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Requirement for Alien with Extraordinary Ability (EB-1A)

How Does USCIS Evaluate EB-1A Extraordinary Ability Applications?

 The EB-1A category is reserved for foreign nationals who have “extraordinary ability” in business, science, medicine, information technology, the arts, etc.  Extraordinary ability is defined as having reached that top percentage of individuals who are in the upper echelon of their respective field.

The EB-1A application is  submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on the Form I-140 Petition.  Read on to learn more about how USCIS evaluates I-140 Petitions and determines whether an applicant qualifies for extraordinary ability.

I. First Tier – Preponderance of Evidence on an Individual Basis

For EB-1A petitions, USCIS utilizes a two-step analysis.  First, USCIS determines whether the applicant possesses extraordinary ability. There are two ways the applicant can fulfill this first part of the analysis.  First, the applicant can have achieved a major internationally recognized award such as an Olympic gold medial or Nobel Prize.  Or second, the applicant can demonstrate that he/she meets 3 of the following 10 alternate criteria for establishing extraordinary ability:

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

If at least 3 of the 10 types of evidence are not fulfilled, the petitioner/beneficiary’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

Once the applicant meets the first step, USCIS moves on to the second step in the analysis which requires USCIS to determine whether the applicant has demonstrated sustained national or international acclaim in which the alien’s accomplishments have been recognized in the field of expertise; and whether the applicant possesses a level of expertise indicating that the alien is among the small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.

At the Callan Law Firm, P.C., our office processes hundreds of successful EB-1A petitions every year.  Contact our staff today to speak to an experienced and knowledgeable attorney about your qualifications and eligibility for the EB-1A Extraordinary Ability green card.