An EB1A visa falls under the employment-based first preference category. It is one of the two types of employment-based green cards that do not require an employer sponsor – the other being National Interest Waiver (NIW) visas under the employment-based second preference category. Under the EB1A category, the foreign national can self-petition and does not need a job offer or a PERM labor certification.
EB1A visas are available to a foreign national with “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics who is “one of that small percentage that have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.” [8CFR Section 204.5(h)(2)] Scholars, researchers, postdocs, Ph.D. students, artists, athletes, and other professionals can benefit from this type of visa.Requirements for EB1A Visas
To qualify for the EB1A visa, the foreign national must:
- Have extraordinary ability in science, art, education, business, or athletics, which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation;
- Intend to continue working in his/her area of extraordinary ability;
- Prove his/her entry will substantially benefit prospectively the United States;
First, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines if the applicant has submitted enough evidence to show that he/she:
- Has a one-time achievement – a major, internationally recognized award. Examples of major awards include, but are not limited to: a Nobel Prize, a Pulitzer Prize, an Olympic Medal, a Grammy, or an Academy Award (aka an Oscar); or
- Since most individuals do not possess a major internationally recognized award, an applicant can alternatively prove that he/she qualifies under at least 3 of the following 10 regulatory criteria:
- Receipt of a lessor nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field;
- Membership in associations in the field which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts;
- Published material about the foreign national in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
- Participation as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied field;
- Original scientific, scholastic, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance;
- Authorship of scholarly articles in the field, published in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
- Display of his/her work in the field at artistic exhibitions or showcases;
- Preformed in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments with distinguished reputation;
- Commands a high salary or other significantly high remuneration for services compared to others in the field; or
- Commercial success in the performing arts, which can be demonstrated through box office receipts or record, cassette, compact disk, or video sales.
Second, if the applicant establishes that he/she has received a one-time achievement or meets at least three of the criteria listed above, USCIS then does a final merits determination based on the totality of the evidence to determine whether the applicant:
- Has demonstrated that he/she has sustained national or international acclaim;
- Has achievements that have been recognized in the field of expertise, indicating that he/she is one of the small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.
EB1A cases can be complicated and an experienced attorney can assess if you are an eligible candidate. With each case being unique, a qualified immigration attorney can determine which criteria you have the best chance of meeting based on your experience and the evidence provided. If you are interested in applying for permanent residency based on an EB1A petition, the Lyttle Law Firm can assist you in this process. Our law firm has extensive experience in successfully handling employment-based cases for clients across the United States and around the world. We seek to make the process as straightforward and simple as possible. For a confidential consultation, please call (512) 215-5225 or contact us online.