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Are you Extraordinary? If so, the U.S. wants you! Qualifying for EB-1 Visa

In order to attract the best and the brightest to the shores of the United States, while protecting the U.S. labor market, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA § 201(d)(1)) provides for a portion of 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas to be allotted annually to persons of “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through an EB-1 visa. To demonstrate such extraordinary ability, one must have risen to the top of the field of endeavor as demonstrated through sustained national or international acclaim and achievements recognized in their field.

As a premium to this category, neither a job offer nor a labor certification is required for an EB-1 Visa which means that individuals are able to file his or her own petition with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services rather than have one filed by an employer. Furthermore, the high standard that must be met for this category typically means that EB-1 visas are almost always available. To demonstrate that there is valid employment available, one must submit letters from a current or prospective employer, evidence of prearranged commitments for employment, or a showing that one will continue to work in the field in which he or she has extraordinary ability upon entry into the United States.

It’s not like I have to win a Nobel prize, right?  

Actually, to qualify as an EB-1 visa, the foreign national must show clear recognition of his or her accomplishments in the field of endeavor and acclaim for those accomplishments. Receipt of a major internationally recognized award such as a Nobel or Pulitzer Prize or an international award in a particular field substantially comparable to a Nobel or Pulitzer Prize is permitted by the regulations. Practically speaking, that is an unrealistic standard for most, and as such the foreign national may make a showing of sustained recognition by providing at least 3 of the following:

  • Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
  • Membership in associations related to the field that require outstanding achievements of a member, as judged by recognized national or international experts;
  • Published material in professional or major trade publications or media about the foreign national and related to the foreign national’s work;
  • Evidence that the foreign national has judged the work of others in the field;
  • Evidence of the foreign national’s scientific, scholarly, or artistic contributions in the field;
  • Scholarly articles written by the foreign national;
  • Display of the foreign national’s work in artistic exhibitions;
  • Performance in a lead, starring, or critical role in distinguished organizations;
  • Evidence of a high salary or high remuneration compared to others in the field;
  • Evidence of commercial success in the performing arts.

In addition to one’s accolades, USCIS will examine whether, as an extraordinary ability worker, the foreign national will “substantially benefit prospectively the United States.”
Stock and Leader can provide guidance through this complex process of proving your worth to USCIS. If you believe that your accomplishments would qualify you for this esteemed immigrant visa category, feel free to contact our Immigration Law Group to discuss your options.

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