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EB-1A Visa Classification

Individuals of Extraordinary Ability in the Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or Athletics

Immigrant petitions for individuals of extraordinary ability are the first of three categories under the employment-based 1st preference classification (EB-1), referred to as priority workers. Our attorneys represent foreign national individuals across a broad range of industries in the preparation and filing of complex and sophisticated immigrant visa petitions requesting EB-1A classification.

The green card process for individuals of extraordinary ability requires two steps:

  • First, the foreign worker files an immigrant visa petition, requesting EB-1A classification on his or her own behalf, with the USCIS. Unlike the EB-1B and EB-1C classifications, the EB-1A category does not require a job offer or a U.S. employer to sponsor the foreign national. Rather, the foreign worker “self-sponsors,” and must only provide documentation that he or she will immigrate to the U.S. to continue work in the field of endeavor.
  • Second, the foreign worker must file an application to acquire LPR status, either by filing an Adjustment of Status (AOS) application directly with the USCIS (if the foreign national is in the U.S.) or by applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy (if the foreign national is abroad).

From a practical and efficiency standpoint, the advantage of the EB-1A classification is that a time-intensive PERM labor certification is not required.

General Requirements for the EB-1A Classification

The EB-1A visa classification is reserved for foreign workers who are coming to the U.S. to continue work in their areas of expertise, and their entry will substantially benefit the nation. This visa is reserved for those individuals who can demonstrate “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. The individual must show that he or she has a level of expertise indicative of one who has reached the top of the field, as demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim in his or her field of endeavor.
An individual’s extraordinary ability may be proven by showing that he or she either:

  • Received a major, internationally recognized award (for example, Nobel Prize or Academy Award), or,
  • Has documents satisfying at least 3 of the 10 listed criteria below:
    1. Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field
    2. Membership in associations in the field requiring outstanding achievement of their members
    3. Published material about you, discussing your work, in professional or major trade publications, newspapers, or other major media, including the title, date, and author of the material
    4. Evidence of being invited to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel, in the same or an allied field of specialization (Examples include, peer reviewing for a scholarly journal and serving as a member of a Ph.D. dissertation committee that makes the final judgment as to whether a candidate’s body of work satisfies the requirements for a doctoral degree)
    5. Original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field (Examples include peer-reviewed presentations at academic conferences, symposia, seminars, galleries, or exhibitions, peer-reviewed articles in scholarly journals that have resulted in widespread commentary or received notice from others working in the field)
    6. Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals, trade publications, or other major media
    7. Display of work at artistic exhibitions or showcases
    8. Past or current employment in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments with distinguished reputations
    9. A history of commanding a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field
    10. Commercial successes in the performing arts

The USCIS adjudicator will apply a 2-pronged approach to evaluate whether you are eligible for E11 classification as an individual of extraordinary ability in your field of endeavor. In accordance with Kazarian v. US Citizenship & Immigration Services (596 F.3d 1115 (9th Cir. 2010), the USCIS officer will first determine whether the submitted evidence satisfies the objective regulatory criteria described above. If the evidence satisfies either the first category (major, one-time achievement) or at least three criteria in the second category (documents concerning your prominence in the field), the adjudicator will move on to the second step, which involves a final merits determination. In this step, the adjudicator will determine whether the evidence submitted for each criteria is sufficient to approve the petition. Evidence is sufficient if it shows that the foreign worker has a level of expertise indicating the worker is one of a small percentage who has risen to the top of their field of endeavor and sustained national or international acclaim and their achievements have been recognized in their field of expertise. The matter will be adjudicated under the preponderance of the evidence standard of proof – the evidence we submit must show that the claims are “more likely than not” or “probably true.”

EB-1A Visa Advantage Points

  • The EB-1A visa does not require a U.S. company to sponsor you. It does not require a job offer or a labor certification. For this self-sponsored, employment-based petition, you may file Form I-140 directly with the USCIS, as both the Petitioner and the Beneficiary.
  • The EB-1A visa is eligible for premium processing service. This means that if you file Form I-907 and pay the USCIS premium processing at the same time you file your request for EB-1A classification, your petition will be adjudicated in 15 calendar days. This makes the EB-1A visa classification a great path for immigrating to the United States quickly.

Our Process for Filing EB-1A Extraordinary Ability Immigrant Petitions

Our step-by-step process for filing this case type is as follows:

  1. Send us your most up-to-date resume to review.
  2. Schedule a consultation.
  3. Based on our conversation, we will define, refine, and tailor your field of endeavor.
  4. We will advise on which regulatory criteria to pursue.
  5. We will send you an extensive Q&A and request for documentation.
  6. We will conduct research to gather objective documentation to strengthen your EB-1A case.
  7. We will advise about possible referees who are well positioned to sign the letters supporting your case.
  8. Our attorneys will draft several reference letters on your behalf. We will work with you to revise the support letters until they are perfect.
  9. Compile all documentary evidence, including external research, recognitions, correspondences, media articles, and support letters.
  10. Our attorneys will prepare an EB-1A Final Brief, which holistically presents you as an individual of Extraordinary Ability in your field.
  11. File the EB-1A Petition with USCIS.
  12. Await case adjudication
  13. Prepare and file an application to Adjust Status to lawful permanent resident or prepare and file an application to consular process at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad.
  14. One-on-one meeting to prepare you for the Final Interview before the Green Card is granted.

If you have any further questions or concerns about how our attorneys can assist you in getting your Green Card through the EB-1A visa classification, please contact us at: or call our number (305) 391-2105.

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