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EB1 Extraordinary Ability Green Card

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EB1 Extraordinary Ability Himalayan Summit 99207646 The EB1 Extraordinary Ability Green Card (also referred to as EB1-1, or EB1-A) is a permanent visa option for individuals in the arts, sciences, education, business or athletics who can demonstrate sustained acclaim at the “very top” of their field of endeavor.

Qualified EB1 candidates can waive both the PERM/labor certification and the offer of employment for most Employment-Based Green Card petitions. EB1 petitions (Employment-Based 1st Preference) have priority over all other types of Employment-Based Green Card petitions. This means that they are first in line in the annual quota system for green cards. The EB1 Extraordinary Ability category does not require sponsorship by a US employer.

The O-1 visa is a temporary visa option for individuals who can show, in accordance with O-1 regulations, extraordinary ability in business, education, science or athletics; distinction in the arts; or extraordinary achievement in television or motion pictures. However, the O-1 visa requires sponsorship by a US employer or agent. It is valid for one to three years at a time.

EB1 Extraordinary Ability: Basic Requirements

Basic requirements for the EB1 Extraordinary Ability Green Card are:

  • Sustained national or international acclaim; demonstration of major contributions to field of expertise;
  • Intent to continue working in the field of extraordinary ability in the US; and,
  • Candidate’s work is and will be of substantial, prospective benefit to the US national interest.

According to the EB1 regulations, “extraordinary ability” means the candidate is one of a small percentage who have risen to the very top of a particular field. Generally, EB1 petitions require considerable evidence. Evidence of a major one-time achievement (e.g., an internationally recognized award such as the Nobel Prize, Oscar, Grammy or Emmy) establishes eligibility. In the absence of that, the candidate must meet at least 3 of the factors below. The petition should show that the EB1 candidate has made significant contributions to the area of expertise. Finally, if the EB1 Extraordinary Ability factors do not apply to the area of expertise, the candidate may present alternate evidence.

EB1 Extraordinary Ability Factors (must demonstrate at least 3):

  1. Performance in leading or critical role for organizations or establishments with a distinguished reputation.
  2. Published material about EB1 Extraordinary Ability candidate in professional or major trade publications or other major media relating to candidate’s work in field for which classification is sought. These should include title, date, author, and any necessary translation.
  3. Original scientific and/or scholarly contributions of major significance in the field.
  4. Participation individually or on a panel as a judge of others in the same or allied field. This may include participation as a journal reviewer or participation on a Board of Directors. Note that in the case of reviewerships, USCIS is looking for instances in which the EB1 candidate has been asked to serve as a reviewer based on his/her particular expertise. General requests passed to the candidate from an advisor or other individual count for little.
  5. Authorship of scholarly articles in the field published in professional or major trade publications or other major media.
  6. High salary or other significantly high remuneration for services in relation to others in the field.
  7. Display of EB1 candidate’s work in showcases or events.
  8. Major Prizes or Awards: EB1 candidate’s receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards indicating excellence in the field.
  9. Membership in Associations Requiring Outstanding Achievements: EB1 candidate’s membership in associations that require outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized national or international experts in applicable disciplines or fields. (This does not include organizations that merely require a fee for membership, however prestigious the organization).
  10. Commercial success in the performing arts, as shown by box office receipts or record, cassette, compact disk, or video sales.

Notes on EB1 Factors

In cases of scientists or academics, USCIS relies heavily on publications and their impact in the field. Generally, USCIS is looking for more than a handful of publications, unless publication is not customary in the EB1 candidate’s field. Publications in prestigious journals with international circulation carry more weight. In addition, USCIS considers independent citations of an EB1 candidate’s publications to be a strong indicator of impact and of the candidate’s stature.

Quantity of evidence is not necessarily critical. But it can suggest an EB1 candidate’s major impact in the field. Quality, circulation and prestige of journals, and/or demonstrable influence of publications on peers in the field and/or on the field as a whole may be important factors.

USCIS does not give substantial consideration to student awards, fellowships or other honors. But some prestigious student awards or honors may have some limited influence. Student publications by or about the EB1 candidate also carry little weight. Patents have substantial importance only if granted, and if they have a significant impact and/or have been adopted on a widespread basis. A patent pending carries little to no weight.

Letters from recognized experts in the EB1 candidate’s field can be extremely important. USCIS looks for a mix of experts to comment on an EB1 Extraordinary Ability case. This may include “objective” experts who may not know the EB1 candidate personally, but who may know of his/her work due to its prominence; experts who are not in the EB1 candidate’s immediate professional circles; and experts who have worked directly with the candidate.