EB-1A Visa
Oct 20, 2022

What is an EB-1A Immigrant Visa?

What is an EB-1A Immigrant Visa?

The EB-1A classification is a first preference Immigrant Visa Petition for the employment-based category for green card applicants. It is a petition for permanent residence reserved for those who are among the most able and accomplished in their respective fields within the arts, sciences, education, business, or sports. For the EB-1A petition, a permanent job offer is not required, and a foreign national may self-petition.

The applicant must prove they have extraordinary ability in the field of science, education, business, or athletics means a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of only a small percentage who has risen to the very top of their field or expertise. This means the applicant must show sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for their achievements.

How to qualify for an Extraordinary Ability - EB-1A Immigrant Visa?

There are two ways a noncitizen can show that they have sustained national or international acclaim and that their achievements have been recognized in their field of expertise.
  1. The applicant may provide evidence of a one-time achievement (Nobel Prize, Olympic medal, Oscar, or Pulitzer) or
  2. The applicant may provide evidence for three of the ten listed criteria below (or comparable evidence if any of the criteria do not readily apply):
  • Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
  • Membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members
  • Published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  • Having been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel
  • Major, original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  • Display your work at artistic exhibitions or showcases
  • Performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
  • Command a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field, and
  • Commercial successes in the performing arts

Even if you meet three or more of the above criteria, the applicant must also demonstrate that they will continue to pursue their work while in the U.S. and that their work will benefit the U.S prospectively.

Although the EB-1A category is very similar to the O-1 visa nonimmigrant temporary work status, the standard of review applied by USCIS is much higher.


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Continue following this series below:

What is an EB-1A Immigrant Visa?

How to get the EB-1A green card?

Process and timeline of the EB-1A green card

What are the advantages of the EB-1A green card?

Robert Wees
Robert Wees
U.S. Immigration Counsel

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