EB-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa

USCIS uses a two-tier analysis when adjudicating the EB-1A petitions.

I. First Tier – Preponderance of Evidence on an Individual Basis In the first tier, the applicant can show to have extraordinary ability by satisfying either one of two types of evidence – (1) the individual may demonstrate evidence of a one-time, major international award such as the Nobel Prize or Olympic Gold Medal. If the individual satisfies this evidence in addition to showing the other two requirements (i.e. seeks to enter the U.S. to continue work in the field of extraordinary ability and his/her will substantially benefit the U.S.), then the alien’s EB-1A will be approved since this proves the general requirements. (2) However, in the absence of satisfying the first evidence, the applicant may demonstrate 3 of the following 10:

  1. Evidence of receipt of a lesser national/international recognized award for excellence in the field of endeavor.
  2. Evidence of membership in associations requiring outstanding achievements of its members, as judged by recognized national/international experts in their fields.
  3. Published material in professional/major trade publications or other major media relating to the alien’s work. Evidence should include title, date and author of the material, and any necessary translations.
  4. Evidence of participation, either individually or on a panel, as a judge of others’ work in the same or related field.
  5. Evidence of original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic or business-related contributions of major significance in the field.
  6. Evidence of authorship of scholarly articles in professional/major trade publications or other major media in the field.
  7. Evidence of the display of work at artistic exhibitions or showcases in the field. This is usually for an artist’s work.
  8. Evidence of having a leading/critical role for organizations or establishments with distinguished reputation.
  9. Evidence of holding a high salary or significantly high remuneration for services compared to others in the respective field.
  10. Evidence of commercial success in the performing arts such as box office receipts, compact disk or video sales. This criterion is for singers, performing artists, musicians and movie stars.

Not all of the criteria apply to all fields of endeavor. For instance, prove of commercial success in the performing arts cannot be used by scientists. In that case it might be helpful to use “comparable evidence.”

If at least 3 of the 10 types of evidence are not fulfilled, the petitioner/applicant’s application will unlikely be approved by the USCIS. However, if the applicant has demonstrated evidence of at least 3 of the 10 types of evidence, the applicant must now pass the Second Tier analysis in order to receive a final determination by USCIS.

II. Second Tier – Final Merits Determination The totality of evidence must establish that the applicant has:

  1. Sustained national or international acclaim in which the alien’s accomplishments have been recognized in the field of expertise.
  2. Level of expertise indicating that the alien is among the small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.
  3. Evidence that the applicant is coming to the US to continue work in this area of expertise.

Documentation may include letters from prospective employers, evidence of prearranged commitments such as contracts or a statement from the applicant detailing plans on how he or she intends to continue work in the US.

We have helped many foreign nationals, from athletes to scientists, with their immigration process through the EB-1A. Contact our office, and we will be happy to discuss your EB-1 questions.