No matter where you are in the world and no matter what your past accomplishments are, it’s possible to build out your criteria for extraordinary ability visas in parallel with building your company.
A brief overview:
O-1A Nonimmigrant Visa
This is a temporary visa that allows you to initially stay in the U.S. for three years and renewable one year at a time. You either need a company to sponsor you for a job or an agent to sponsor you.
EB1A Green Card and EB2 NIW Green Card
For both green card types, you can self-petition so you don’t need a company or an existing job offer in order to file the petition. EB2-NIW is for somebody who has a master’s degree or who is outstanding and your presence in the United States would be in the national interest.
O-1A has eight different requirements and EB1A has 10 different requirements.
We are looking at awards for the entire profession or for global startups, not local or student awards. Examples are funding from venture capital firms or winning a global pitch competition.
2. Membership in associations in your field
There has to be somebody who’s either judging that you’re qualified to get in or they’re inviting you because of your accomplishments.
3. Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media
These are articles about you and your work.
4. Original scientific, scholarly or business-related contributions of major significance in the field
This is your actual body of work, your company, your business idea, your patents, or your inventions.
5. Authorship of scholarly articles and professional journals or other major media in the field
This is about what you’ve written and your position as a thought leader. Examples would be research papers or articles in a technology publication.
6. A high salary or other remuneration for services
This is basically how much money you’ve made and whether it’s high compared to other people in your fields.
7. Participation on a panel or individually as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization
Have you been invited to peer review or manuscripts for publication? For startups, it would be being a judge for startup pitch competitions.
8. Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation.
This means having a job role at a respected company.
EB-1 is open to people who are also in arts or athletics. They have two additional categories including evidence that your work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases and evidence of your commercial success in the performing arts.
For more information and resources on how you can work around these visa types, check out Immigration Law for Tech Startups podcast. If you’d like to listen, head over to 015: Extraordinary Ability Bootcamp.