What is the EB-1A Visa?

Becoming a green card holder is the goal for many foreign nationals immigrating to the United States of America. While the process for obtaining green cards can be complex, thankfully, there are many ways by which you may acquire one. One such pathway to legal immigration is an employment-based green card.

The EB-1A is a type of immigrant visa that allows foreign applicants to pursue permanent residency in the United States if they meet certain requirements. If approved for the visa, applicants can enjoy up to five years of legal permanent residency, during which time they can pursue the pathway toward US citizenship.

What is the Difference Between the EB-1A and Other Employment-Based Visas?

Those who qualify for the EB-1A may be allowed to self-petition independently without the need for a United States employer’s sponsorship.

The EB-2 and EB-3 visas require qualifying job offers and labor certifications, but the EB-1A does not. That said, the standard for being approved and qualified for the EB-1A is higher than that for the EB-2 and EB-3 visas.

The EB-1A visa is restricted to only a select group of individuals. Only applicants recognized for extraordinary abilities may expect to have a successful application.

How is ‘Extraordinary Ability’ Defined by Immigration Law?

To qualify for the EB-1A visa, a foreign national must demonstrate extraordinary ability in their respective professional field.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires that applicants meet at least three of the following criteria:

  • Evidence of original scholarly, artistic, scientific, athletic, or business-related contributions of a major significance
  • Has authored scholarly articles in professional journals and other media
  • Have commercial success in the performing arts
  • Is paid a high salary in relation to others in their chosen field
  • Membership in professional associations that require outstanding achievements
  • Participation as a panelist or judge for a distinguished organization
  • Recipient of a major international award, such as an Olympic medal or Nobel Prize
  • Served as a judge of the work of others in the same profession
  • There is published material about the individual in major trade and professional publications
  • Work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions and showcases

EB-1A applicants must meet at least three of the above criteria. However, it is wise to present a comprehensive case that is difficult to deny to demonstrate your extraordinary abilities and chosen field.

What Are the Other Eligibility Requirements?

In addition to satisfying all of the criteria for applying for an EB-1A visa, you must also pass the final merit test. After passing this test, a USCIS officer will review your EB-1A petition and determine whether you have sustained national or international acclaim to qualify for the visa. It is worth noting that this test is not entirely subjective. It is highly recommended that you work with an experienced immigration attorney for legal assistance gathering appropriate evidence to help you pass the test and succeed in your application.

Both foreign-born applicants and their legal representatives must comply with all relevant immigration laws and regulations to avoid potential denials or delays.

Our Seattle law firm has extensive experience representing clients in complex immigration cases, including those pursuing EB-1A visas. To learn more about our legal services and how we can help you throughout this process, please contact our law office to schedule your initial consultation today.

Can an EB-1A Applicant Self-Petition Without Employer Sponsorship or Qualifying Job Offer?

Yes. One of the unique aspects of the EB-1A visa is that applicants are allowed to self-petition without the need for direct sponsorship from a United States employer. This is a rare feature among the US visa categories. With this ability, individuals can leverage their achievements and professional reputations with the USCIS without the need for a sponsor. This gives them a significant advantage over others in their field who wish to immigrate to the United States.

Additionally, a job offer is not required under this visa category. The foreign national does not need a job offer from a US employer or business to self-petition.

What Are the Other Benefits of EB-1A Visas?

The EB-1A visa for foreign nationals possessing extraordinary abilities has several advantages over other employment-based visas.

These include:

  • All visas are current
  • Applicants are allowed to self-petition
  • Applicants can request a National Interest Waiver (NIW)
  • No job offer or permanent job position is required
  • There is no requirement for a labor certification

What Documents Are Needed to Apply for an EB-1A Visa in the United States?

You must submit adequate and convincing evidence in your EB-1A application. Without proper evidence, your visa application may not be approved. Depending on your unique immigration case, you may require different pieces of documentation and evidence. We encourage prospective applicants to contact our law firm for legal help determining the proper documentation to include in their application.

With that said, here is a list of general documents that you may consider including in your visa application:

  • A signed statement regarding the work you plan to do during your time in the United States
  • Endorsements and letters of recommendation from professionals in your field
  • Convincing evidence of your extraordinary abilities, such as publications, awards, high salary pay stubs, citations, and other such evidence
  • Copies of your passport, as well as the passports of your family members
  • Your professional résumé

Is it Difficult to Get an EB-1A Petition Approved?

It can be a complicated legal process to self-petition for an employment-based green card in the United States immigration system. There are several potential hurdles that you may face, and it is highly recommended that you do not face them alone. Our legal team stands ready to provide compassionate and knowledgeable legal assistance to you during this difficult time.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of an EB-1A visa application is demonstrating your eligibility for the visa program. Some applicants struggle to gather comprehensive documentation to prove they are qualified and eligible. Our immigration attorneys will work closely to help you present convincing evidence for your case.

In addition to the lengthy processing times for this visa category, the USCIS may also request additional evidence for more information or clarification.

Contact Us to Schedule an In-Depth Case Evaluation with Our Experienced Legal Team

Our Seattle law firm has years of experience helping clients pursue their immigration dreams, including those with extraordinary abilities that could benefit the United States of America.

We would be proud to represent your legal rights throughout the immigration process as you pursue an employment-based visa and green card. To learn more about how we can assist you during your journey, please contact our law offices to schedule your case review today.

You may reach us at 206-558-6288.

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