The Benefits of and Requirements for EB-1(A): Persons of Extraordinary Ability

EB-1(A) is a subcategory under Employment-Based First Preference Immigration reserved for Persons of Extraordinary Ability in sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. In order to be qualified as a Person of Extraordinary Ability one must demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim and an intention to continue work in one’s area of extraordinary ability in the United States.


Currently, the EB-1(A) category has visa numbers available to all petitioners throughout the world. Therefore, if you think that you might qualify for classification as a Person of Extraordinary Ability an EB-1(A) petition can be a good option to expedite your status process. The current visa number availability is especially relevant for petitioners born in Mainland China or India as these countries currently have visa number retrogression in the EB-2 category which can result in one having to wait as long as 5 years or more to achieve status.

Furthermore, EB-1(A) allows individuals to simultaneously file the I-485. According to recent practice of Texas Service Center’s Pilot Program, for I-140/I0485 concurrently filed cases, the TSC may choose some cases to be processed within 3 months.  We have seen multiple cases that I-140/I-485 were approved concurrently within less than 3 months. 

In addition to the potential time benefit, the EB-1(A) also allows prospective immigrants to self-petition. Unlike EB-1(B) or PERM applicants, an alien petitioning as a Person of Extraordinary Ability needs neither Employer Sponsorship nor Labor Certification.


The EB-1(A) petition is intended to be “for the small percentage of individuals who have risen to the very top of their field of endeavor”. To demonstrate that one has attained this level of Extraordinary Ability an individual must provide documentation that their achievements have been recognized and acclaimed in his or her field of expertise. This documentation can occur in one of two ways:

  1. One time achievement of a major internationally recognized award such as the Nobel Prize.
  2. Sustained acclaim, which can be demonstrated by an individual having at least three (3) of the following recognitions:
    • Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards.  The awards can be from a foreign country or reputable international conferences
    • Membership in associations which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their fields. 
    • Published material about the alien in professional/major trade publications or major media.  This is a report written by other about your achievements.
      • This content can be found in the form of mediums ranging from field-specific journals to major newspapers; however, the material must be related to the alien’s work in the field for which the individual is seeking the classification of Extraordinary Ability. Such evidence should include the title, date, and author of the material, and any necessary translation of the piece
    • Participation as a judge of the work of others
      • This requirement can be met by work done either individually or as a part of a panel. The work being judged by the alien must have been done by others in the same field for which the individual is seeking classification, or an allied field.  In most circumstance, an alien was invited by multiple journals to be reviewer for peer-review papers may qualified for this entry.
    • Evidence of original contributions of major significance that are scientific, scholastic, artistic, athletic, or business-related.
      • This requirement is quite subjective and is most often determined by letters of support and recommendation provided by other individuals who are qualified to provide insight on the field in which the alien is seeking Extraordinary Ability classification
    • Authorship of scholarly articles in their field.
    • Artistic exhibitions or showcase
    • Leading role within organizations or establishments that have distinguished reputations.
    • High salary or remuneration in relation to others in the field
    • Commercial success in the performing arts.

In addition to providing evidence that one meets the threshold for consideration as a Person of Extraordinary Ability, aliens filing under EB-1(A) are also required to indicate that they will continue to work in the area of their extraordinary ability and that their entry amounts to a potentially substantial benefit for the United States.

Practical Considerations

There are about 140,000 visas available per year worldwide under employment based preference levels. Currently, EB-1(A) accounts for 28.6% (about 40,400 visas) of the whole. As noted above, the visa number is currently available worldwide, including for individuals born in India or Mainland China, because fewer people apply for EB-1(A) status than the allotted 2,800 per country.  Nonetheless, we may reasonably predict that EB-1 will eventually have visa retrogression for Mainland China or India born people since an increasing number of people are interested in applying for it. However, if an individual does not apply for I-485 at the same time that they submit the EB-1A, the visa number availability is not a consideration.

Finally, it is helpful to note that the Texas Service Center is transferring some EB-1(A) cases to the Nebraska Service Center. This may result in certain case processes being affected due to the fact that the Nebraska Service Center has a, traditionally, lower efficiency rate compared to that of the Texas Service Center.

If you feel that you meet the EB-1(A) requirements and would like to file an employment-based petition for permanent residency you can email our attorney at for a free evaluation. You will receive a reply within 24 hours.

Founded in 1996, Zhang & Associates, P.C. offers legal services to clients nationwide in all aspects of U.S immigration law. We have successfully handled thousands of immigration cases.

At Zhang & Associates, P.C., our attorneys and supporting professionals are committed to providing high-quality immigration and non-immigration visa services. We specialize in NIW, EB-1, PERM, and I-485 cases. In the past thirteen years, we have successfully helped thousands of clients get green cards. If you plan to apply for a green card, please send your CV to Attorney Jerry Zhang ( for a free evaluation.

Zhang & Associates, PC.

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