Individuals who possess “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, are eligible for an EB-1A green card.
Employers and third parties may petition for an EB-1A visa on behalf of individuals with “extraordinary ability.” Individuals with “extraordinary ability” may also petition themselves since a permanent job or job offer is not needed to apply. An application for a green card may be submitted along with an EB-1A application.
An individual with “extraordinary ability” is defined as an individual who has either received a major internationally recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize, Pulitzer, Oscar or Olympic medal, or meets at least 3 of the following 10 criteria:
- Received lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence.
- Has membership in associations that require outstanding achievement of their members.
- Has been profiled or written about in a professional or major trade publication or any other major media.
- Has judged the work of others within their field, either individually on on a panel.
- Makes contributions of major significance to the fields of science, education, art, business, or sports.
- Has written scholarly articles that have been published in professional or major trade publications or other major media.
- Work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases.
- Plays a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations.
- Commands a high salary or compensation compared to others in the field.
- Has commercial success in the performing arts.
To apply for an EB-1A green card, the applicant must:
• Submit evidence that the individual of “extraordinary ability” has received a major internationally recognized award or meets at least 3 of the 10 criteria listed above.
• Show that the individual of “extraordinary ability” is coming to the U.S. to continue working in her or his area through letters from current or prospective employers, documents or contracts that show prearranged commitments, or a statement detailing plans to continue working in the field.
You can apply for your permanent residence concurrently and once your green card application for adjustment of status is pending, you have the additional ability to obtain work and travel authorization.
Advantages of Self-Petitioning
An individual may apply for an EB-1A visa by herself or himself without an employer or corporate sponsor. Filing as an individual has the following advantages:
• The individual applicant does not need to have a permanent job or job offer.
• The individual applicant does not need a Labor Certification, which is required of employers or corporate sponsors. That means the process is greatly simplified and faster than typical employment-based green cards.
• The individual applicant has the flexibility to change jobs much earlier and may have a broader range of job opportunities available than if an employer applied on behalf of the individual.
What Happens Next?
After you file, USCIS may request more information, evidence, or an interview with the individual of “extraordinary ability.” At the biometrics appointment, you will be fingerprinted, photographed and/or asked for her or his signature to verify her or his identity or to update background and security checks. There is the possibility of an interview. USCIS will notify the applicant in writing of its decision.