An individual may qualify for a green card if his/her extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics has been demonstrated by:
1) Sustained national or international acclaim as evidenced through extensive documentation;
2) The individual seeks to enter the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability; and
3) His/her entry will substantially benefit prospectively the United States.
No offer of employment is required for this category
Extraordinary ability green card immigrants fall under the first preference (EB-1) employment-based immigrant visa category.
USCIS defines “extraordinary ability” as “a level of expertise indicating that the individual is one of that small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor,” as proven by “sustained national or international acclaim” and that one’s achievements have been recognized in the field of expertise.
What documents do I need to submit with my Extraordinary Ability Green Card petition?
For this EB-1 category, one may qualify by either:
Demonstrating a one-time achievement such as the receipt of a major internationally recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize or an Academy Award,
or, on the basis of a career of acclaimed work in the field of endeavor.
If you are qualifying on the basis of a career of acclaimed work in the field of endeavor, you must meet 3 out of the 10 listed criteria below to prove extraordinary ability in your field:
1) Documentation of the receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
2) Documentation of membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields;
3) Published material about you in professional or other major trade publications or major media. The materials must relate to your work in the field for which EB-1A classification is sought.
4) Evidence of the beneficiary’s participation, either individually or on a panel, as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field of specialization for which classification is sought.
5) Evidence of one’s original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
6) Evidence of one’s authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
7) Evidence of the display of one’s work in the field at artistic exhibitions or showcases;
8) Evidence that one has performed in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation;
9) Evidence that one has commanded a high salary or other significantly high remuneration for services, in relation to others in the field;
10) Evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts, as shown by box office receipts or record, cassette, compact disc, or video sales;
11) Other comparable evidence if the above types of evidence do not readily apply to the foreign national’s occupations.
It is insufficient to simply meet three of the ten regulatory criteria, if sustained international acclaim is not proven.
The overall evidence must demonstrate that his/her achievements in his/her field have been recognized as extraordinary.
Can I file for Extraordinary Ability Green Card and National Interest Waiver at the same time?
Yes, you are allowed to file two I-140 petitions simultaneously. There is no regulation prohibiting have an Extraordinary Ability and National Interest Waiver pending with USCIS at the same time. The only downside is the additional expense.
Whom should I contact to obtain support letters?
Letters of support for the extraordinary ability green card petition should be written by experts in your field. Most applicants will ask their current or former professors and peers that they have met at conferences. You may ask those that have expertise in your field and are familiar with your work either directly or indirectly.
Can I change jobs while my Extraordinary Ability Green Card case is pending at USCIS?
Yes you may. Since this is a self sponsored petition you may switch employers as long as you stay employed within your field of expertise.
What is the USCIS processing time for Extraordinary Ability Green Card petitions?
Normal USCIS processing time is 3 to 12 months. There is a wide processing time window due to the fact that each Extraordinary Ability case is so unique. Premium processing is available for Extraordinary Ability Green Card petitions. Premium processing is a $1,225 payment to USCIS in exchange for a 15 day processing time.
How many publications are required for an Extraordinary Ability Green Card petition?
USCIS regulations do not specify a minimum, however we normally recommend at least 6 well cited publications. Google Scholar tracks citations to your publications.