The EB-1 Extraordinary Ability Green Card Guidelines

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows thousands of immigrants with extraordinary abilities to attain green card status and live permanently in the United States each year. But how can you definitely prove that you have a truly special talent that will benefit the United States and that sets you apart from most others in your field?

To determine who qualifies for a first preference EB-1 visa for extraordinary ability, the USCIS has a very specific set of guidelines. Applicants can either provide evidence of an outstanding one-time achievement (such as an Olympic Medal, Nobel Prize, or an Oscar) or provide evidence of three out of ten of the following criteria:

  • You have received nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards. You should prove that your prize or award is related to your field, that it is a sign of achievement and excellence, and that it is based on merit. USCIS will look at the criteria used to select the winner of the award as well as information regarding the significance of the award. Any selection based on merit, such as a postdoctoral appointment or fellowship, may be listed here.
  • You hold association memberships. You should list any associations or organizations that you belong to that only accept members based on achievement and merit. These should be elite associations that do not simply require membership fees and sponsors. Be sure to list the criteria that each association membership is based on.
  • You or your work has been the subject of publications. If you or your work has been the basis of articles or profiles, or if your work has been referenced in publications, these publications are evidence of your extraordinary abilities. These publications should appear in major trade media or professional journals. Include the title, date, and author of the publication when applying.
  • You have judged others in your field. If you have participated as a judge in your field, you can prove it through describing the details of the job. This could include judging a competition, serving on dissertation committees, or participating on a panel. You must include the criteria for being chosen as a judge as well as prove your involvement as a judge.
  • You’ve made a significant contribution in your field. Are you set apart from others in your field because you have made an outstanding contribution? This criterion is usually proven through affidavits of other experts in your field or any documentation that proves your work is set apart from other high-achievers in your field.
  • You’ve published articles. It is easy to provide proof that you have published important articles in your field simply by including them in your application. Be sure to note the publication in which the article appeared, whether the article was peer-reviewed, and whether the publication has a national or international reputation.
  • You have a leading role in an important organization. If you hold a critical role in a notable organization in your field, this could further prove your extraordinary ability. Be sure to prove the importance of the organization as well as the responsibilities related to your leadership role.
  • Your work is displayed in exhibitions and showcases. Do people around the world come to see your work when it is displayed? Is your work displayed at distinguished venues? If this is the case, you should provide proof of your exhibitions, such as pamphlets, posters, or invitations.
  • You command a high salary. If you are so talented that you receive a higher salary than other people in your field doing the same work, this could be proof that you have an extraordinary ability. You will need to provide proof of your own salary as well as proof that this salary is above average in your industry.
  • Your work is a commercial success. If you have a career in the arts and your work is a commercial success this will satisfy one of the categories for your EB-1 application. This proof could involve the sales records of an album, a work of art, or a video.

Our Immigration Attorneys Can Help You Prove Your Extraordinary Ability

It is not enough to know that you have an extraordinary ability. You have to prove it to USCIS with documents and affidavits. Our EB-1 immigration lawyers can help you collect evidence and determine if you meet the requirements needed to obtain this visa. To learn more about the EB-1 category and our immigration legal services, please call us or contact us today.