EB-1: Persons of Extraordinary Ability

EB-1: Persons of Extraordinary Ability
Persons of Extraordinary Ability is one category within the EB-1 classification. A special advantage of the Extraordinary Ability category is that the applicant can self-petition, which means that he/she does not need to be sponsored by an employer or have a specific job offer.

It is important to remember that the Persons of Extraordinary Ability category is narrow, intended for the small number of people who are at the very top of their field. This category is for individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. A person’s extraordinary ability must be shown by national or international acclaim and their achievements must be recognized throughout their field.

How does an applicant meet this high standard?

  1. Received a major international award, such as a Nobel Prize.
  2. Otherwise, the applicant must document any three of the following:
    1. Received lesser national or internationally recognized prizes or awards.
    2. Membership in an association in the field which requires outstanding achievement of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts. Common examples of such organizations are those which require current members to nominate new members based on their achievements, such as Sigma Xi. Organizations that allow any professional to join upon payment of a membership fee do not meet this standard.
    3. Published material about the applicant in professional or major trade publications or other major media. Mere citations of an applicant’s work are not sufficient. The applicant and his/her research must be discussed in the text of an article or book.
    4. Participation as a judge of the work of others. This is usually as a peer reviewer of articles written by others. A recent federal court decision found that reviewing a dissertation could also count as meeting this standard. But grading student papers as a Teaching Assistant is not sufficient.
    5. Evidence of original scientific, scholastic, artistic, or business-related contributions of major significance. This category often has more weight than the others, because it is so important to showing national or international acclaim. One example of evidence that is often submitted for this category is U.S. patents that are used in the applicant’s field or cited by other researchers. Most applicants also request letters of reference from experts in their field to prove that their contributions have major significance.
    6. Authorship of scholarly articles in the field. The government is aware that, for many fields, publishing articles is something that all professionals do. It is therefore best if an applicant can show that his/her publication record is unique, perhaps because he/she is published in prestigious journals, his/her publications have had a big impact on the field, or he/she has published much more than the average professional.
    7. Artistic exhibitions or showcases.
    8. Performance in a leading or cultural role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation.
    9. High salary or remuneration in relation to others in the field.
    10. Commercial success in the performing arts.

Although officially an applicant only has to meet three of the listed categories, this may not be enough to prove sustained national or international acclaim. Additionally, weak evidence, such as only completing a single peer review, may result in the government dismissing the evidence for that category. Nevertheless, careful documentation and effective presentation can help an applicant to achieve the Extraordinary Ability designation. The government will judge all of the evidence submitted in light of whether or not it establishes sufficient national and/or international acclaim.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Arjun Verma have successfully represented individuals in this highly selective category. For an evaluation of whether you would fit into the Extraordinary Ability category, please contact us