What is an EB-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa?

What is an EB-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa? What do I need to show to qualify for a green card based on extraordinary ability?

There are two types of extraordinary ability visas. The first, which is the O-1 visa, is for nonimmigrant status, meaning that it is temporary. It can be granted in increments of 3 years. There is another extraordinary ability visa, called the EB-1, which leads to permanent residency (a green card).

What are the different types of EB-1 visas?

There are three types of EB-1 visas. The first is for extraordinary ability in the Sciences, Arts, Education, Business, and Athletics. The second is for outstanding Researchers and Professors. The third is for Multinational Managers and Executives. This blog post will look at the requirements for the first type.

Do I need an employer to petition for me to get an EB-1 visa?

One great thing about the EB-1 for Sciences, Arts, Education, Business, and Athletics, is that it does not require an employer to petition for you. You can self-petition in this category. That being said, you do have to show the Immigration Services what you will be doing and why you should be granted a green card to do this. This can be shown with a statement explaining in detail what you will be doing, how you will be doing this, along with contracts or other objective evidence that confirms your future plans for employment in the United States.

What are the other requirements of an EB-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa?

Additionally, you have to prove that you have risen to the very top of your field. Your field would not be something broad like “Science” or “Art” but much more specific to what it is that you do. For example, if you are a master of specific type of traditional instrument, you have to show that you have risen to the top of your field among others who play and perform this instrument, not that you are a top musician in the world.

To demonstrate extraordinary ability, you either have to prove that you have received recognition through a major, internationally recognized award, or you have to meet 3 of the following criteria listed below. It is important to remember that if you qualify based on a one-time achievement, this award has to have international, not national, renown. Otherwise, extraordinary ability can be shown through a combination of the following:

·      Receipt of lesser internationally or nationally recognized awards or prizes

·      Membership in associations that require outstanding achievements from its members

·      Published material relating to your work in professional or major trade publications

·      Participation as a Judge evaluating the work of others in your field

·      Evidence of original contributions to your field

·      Authorship of articles in your field

·      Evidence that your work has been displayed in showcases or exhibitions

·      Evidence that you performed a leading or critical role in an organization with a distinguished reputation

·      Evidence of commercial success in your field of endeavor

·      Evidence that you have commanded a higher salary in relation to others in your field

Simply meeting three of the above criteria is not enough—the Immigration Services will also evaluate the quality of these achievements and from there make a final determination whether all together they rise to the level of “extraordinary.”

What else do I need to know about the EB-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa?

EB-1 petitions require a lot of documentary evidence to put your achievements into context. Given the broad range of disciplines that can fall under this category, don’t expect the Immigration Services to have a background in your field or do research into the awards that you have received-- it is up to you to clearly explain your achievements to the Immigration Services and provide secondary evidence that more fully explain these achievements. For example, if an article was published about you in a newspaper, you need to show that the newspaper you were published in is itself distinguished for your field (for example, through showing its circulation rates or other information about its prestige) which would then evidence that you being written about in it is something extraordinary. Without this additional information, it is not possible for the Immigration Services to fully appreciate how important it is.

With the right evidence presented in a compelling fashion, you may be eligible for this immigration option. Please contact us for a consultation if you would like more information regarding the EB-1 visa or other employment-based visas. Follow us on InstagramTwitterFacebookLinkedIn or Tumblr for up-to-date immigration news.


Rasoulpour Torregoza is the law firm for immigrants, by immigrants. We are founded on the motto of LegalEase: we do away with the legal jargon and make law easy to understand, so you can focus on what’s important to you – going for your American Dream.
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