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EB-1(A): Extraordinary Ability Immigrants

The EB-1(A) immigration classification allows immigrants with ‘extraordinary ability’ in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics to obtain permanent residency in the U.S.  The immigrant must be one of “that small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field or endeavor.”  Winning a well-known international award such as the Pulitzer or Nobel Prize is an example of a qualifying credential.

The EB-1(A) like the other EB-1 categories, does not require a labor certification and is current for visa processing, meaning qualifying applicants are typically processed much faster than other employment-based categories. In such cases, the immigrant visa petition can typically be submitted concurrently with the Green Card application, if the applicant is in the U.S.  EB-1(A) immigrants do not require a job offer to be eligible for petitioning, but must be entering the U.S. to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability in a manner that will substantially benefit the U.S.

The applicant’s achievements must have been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim.  If the applicant has not won a remarkable one-time achievement on the level of an Oscar Award, Nobel Prize, or an Olympic Medal, he or she must prove 3 of the 10 criteria enumerated below:

  • Commercial successes in the performing arts
  • Having professional work displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases
  • Winning lesser national or international prizes or awards for excellence
  • Membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement
  • Published material about the immigrant in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  • Having been asked to or judging the work of others, either individually or on a panel
  • Original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field
  • Authoring scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  • Acting in a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
  • Commanding a high salary or other high remuneration in relation to others in the field

Astute readers will note that the EB-1(A) requirements are similar (though not exact) to those for the O-1 visa.  The primary difference between the two classifications it that the O-1 visa is a temporary, nonimmigrant status, while the EB-1(A) process results in a permanent resident “green card” without the need to renew the visa or status.

Qualifying immigrants favor the EB-1(A) classifications due to the relatively speedy processing time from beginning to end, and the lack of a pre-arranged employment requirement. However, a detailed analysis of the case at the outset is critical.  Contact our law firm for a detailed evaluation of eligibility.  Shortly after receiving a copy of the applicant’s resume, we will provide a recommendation and, in certain cases, an analysis of other possible options, including:  O-1, EB-1(B), NIW, H-1B, Labor Certification and EB-5 immigration procedures.

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