qualify for this type of green card.

What is extraordinary ability?

Aliens of extraordinary ability qualify for an EB-1A green card. As the name implies, these employees must exhibit special skills that are in demand in certain sectors. The individual must demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics based on sustained national or international acclaim.

What criteria are used to establish extraordinary ability?

To establish qualification for an EB-1A green card, the applicant must have either (a) earned a one-time significant achievement, such as a major, internationally-recognized award; or (b) satisfy three of the following criteria:

  • Receipt of a lesser nationally or internationally recognized prize or award
  • Membership in an association in the field which required outstanding achievement
  • Recognition in published professional or trade publications or other notable media
  • Asked to judge the work of others
  • Production of original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic or business-related contributions of major significance in your field
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in major publications
  • Display of your work at artistic exhibitions or showcases
  • Performance of a lead or critical role in a distinguished organization
  • Receiving a high salary or significant high remuneration in comparison to others in the field
  • Commercial success in the performing arts

Evidence will be required to demonstrate that you satisfy at least three of the above criteria. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will review the evidence and determine if you qualify for the extraordinary worker classification.

How do I secure an EB-1A green card?

Most employment-based green card categories require you to have a job offer from a U.S. employer. The employer must secure PERM Labor Certification which can slow down the issuance of a green card. The EB-1A category is different because the individual can self-petition which significantly speeds up the processing time for a green card.

If you are considering applying for an EB-1A green card, it is important to work with legal counsel experienced in the application process. Your attorney will work with you to assess the strength of your application, gather supporting evidence and prepare the required paperwork.