EB-1A Visa

EB-1A for Aliens of Extraordinary Ability

Definition:

These are people who are seeking permanent residency in USA and are extremely distinguished in their professional fields. EB-1A visa is an employment-based and first preference visa that is granted to extraordinary achievers who do not need to secure sponsorship from any employer. This visa does not require a job offer or a labor certification in order to be granted. However, it is employment-based in that it is sought by people wanting to continue working in their field of expertise in USA while residing there on a long-term or permanent basis.

Who Qualifies For EB-1A?

Foreign nationals living in USA or outside USA are eligible to apply for EB-1A visa as long as they meet two general qualifications as laid down by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services:

  • You are able to demonstrate “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim,” and
  • You have proof of your extraordinary ability, meaning you are able to support it with appropriate and chronological documentation.

Generally, a major international award such as an Oscar, Olympic medal or the Nobel Prize suffices.

What If You Don’t Have An International Award?

Winners of internationally acclaimed prizes such as Pulitzer, Booker, Oscar, Olympic Medal or the Nobel Prize are the most naturally eligible candidates for EB 1-A petitions. However, this does not mean that only internationally acclaimed individuals are eligible for EB-1A visa. It is possible to demonstrate extraordinary abilities without these honors. Without internationally acclaimed honors, an applicant will need to meet any three of the following ten criteria –

  • Evidence of published media content or material about the EB-1A applicant in professional or related industry publications or other leading media;
  • Evidence of participation by the applicant as a judge, either individually or on a panel, of others’ work;
  • Evidence of original artistic, scholarly, scientific, athletic, or business-related contributions of significance to the field/industry;
  • Evidence of achievements of excellence like prizes or awards recognizable nationally or internationally;
  • Evidence of elite memberships in industry associations/organizations in the field that require outstanding achievements of their members;
  • Evidence of scholarly articles in professional journals or leading trade publications or other major media published in the applicant’s name (as an expert contributor);
  • Evidence of displayed work at artistic exhibitions or showcases;
  • Commercial success in the performing arts or your field of arts as demonstrated by either box office receipts or cassette, compact disc, video, or DVD sales;
  • Evidence of having held important positions in distinguished organizations;
  • Evidence that the applicant has received a high salary or any other high remuneration relative to others in the same field.

A Vital Criterion You Cannot Not Miss

Apart from any of the above three criteria, an applicant needs to demonstrate that they intend to continue working in USA in the same field where they have shown their extraordinary ability. The purpose of the above is that they shall be an asset or a useful resource to the US while through their intention of continuing to work, they demonstrate that their contribution shall be significant for the nation.
 

What is The Biggest Benefit of EB-1A Visa?

Since you don’t need an employment certification, labor certification or job offer, the process of filing this visa becomes relatively faster. Another advantage is that you can self-petition and hence it becomes one of the fastest channels for acquiring a green card.
 

What is The Process of Applying EB-1A Visa?

You will need to fill Form I – 140 which is a petition for alien workers in the USA. You do not need a job offer or proof of employment in order to fill this form. However, you will need several documents to support your claims of extraordinary achievements.

 

EB 1-A Requirements and Eligibility in Details

Officers at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) evaluate petitions strictly based on the evidence presented with the form. Anyone only mechanically presenting evidence and without having outstanding achievements may not make it to the selection. This means, it’s vital to fully and deeply understanding the various requirements for acquiring an EB 1-A visa.

 

What Do The 10-Point Criteria Mean?

  1. Published media content or material about the EB-1A applicant in professional or related industry publications or other leading media.
    • The content can be in English or any other language with necessary translations along with date, title and author of the published piece.
    • Leading publications mean noted news websites such as BBC, CNN, Yahoo! etc while professional websites refer to websites such as ScienceDaily, NewsRx or such leading websites of your professional field.
    • News items reporting about your  participation as a judge in leading national or international competitions related to your field will count in this criterion. However, any material of some local competitions NOT related to your professional field is not acceptable as evidence.
  2. Evidence of participation by the applicant as a judge or reviewer or referee, either individually or on a panel, of others’ work.
    • This includes expert review work for journals with international circulations. Reviews of conference papers may be considered.
    • Both the quantity and quality of reviews will be considered along with the overall reputation of the journal(s) in which the reviews have appeared.
    • This includes a review confirmation letter inviting and explaining why and by whom the applicant was chosen as a peer judge or reviewer.
  3. Original artistic, scholarly, scientific, athletic, or business-related contributions of significance to the field/industry.
    • This includes but is not limited to recommendation letters by independent experts in your relevant field. Such an expert must outline your contributions or expertise or influence in the field.
    • Approved Patents are also considered provided there is enough evidence to prove that the patented material/product etc. has truly contributed into or has impacted your relevant field or if the patent has been commercialized or licensed.
  4. Lesser recognized prizes or awards received nationally or internationally.
    • The award document should include criteria for selection, people competing for it and a letter from the awards committee confirming the above along with the receipt of the award.
    • The award should be national or international in scope such as country’s high honor or recognition in an international/global conference in the relevant field.
    •  Student level awards don’t count.
  5. Elite memberships in industry associations/organizations in the field that require outstanding achievements of their members.
    • Regular (paid or free) memberships in professional associations as part of your profession may not help you in selection because such memberships don’t necessarily require merit or achievement. For instance, you can be a member of American Cancer Society by paying a nominal fee – this does not count as an achievement. But if you are a member of the National Academy of Sciences as a Foreign Associate where only 18 individuals are chosen based on their contribution in original research – is an important achievement and will count.
  6. Scholarly articles in professional journals or leading trade publications or other major media published in the applicant’s name (as an expert contributor).
    • There can be any number of articles published in your name, that can be presented, as long as those articles have significant evidence of your expertise. USCIS panel judges your authorship on a case-to-case basis and emphasizes on quality instead of quantity.
    • The number of citations your article has received is also considered.
    • These articles should have been published in national or international publications of importance.
  7. Displayed work at artistic exhibitions or showcases.
    • This is mostly applicable for artists such as painters, sculptors, illustrators etc.
  8. Commercial success in the performing arts or your field of arts as demonstrated by either box office receipts or cassette, compact disc, video, or DVD sales.
    • This is mostly applicable in case of singers, pop stars, dancers or performers, musicians, film or TV actors who need to present box office receipts or sales receipts.
  9. Evidence of having held important positions in distinguished organizations.
    • This includes documents and letters proving such an appointment describing your role and its contribution.
    • Documents related to the organization, its establishment and its reputation in the field.
  10. High salary or any other high remuneration relative to others in the same field.
    • A salary or bonus package at or exceeding $1,000,000 fulfills this criterion in most cases.

What Do Highly Recognized National Or International Awards/Acclaim Mean?

The applicant should have sustained national or international acclaim such as a Nobel Prize or an Olympic Medal. This does not include time-bound prizes that lose importance with time. The acclaim needs to be relevant and current at the time of filing the EB 1-A visa. If the applicant has received a national or international acclaim but has failed to maintain it or has quit the field, will not be counted current.

 

What Does A High Level Of Expertise Mean?

This means that you are among a very small percentage of people who have risen to that particular position. And this is evidenced through appropriate documentation and chronology.