The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) defines the EB-1A visa as an employment-based subcategory. As the 1 denotes, it is a first-preference category designed for individuals with extraordinary abilities in education, business, science, arts, and/or athletics. Applicants who satisfy the requirements are approved for permanent residency in the United States (a green card).
An EB-1A green card is an official and legal authorization for applicants with exceptional ability (in their field) to live and work permanently in the United States. The permanent residence status is commonly referred to as a green card, and is granted by the USCIS.
Foreign nationals may be granted an EB-1A visa if they meet they following criteria:
EB-1A visa applicants are eligible, provided they can:
More information on EB-1 and EB-1A eligibility criteria can be found on the USCIS’ employment-based visas website.
As each applicant and their endeavors differ, there will be some variance in required documentation. In general, the following must be supplied:
The following documents will also be needed, in order to apply for an EB-1A green card:
three or more of the following:
As this type of visa does not require a labor certification or even a current job offer, applicants can self-petition on the I-140 form. This petition for foreign nationals to have lawful work authorization in the U.S. Going this route saves time, resources and money, making the process of obtaining a green card much shorter for EB-1A applicants.
Another vital component to the EB-1A green card petition process is the Application to Register Permanent Resident or Adjust Status (Form I-485). This application is in place for employment-based visa holders to change his or her status to that of an EB-1A. Once approved, the foreign national will be granted lawful permanent residency in the United States. As such, it is reserved for applicants who are at the highest points in their profession.
The applicant must intend to continue working in the same field and demonstrate how their expertise would benefit the U.S. If you are unsure whether you fall in the extraordinary ability category, it’s best to consult an immigration attorney to determine if you qualify.
The I-140 form processing timeframe is usually around six months. Applicants should note the processing time is also dependent on the amount of petitions at the relevant service center’s office. Premium processing is an option for applicants needing an expedited adjudication. This expedited service shortens the processing time down to 15 calendar days, and costs $1,410.
The EB-1A Extraordinary Ability category has several advantages including:
This type of green card is the most difficult employment-based green cards to get. A Nobel Peace Prize, Academy Award, Pulitzer Prize, OSCAR, or an Olympic medal is generally required, in order for a foreign national to be granted an EB-1A green card.
The EB-1A subcategory is for applicants with extraordinary abilities in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. EB-1B, on the other hand, is only for applicants in scientific and scholarly fields.
This visa subcategory is reserved for alien workers who can demonstrate extraordinary ability in his or her field and/or demonstrate international recognition in their profession. The green card develops the status of employment-based immigration visas into permanent and lawful residency in the United States.
The USCIS defines the required parameters the extraordinary ability green card
petitioners must have. Here are some ways the applicant can prove extraordinary ability:
Fortunately, because EB-1A applicants can self-petition, a PERM labor certification is not needed, nor is a permanent job offer required. The worker must simply continue working in their field, therefore an EB-1A must be the reason he or she plans to enter the United States.
The length of time for this type of green card takes about six months, though petitioners can elect premium processing, which expedites the process and takes up to 15 calendar days.
In conclusion, the petitioner must give evidence of sustained national or international acclaim, that his or her accomplishments have been recognized in the petitioner’s profession – by submitting any supporting evidence of a one-time achievement, or by satisfying three out of the 10 evidentiary criteria listed above.
According to the USCIS first-preference, employment-based visa requirements chart, “Applicants must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim.”
EB-1A applicants must prove he or she has sustained national or international acclaim by submitting the evidence either of a one-time achievement, like the Nobel Peace Prize, or any type of nationally and/or internationally recognized award, or satisfy three out of the 10 evidentiary criteria (outline above).
The USCIS determines whether to approve EB-1A petitions by first identifying the evidentiary threshold, and then determining the petitioner’s final merits.
Applicants must undergo consular processing by first making an appointment with the U.S. consulate or embassy in his or her home country, and then scheduling their interview with a consular officer there. Form DS-260 will also need to be completed prior to the interview.