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Frequently Asked Questions for EB1-A (Alien of Extraordinary Ability)

EB1-A Overview Legal Fees of EB1-A Processing of EB1-A EB1-A FAQs

What is EB-1A (Alien of Extraordinary Ability)?

EB1-A is one of the categories of first-preference, employment-based immigration, which benefits foreign nationals who have reached the top of their field of endeavor. A foreign national under this classification will not need a labor certification. In addition, all visas are current, so the foreign national does not need to wait for the priority date to become current before he or she can obtain a Green Card after the case is approved. In addition, a job offer is not required under this category. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

Who qualifies as an alien of extraordinary ability?

An alien of extraordinary ability is an alien who has extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim, and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation. In addition, the foreign person is seeking to enter the United States to continue to work in the field of endeavor that is the subject of the acclaim, and the presence of the foreign person and his or her activity will benefit the United States. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

What does “extraordinary ability“ mean?

The phrase “extraordinary ability“ means a level of expertise indicating that the individual is one of that small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

Who can file a petition under EB-1A?

The foreign national may file his or her own petition with USCIS for classification in this preference. Or, if the foreign national is employed, his or her employer can file the petition as a sponsor of the foreign national. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

What form is used to petition under EB-1A?

Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) is used to file a petition under EB-1A Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

Is a labor certification required before the filing of an I-140?

No labor certification is required before the I-140 filing for all categories of EB-1. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

Is a job offer required for EB-1A?

No. A job offer is not required under this category and the foreign national does not need an employer sponsor to file the petition. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

What are the major advantages of applying under EB-1A?

Major advantages of EB-1A classification are:

  1. No labor certification is required.
  2. No job offer or permanent job position is required.
  3. Self-petition is allowed.
  4. All visas are current.

So, it is much faster to obtain a Green Card in this category than others. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

How difficult is it to have an EB-1A petition approved?

The burden of proof in EB-1A cases rests solely with the petitioner. The petitioner has to provide substantial evidence of the three out of ten regulatory criteria the alien is attempting to satisfy or evidence of a one-time major prize. If a beneficiary is qualified, the probability of success depends largely on the way the case is presented. The approval rate for EB-1A cases in 2010 was 62%. Overall, the approval rate for EB-1A is steadily rising. (See approval rates from 2005 to 2010). EB-1A petitions filed by North America Immigration Law Group have had an approval rate of nearly 100%. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

What eligibility criteria should be identified for EB-1A petitions?

For EB-1A cases, identify which of the ten regulatory criteria the alien is attempting to satisfy and the relevant evidence for each individual criterion. In addition, provide a statement and evidence that the alien beneficiary is coming to the U.S. to continue to be employed in his or her area of sustained national or international acclaim. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

How can a petition establish that the foreign national has sustained national or international acclaim for his or her achievements?

The USCIS requires that the petitioner present extensive documentation to establish the alien's extraordinary ability. National or international acclaim can be demonstrated by receipt of a major internationally recognized award such as the Nobel Prize or the Academy Award. Alternatively, the foreign person must provide at least three of the following types of evidence:

  1. Receipt of a lesser national or international prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor.
  2. Membership in associations in the field which require outstanding achievement as a condition of membership.
  3. Published material about the foreign person in professional or major trade publications, or other major media. (These items must include the title, date, author, and must be translated into English.),
  4. The foreign person's participation, on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or a related field.
  5. Evidence of original scientific, scholarly, artistic, or business-related contributions of major significance in the petitioner's field.. For those in a scientific or scholarly field, this evidence will usually be through publications.
  6. Authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional journals, or other major media (national newspapers, magazines, etc.).
  7. Display of the petitioner's work at artistic exhibitions or showcases.
  8. Performance in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation.
  9. Evidence that the foreign person commands a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field.
  10. Commercial success in the performing arts as shown by box office receipts or sales records, cassette, compact disc, or video sales, or other comparable evidence if the above types of evidence do not readily apply to the alien's occupation.

What evidence is needed to establish that the foreign person is seeking to enter the United States to continue to work in the field of endeavor that is the subject of the acclaim?

Under the USCIS regulations, to establish the foreign person's requisite intent to continue work in his or her field, the petitioner is required to present letters from prospective employers, evidence of prearranged commitments, such as contracts, or a statement from the foreign national detailing his or her plans for continuing work in the field in the United States. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

What evidence is needed to establish that the presence of the foreign person and his or her activity will benefit the United States?

With regard to this requirement, the USCIS regulations do not require the foreign person to document separately that his or her admission will substantially benefit the United States. This requirement is normally met through satisfying the other statutory requirements. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

What constitutes a major internationally recognized prize or award and lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards?

The legislative history indicates that a major, international prize is an award such as Nobel Prize. The AAO (Administrative Appeals Office) opines that other examples of one-time awards which enjoy truly international recognition may include the Pulitzer Prize, the Academy Award, and the Olympic Gold Medal. The AAO concluded that these prizes were household names recognized immediately even among the general public as being the highest possible honors in the respective fields.

Although evidence of receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards is a lower standard than evidence of a major internationally recognized prize, the petitioner still has the burden to submit substantial evidence proving the prizes or awards are nationally or internationally recognized ones. With regard to the receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards, evidence should be submitted regarding the number of person nominated, a description of the prize or award and whether it is for team work or an individual performance. USCIS has made the following rulings concerning this evidence requirement:

  1. Academic scholarships or grants do not suffice;
  2. Evidence should be submitted regarding how many individuals were nominated for an award or prize and the criteria for eligibility;
  3. A team award is less valuable than individual award; and
  4. Local awards do not suffice.

See the difference between a major internationally recognized prize and lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards . Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

What documentation concerning the foreign person's membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought should be submitted?

With regard to membership in selective associations, the AAO has reiterated that documentation must be submitted regarding the membership criteria. Information to establish that the individuals who review prospective members’ applications are recognized as national or international experts in their disciplines or fields should also be submitted. A petitioner must show that the association requires outstanding achievement as an essential condition for admission to membership. Membership in trade unions or provincial organizations will not be given any weight. Similarly, membership requirements based on employment or activity in a given field, a fixed minimum amount of education or experience, standardized test scores, grade point averages, recommendations by colleagues or current members, or payment of dues do not satisfy this criterion because they do not constitute outstanding achievements. Moreover, membership in an association that evaluates its membership applications at the local chapter level would not qualify. In short, the overall prestige of a given association is not determinative. The key is the membership requirements, rather than the association's overall reputation. The record must reflect that the organization requires outstanding achievements of its general membership. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

What constitutes evidence of published material about the foreign person in professional or major trade publications or major newspapers?

Published materials about the applicant must show that the applicant's work has been covered in detail by major media or national broadcast networks. The clippings supplied should contain the title or date of the publications. No weight will be given to local publications.

Little weight will be given to clippings about projects or productions in which the petitioner had been involved when the applicant is given little attention in the article. For example, a foreign person does not earn national or international acclaim by being an unnamed cast member in a widely publicized play. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

How should a petition present evidence of the foreign person'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?

Assertions that the alien has led workshops, sat on panels, and performed and led audience discussion groups at national festivals and conferences must be accompanied by explanations as to how these activities constitute judging the work of others. In addition, all claimed participation must be documented. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

What standard does the government use concerning the evidence of the foreign person's original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field?

With regard to contributions in the field, the AAO takes the position that the evidence should not merely show that the applicant has been “successful“ in his or her field; the record should establish that the applicant's contributions in the field set him or her significantly above others in her field. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

What standard does the government use concerning evidence of the foreign person's authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional or major trade publications or other major media?

First of all, articles written by the foreign person must be published in nationally or internationally circulated journals. In addition, the article has to be published in prestigious journals where strict selection applies. USCIS has ruled that when evidence of publication of scholarly articles is presented for a field in which it is normal for persons to publish articles, the articles may have little value in proving that the applicant “is one of the small percentage who have risen to the very top“ of that field of endeavor. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

What document should be submitted as evidence that the foreign person has performed in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation?

Evidence regarding the alien's importance within the organization or that the organization has a distinguished reputation should be submitted in a form of affidavit or other documentation. The AAO has also implied that even if the applicant has performed a leading role in a production or project, further evidence must be submitted that the production or project was successful. Evidence that the applicant is being considered for major roles or projects will be given little or no weight since the alien must establish eligibility for EB-1 status as of the time of filing the petition. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

How should a petition establish that the foreign person has commanded a high salary or other significantly high remuneration for services, in relation to others in the field?

Whether the salary received by the applicant is consistent with the salary received by top persons in the field must be determined by comparison to other persons with a similar role, position, or expertise as the alien. In making such a comparison, factors other than ability must be taken into consideration in determining the applicant's comparative salary. In addition, evidence of receipt of high compensation for one project or performance is insufficient to justify a general finding that the applicant commands a high salary. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

Will other evidence considered by the USCIS in addition to the listed types for the purpose of establishing the national or international acclaim of a foreign national?

Yes, other comparable evidence will be considered if the above types of evidence do not readily apply to the alien's occupation. The regulation leaves the term “comparable evidence“ undefined, providing flexibility to the employer and alien in an extraordinary ability case to document the alien's qualifications. Under the criteria set forth above, the USCIS reserves the flexibility to require that more than three categories of evidence be submitted in a particular case. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

How should I argue an EB1-A case to boost the chance of approval?

Define the field narrowly. With regard to the requirement that the foreign person represent a “small percentage who has risen to the very top“ of the field of endeavor, the actual field of endeavor must be defined before determining whether the foreign person has extraordinary ability in that field. If the field is narrowly defined, it is easier to argue that the foreign person has risen to the top of the field.

It is important to remember that if your field of endeavor is narrowly defined, it is more likely that you will have risen to the top of your field. Consider the following example: Our client, Mr. Li, was a PhD student in the program of computer science, focusing his research on terahertz application. As a student, it was difficult to argue that Mr. Li had risen to the very top of the field of terahertz application given that he still needed the instruction of his professor. However, Mr. Li had obtained his master's degree in integrated circuit design and accumulated quite a few papers in this field. As a result, our firm successfully defined his field as a combination of terahertz and IC design, exploring the application of terahertz with integrated circuits. Accordingly, USCIS approved Mr. Li's employment-based, first-preference immigrant visa as a priority worker of extraordinary ability where Mr. Li submitted evidence sufficient to demonstrate that he was among the top researchers in the field who combines the expertise of IC design and terahertz application. Had Mr. Li defined his field more broadly, such as “outstanding researcher in the field of terahertz application”, his credibility as an expert in both fields would have been diminished.

Take Advantage of your Previous Education Background and Working Experience

Most applicants seeking to qualify under EB-1A have received their bachelor's or master's degrees in their own country. Many of them have substantial work experience. These are essential in defining their endeavors in the applicant's petition letter. By defining the filed narrowly and specifically, the argument that the applicant is one of few experts in the field and that the applicant has risen to the very top of the endeavor is more convincing. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

How should I present my evidence of being “extraordinary“?

One way to address USCIS questions about whether the foreign person “is one of the small percentage who have risen to the very top“ of his or her field is to present evidence that provides a basis for comparison between the foreign person and those persons who are average or typical in the field. For example, if the applicant is in a field in which publication of scholarly articles is typical, evidence could be presented that the applicant's articles have appeared in the most prestigious journals in the field, have been the subject of peer review in such journals, or have been widely cited in other scholarly articles.

Second, compare the applicant’s qualifications to those of the applicant in approved cases. Although USCIS tried to downplay comparison to other approved cases in the same field of endeavor, the court pointed out that the agency rules themselves make comparison with others in the field the controlling standard for awarding extraordinary ability status. Therefore, how USCIS has treated other persons in the field with comparable qualifications is highly relevant to an extraordinary ability case. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

What is the two-part approach taken by the USCIS adjudicators?

In 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reviewed the denial of a petition filed under the classification of EB-1A, the Kazarian case. The AAO determined that the Kazarian case sets forth a two-part approach :

Step 1: The adjudicator must determine whether a beneficiary has submitted evidence to meet the criteria for the immigration classification he or she is seeking as required by the USCIS rules.

A petition for an EB1-A extraordinary ability alien, for example, must include evidence of receipt of a major internationally recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize, Academy Award or Pulitzer Prize, or at least three out of the ten types of evidence listed in the rules. In determining whether the applicant has received a major award (quite unusual) or meets at least three listed criteria, adjudicators look at evidence provided to determine how many evidentiary criteria have been satisfied. Basically in the first step, an adjudicator does not look at the quality of the evidence, but merely decides if sufficient evidence has been submitted to satisfy the prongs claimed. After deciding at least three evidentiary criteria or one major evidentiary criterion has been satisfied, the adjudicator can proceed to the second step.

Step 2: After an adjudicator determines that the petition has satisfied the requirements in the first step, he or she must consider all of the submitted evidence in totality to make a determination as to whether the foreign national meets the requisite level of expertise for the category. In this phase, the adjudicator evaluates all the evidence and determines if, cumulatively, it proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the I-140 beneficiary satisfies the general definition of the category.

For example, an adjudicator for EB-1A case has to determine, in totality, whether the applicant is at the very top of his or her field of endeavor. In making this determination, the quality of the evidence is considered. For example, if evidence submitted for the criterion regarding judging others' work, an internal judging responsibility is inferior to an external responsibility. If the evidence is scholarly articles, the number of citations of the material is an appropriate consideration in the final merits determination. To sum up, the two-step analysis does not substantially deviate from the standard USCIS uses to determine the merits of a petition. The quality of the evidence submitted is still essential for an adjudicator to decide on an application. However, our firm changed our petition format immediately after the release of the USCIS memo to adapt to the new approach and expedite the approval of our clients' cases.

Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

Can I request Premium Processing for my I-140 petition?

Yes. If you are requesting Premium Processing Service for Form I-140, you must also file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service. Send Form I-140 and I-907 together to the address listed in the Form I-907 filing instructions. Do NOT send requests for Premium Processing to a Lockbox facility. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

Can I request Premium Processing when my I-140 is pending?

Yes. If you have already filed Form I-140 and you wish to request Premium Processing Service, file Form I-907 with the Service Center where your Form I-140 is pending. See Form I-907 filing instructions for further information. Do NOT send requests for Premium Processing to a Lockbox facility. You must include a copy of Form I-797C, Notice of Action, which shows your Form I-140 was accepted, or a copy of the transfer notice, if applicable, showing the location of Form I-140. To ensure that Form I-907 is matched up with the pending Form I-140, you must fully answer questions 1 through 5 in Part 2 of Form I-907. If this information is not provided, Form I-907 will be rejected. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

What Is the filing fee for I-140?

The USCIS filing fee for Form I-140 is $700. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

How about my family? Are they also beneficiaries of my I-140 petition?

Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 are derivative beneficiaries if your I-140 is approved. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

How many publications are sufficient to meet EB-1A requirements?

There is no specific minimum publication requirement; rather, whether the petitioner meets this criterion is determined by USCIS on a case-by-case basis. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

Can I file an EB-1A petition and petition for other categories simultaneously?

Yes. But you have to file a separate Form I-140, with the required fee and supporting documentation for each requested visa category. Do not check multiple categories on one I-140 Form. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

How can a petition be filed?

An I-140 Form can be filed electronically or by mail. But, supporting evidence has to be sent to the service center. If you are e-filing Form I-140, it will automatically be routed to the appropriate Service Center, and you will receive a receipt indicating the location to which it was routed. For e-filed petitions, it is very important to review your filing receipt and receipt number and make note of the receiving location. All further communication, including submission of supporting documents, must be directed to the receiving location indicated on your e-filing receipt. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

Does priority date matter in a EB-1A case?

No, because all visas are current. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

Can a petition be withdrawn?

Yes, the petitioner or the Form G-28 representative may send a letter to USCIS requesting to withdraw the I-140 petition. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

How can a petitioner request the withdrawal of a Form I-140 petition?

The petitioner or the Form G-28 representative may send a letter to USCIS requesting to withdraw the I-140 petition. Withdrawal requests should include:

  1. A statement indicating that the Form I-140 petitioner wishes to withdraw the petition;
  2. The Form I-140 petition receipt number;
  3. The name, address and phone number of the petitioner;
  4. The name of the alien beneficiary;
  5. The alien registration number of the alien beneficiary, if known;
  6. The petitioner's signature or that of the Form G-28 representative.

Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

If an EB-1A petition is rejected or denied, how long do I have to wait to file again under EB-1A or another category?

The law does not contain restrictions regarding when can file a new EB-1A petition after the rejection of a previous filing. A previously rejected petition does not bar you from submitting another petition subsequently, regardless which classification is concerned. However, unless your circumstances have improved, it is not advisable to simply submit a similar petition again because it is unlikely your case will be approved. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

How should evidence accompanying the petition be organized?

Follow the tips below for organizing the evidence:

  1. Provide all required documentation and evidence with the petition when filed. Form I-140 petitions may be denied without issuing a request for evidence in instances where the required evidence described in the instructions and regulations are not initially provided.
  2. If providing photocopies of documents, provide clear legible copies.
  3. All foreign language documents must be submitted with a corresponding English translation. The English translation must be certified by a translator who is competent to translate and must verify in writing that “the translation is true and accurate to the best of the translator's abilities”. It is helpful if the English translation is stapled to the foreign language document.
  4. If documenting the alien's publications or citations of the alien beneficiary's work, highlight the alien's name in the relevant articles. It is not necessary to send the full copy of a dissertation, thesis, or research paper written by the alien beneficiary, or one in which the alien beneficiary's work has been cited. Include the title page and the portion(s) that cite the alien's work and the “works cited“ or bibliography.
  5. Tab and label the evidentiary exhibits at the bottom of the first page of each exhibit, and provide a list of the evidentiary exhibits and the eligibility criteria that each exhibit is submitted to establish for petitions supported by a substantial amount of documentation. An exhibit that is being provided to meet multiple eligibility criteria should be so identified in the exhibit list.

Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

What is a letter of recommendation?

A letter of recommendation is also called reference letter, and it is a letter written by an expert in the alien's field or some otherwise authoritative person in an allied or related field. Recommendation letters are essential in petitions for employment-based immigration benefits. Given that adjudicating officers are rarely experts in an academic field, the only way for them to determine whether you qualify for the standard set by the law (extraordinary ability) is looking at evidence submitted. A recommendation letter is among the most important evidence. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

Whom should I contact to obtain letters of recommendation?

The USCIS takes the position that an individual with international recognition should be able to produce ample unsolicited materials reflecting that acclaim. Therefore, recommendation letters from independent and outside sources carry more weight because they are proof of the alien's accomplishments. If an alien's contributions are not praised widely outside his or her current and former circle of acquaintances, then it cannot be concluded that he or she has earned sustained international recognition. Therefore, the government will not give as much weight to letters from the alien's immediate circle of colleagues submitted in support of the criterion of original contributions of major significance in the field. But, recommenders from your inner circle can be great candidates if they are distinguished experts or authorities in your field of endeavor.

In addition to being an expert in the field of your endeavor, it is best if the person writing you a recommendation letter knows about your research and contributions enough to specifically address them in the recommendation letter. Therefore, although someone who has a prominent reputation in the field of your endeavor will be a better candidate than someone from your immediate circle of acquaintances, a perfect candidate will be an expert familiarizing himself or herself with your contributions. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

What information should be included in the recommendation letters?

The following should be included in a recommendation letter:

  1. Qualifications of the recommender: A recommendation letter needs to include a description of the drafter. If the drafter comments on the foreign person's achievements or research, a statement should be included in the support letter that establishes the qualifications of the individual to judge the foreign beneficiary's work.
  2. Helpful testimonials from experts: Expert testimonials regarding your accomplishments are crucial to your petition. However, keep in mind that expert testimonials should bolster the argument that you meet the standard set by law, i.e., that you have a degree of expertise above that ordinarily encountered in your field. Evidence that merely establishes your competence or which fails to set you apart from other persons in the field does not support your case because it carries little weight and may actually be used to deny the petition.
  3. Substantive information: A good recommendation letter should point out the high level of unique expertise the foreign beneficiary possesses. If it is a recommendation letter from an employer or professor of the foreign beneficiary, it should specify the work the foreign national is responsible for and the requirements of the job. Although a job offer is not required for priority workers, a recommendation letter from an employer can cite to such a position to establish that very few individuals can fill the offered position (i.e., only top individuals in the field or those with exceptional ability can perform the duties required for the position) and the foreign beneficiary is one of these few individuals. In addition, recommendation letters that briefly discuss the petitioner's activities and describe him or her as a knowledgeable individual, but lack specific information regarding how the petitioner's contributions had significantly and consistently influenced the field are insufficient.

Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

How many recommendation letters are needed?

There is no specific number of letters set forth by the USCIS. You should generally include three to seven letters of recommendation in an EB-1 case. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

What assistance does your firm provide concerning drafting recommendation letters??

Letters of recommendation are hard to draft. Yet good letters of recommendation will substantially boost the chance that your petition will be successful. After you retain us, our firm will help you obtain good recommendation letters step by step:

  1. We will provide detailed information concerning the recommendation letters and walk you through the purpose, format and content of recommendation letters.
  2. We will discuss with you potential candidates to write your recommendation letters.
  3. You provide us detailed information pertaining to the credentials and expertise of the recommenders, your connections, the relationships between your research and theirs, etc.
  4. After receiving the information you provide, our attorneys and legal team will draft the recommendation letters for you.
  5. You send the recommendation letters to the recommenders for them to review and sign.
  6. Before we submit the petition, we will review those substantially changed recommendation letters to see if it is necessary to ask the recommender to sign an updated version.

Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

What if I change jobs while my EB1-A petition is pending?

If you petition for yourself, changing employers will have no effect upon the status of your case, and your petition will remain active. If your employer sponsors your petition, a new petition may need to be filed. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

May a Ph.D. student apply under EB1-A? What is the success rate?

Our firm has successfully petitioned for Ph.D. students to obtain Green Cards in the EB1-A category. Many people may think that Ph.D. students still need the instruction of their professors. So, it is difficult to argue that they have reached the very top of the endeavor. However, there are tips for defining the field of the endeavor to make it easier to demonstrate that one has reached the very top of the field of endeavor. To learn more about the tips, please read my blog article, “Qualifications of Aliens of Extraordinary Ability-Have you Risen to the Very Top of your Endeavor?“ In our experience, the success rate of Ph.D. students petitioning for EB1-A immigration benefits is about the same as other applicants. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

May an F-1 student visa holder petition under EB1-A? Or, do I have to wait to apply for the Green Card until after my graduation and changing my visa status to H-1B?

The F-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa. But this does not mean that an F-1 visa holder is not allowed to apply for a Green Card. While it is true that an F-1 visa holder cannot have dual intent when applying for the nonimmigrant visa, a holder of a non-immigrant visa, such as F-1 and J-1, may change his or her intent after receiving a nonimmigrant visa. It is not true that a non-immigrant visa holder must change his or her visa type to a nonimmigrant visa such as H or L visa, which allows dual intent, before a Green Card petition can be filed. Generally speaking, anyone can file an immigration petition at any time if he or she meets the qualification requirements. But, if your current F-1 visa time is not long enough for you to finish your degree, it is better to wait to file the Green Card application until you have extended your F-1 visa. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

What is the real difference between NIW and EB-1A petitions? Is it possible to file two petitions, such as a NIW and an EB-1A, at the same time?

The requirements for NIW and EB1-A are different and the application preparation is significantly different between these two classifications. Successful NIW cases are not limited to those foreign nationals who have risen to the very top of their field. However, presenting materials in support of the petition that frame the case in the most favorable light will aid approval for both of the groups. For example, it is important that the petitioner construe the foreign national's field as narrowly as is possible, while maintaining credibility. By narrowing the frame of reference, the foreign national will be compared to a much smaller set of U.S. peers. However, the foreign beneficiary’s field should not be narrowed to the extent that the AAO might find the petition to be suspect. The definition of the foreign beneficiary's field of expertiseshould be supported by documentation. Once an I-140 is approved, there is no major difference between these two classifications for the I-485 application later. It is possible to file two petitions, such as a NIW and an EB1-A, at the same time. Some foreign nationals file two I-140 petitions simultaneously in EB-1 and NIW. There is nothing in the law that prohibits multiple filings. Actually, multiple filings increase the chances that at least one I-140 petition will be approved. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

If I do not have published articles in journals within my field, may I still apply under EB-1A? Do I need sponsorship from my current employer for an EB-1A petition?

Yes. There is no specific requirement that you need to have published articles in order to apply under or obtain approval of an EB-1A petition, although in many instances publications would help improve chances of approval because publications help to establish your original contribution and authorship. You can still support your case by providing evidence that satisfies other criteria listed by the law. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

If I do not have any awards in my field, may I still file under EB-1A?

If you do not have any awards in your field, you can still file under EB-1A. There is no specific requirement that you must have awards in order to apply under or obtain approval of an EB-1 petition, although in many instances awards would help improve chances of approval by satisfying one of the criteria listed by the law. You can still support your case by providing evidence that satisfies other criteria listed by the law. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

I am a J-1 holder subjected to the two-year foreign country residency requirement. May I apply under EB-1A now, and get my J-1 waiver later?

Yes, you can apply under EB-1A now, and get your J-1 waiver later. Even with an I-140 approval, you are still subject to the two-year foreign country residence requirement, and need to get the J-1 waiver or satisfy the two-year foreign residence requirement before you can adjust your status to permanent resident. You do not need to have a J-1 waiver before submitting an I-140 petition. The two-year foreign residency requirement does not allow you to adjust the status from J-1 to permanent residency, but it does not prevent you from submitting an I-140 petition. Also, you may prepare for I-140 and J-1 waiver concurrently. If you receive an I-140 approval before a J-1 waiver, you will need to wait for the J-1 waiver to submit the I-485 application for adjustment of status. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.

What is your firm’s legal fee for EB-1A cases?

We charge a flat attorney fee of $5,500 for I-140s eligible for our "Approval or Refund" service. With the comprehensive service provided, we North America Immigration Law Group still keeps the attorneys' fee affordable and reasonable. Our goal is to make every qualified foreign beneficiary realize their American dreams within their means. Answer provided by North America Immigration Law Group.