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EB1A Extraordinary Ability

What is EB1A Extraordinary Ability?

EB1A extraordinary ability is an employment-based priority worker category for individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. Individuals must demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim and recognition in the field. Individuals must also seek to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability and show that the individual’s entry will substantially benefit the United States in the future. Extraordinary ability is defined as “a level of expertise indicating that the individual is one of that small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.”

EB1A does not require a job offer so an individual can self-petition for EB1A. Additionally, EB1A visa is immediately available under the current visa bulletin unlike some other visa categories. This means that an individual may concurrently file his or her EB1A petition with an application to adjust his or her status to a legal permanent resident (if in the U.S.) concurrently. This category is an especially attractive immigration solution for Indians and mainland born Chinese because EB1A visa is currently available and can obtain a green card relatively quickly, unlike EB2 or EB3 categories with substantial wait times.


Option 1: EB1A petition may be accompanied by evidence of a major, internationally recognized one-time achievement (e.g. Nobel prize).

Option 2: EB1A petition must meet at least 3 of the following categories:

  • Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor
  • Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts
  • Published material about the individual in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  • Participation, either individually or on a panel, as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field of specialization
  • Original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  • Display at artistic exhibitions or showcases
  • Performance in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation
  • High salary or other significantly high remuneration for services, in relation to others in the field
  • Commercial successes in the performing arts, as shown by box office receipts or record, cassette, CD, or video sales
  • Any other comparable evidence

Additionally, USCIS analyzes EB1A petition under the two-prong test in Kazarian v. USCIS, 596 F.3d 1115 (9th Cir. 2010). This test determines EB1A eligibility based on a two-step analysis:

  • First, as a threshold matter, an individual must at least meet the regulatory requirements of either a one-time achievement or at least three criteria (options 1 or 2 above)
  • Second, final merits determination must be performed based on all the evidence to show that the individual has demonstrated that he or she has sustained national or international acclaim and that his or her achievements have been recognized in the field of expertise, indicating that he or she is one of that small percentage who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.

EB1A case requires an experienced attorney to carefully evaluate and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each individual case and develop an individually tailored strategy that highlights the merits of each case. Our attorneys have the expertise and the experience to successfully guide you through the process.

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