An Alien of Extraordinary Ability, or EB-1A, classification applies to aliens who can demonstrate that they "have risen to the very top of their field of endeavor." Such candidates may apply for EB-1A petition without a labor certification ora job offer (i.e. an employer’s sponsorship.). Any alien living in the U.S. or abroad may apply if he/she meets the following requirements:
Alien has extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim.
Alien’s achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation.
To establish that the alien is a top member within his/her respective field, evidence of receipt of an internationally recognized award such as the Nobel Prize or an Academy Award is accepted. However, in the absence of an internationally recognized award, the alien can establish him/herself as an Alien of Extraordinary Ability by providing documentation of any three (3) of the following:
Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence.
Membership in associations which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their fields.
Published material in professional/major trade publications or major media about the alien and relating to the alien's work field.
Participation as a judge (individually or as a part of a panel) evaluating the work of others.
Original scientific, scholarly, or artistic contributions of major significance.
Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media.
Leading role within an organization/establishment with a distinguished reputation.
High salary/compensation for services in comparison to others.
Commercial success within the performing arts, as shown by either box office receipt figures or cassette, compact disk, video, or DVD sales figures. The alien must also show that his/heradmittance into the United States will substantially benefit the United States in the future.
In addition to the above criteria, the alien must prove that he/she will continue to pursue work in the area of extraordinary ability in the U.S. and prove that his/her work is of substantial and prospective benefit to U.S. national interest. Procedurally, the EB-1A is an I-140 Immigration Petition, Petition for Alien Worker application. The alien may petition for him/herself by filing Form I-140 with supporting documentation that demonstrate that the alien meets fundamental EB-1A criteria. The petition is one of the fastest ways to obtain a Green Card. An EB-1A candidate may petition for his/her own permanent residency without the need for an employer sponsor, as is generally required in employment-based petitions.
Approved Case Example:
Dr. Lee received her Ph.D. from China. Her work lies in composite materials, a subset of civil engineering that can prospectively benefit the U.S. economy, U.S. citizens and the U.S. military. Her accomplishments have brought her national recognition and she is considered one of the top engineers within her field. Dr. Lee frequently participates as a judge of other's work by providing reviews for scholarly journals and has authored several articles in scholarly journals of international circulation.
Dr. Lee qualifies as an Alien of Extraordinary Ability because she has risen to the top of the civil engineering field. She does not need an employer's sponsorship as long as she can establish that she will continue to pursue her work within the U.S.
(Updated 10/5/2012 by AG)
For more information on EB-1A Visa, please refer to the following links:
For more information on EB-1 Green Card, please refer to the EB-1 Green Card information page.