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Qualifications of EB1-A “Aliens with Extraordinary Ability “ — Have you Risen to the Very Top of your Endeavor?

by WeGreened 01/20/2011

Federal regulations define “extraordinary ability “ as a level of expertise indicating the individual is one of a small percentage who has risen to the very top of a particular field in the sciences, arts, education, business, and athletics.

Why Apply under the Category of EB1-A?

There are primarily two advantages of applying immigration benefits under the category of EB1-A.

  1. No Labor Certification or Employer Sponsor is Required
    Among the many advantages of the employment-based category EB1-A, first of all, a specific job offer is not required for a foreign person in this group, as long as the foreign person is entering the United States to continue work in the field in which he or she has extraordinary ability. So self-petition is allowed. Moreover, a labor certification not required. Obtaining a labor certification is a long and complicated process. EB1-A application therefore saves an applicant lots of time.
  2. Visas for EB1-A are all Current
    This is the benefit for all first preference employment-based categories. Immigrant visas remain immediately available for all countries in the first employment-based (EB-1) preference category. In its latest projections, the State Department has indicated that it is unlikely that there will be any cut-off dates in the EB-1 preference during the coming months. This makes substantial difference for people born in China or India.

What is “Very top of the Endeavor “?

“Extraordinary ability “ is defined as a level of expertise indicating that the foreign person is one of a small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor and that the foreign person's achievements have been recognized in the field of expertise. In addition, the foreign person has sustained national or international acclaim and that the foreign person's achievements have been recognized in the field of expertise.

Tips to Define the Field of Endeavor

  1. Define your Field of Endeavor Narrowly
    With regard to the requirement that the foreign person represent a “small percentage “ who has risen to the “very 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. 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. Take one of our clients as an example. Mr. Li is a PhD student in the program of computer science, focusing his research on terahertz application. Given that Mr. Li is still a student under the tutelage of his professor, it is difficult to argue that he has risen to the very top of the field of terahertz application. 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 circuit. 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.
  2. Take Advantage of your Previous Education Background and Working Experience
    Most applicants seeking immigration benefits of EB1-A have received their bachelor's or master's degrees in their own country. Many of them have substantial working experience. These are essential in defining their endeavors in the applicant's petition letter. By defining the filed narrowly and specifically, it is more convincing to argue that the applicant is one of few experts in the field and the applicant has risen to the very top of the endeavor.
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