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What is the EB-1A?

The EB-1A is a category of the EB-1 green card available to workers with extraordinary abilities in the arts, sciences, athletics, education, or business. The term “extraordinary ability” requires that the EB-1A applicant possesses a level of expertise in their field that would indicate that they are one of a small percentage of people who have risen to the top of their field.

Green card holders on EB-1A status are not required to have a U.S. employer file a petition on their behalf. They must, however, enter the U.S. with the intent to work in their field of expertise and their entry must substantially benefit prospectively the U.S.

Who qualifies for the EB-1A?

The EB-1A classification is available to those with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, demonstrated through sustained national or international acclaim.

Do you need an employer to file an EB-1A petition on your behalf?

Those who qualify for the EB-1A do not need an employer to petition on their behalf. They may petition for themselves as long as they have the intent to work in their field of expertise upon their entry into the U.S.

What documents should you gather for an EB-1A petition?

If you think you may qualify for the EB-1A, you should start to gather documentation of your extraordinary ability in your given field. You should submit either documentation of a one-time achievement, such as an internationally recognized award, or evidence showing any three of the following:

– Receipt of a lesser recognized prize or award;

– Membership in an association in the particular field that requires outstanding achievement for their members;

– Publications about the foreign worker in professional or major trade publications;

– Documentation showing the foreign worker’s participation as a judge of the work of others in the field;

– Original contributions in the particular field that are of major significance;

– Publications authored by the foreign worker in the particular field;

– Exhibitions or showcases;

– High salary in relation to others in the field;

– Other documentation exhibiting extraordinary ability and recognition for such extraordinary ability.

Is the EB-1A subject to the Kazarian two-part test?

Yes. As discussed above, the EB-1A and EB-1B categories are subject to the heightened scrutiny of the Kazarian two-part test.

What are the differences between the EB-1A and the O-1 visa?

While the standards for the O-1 visa and the EB-1A are very similar, the duration of the status and way that the petitions are adjudicated are very different. The EB-1A is a priority visa that allows the applicant to come to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident. The O-1 is a nonimmigrant visa, therefore the O-1 visa holder is only admitted to living and work in the U.S. for a limited amount of time. However, since the O-1 visa is a “dual intent” visa, an O-1 visa holder may file for the EB-1A.

Additionally, the O-1 visa is not subject to the same level of scrutiny as the EB-1A. When adjudicating the O-1 visa, USCIS does not apply the Kazarian two-part test. Therefore, the approval of an O-1 visa does not automatically mean that the O-1 visa holder will obtain an EB-1A.

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