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EB-1A Visa: For Individuals of Extraordinary Ability

The EB-1A visa is tailored for remarkable foreign talents in domains like sciences, arts, education, business, and athletics and it presents an exciting opportunity for accomplished individuals in these areas to file a green card case with an employer or via the self-sponsor option. This visa demands meeting stringent benchmarks that highlight your exceptional capabilities and you must substantiate your global or national recognition for your achievements, affirming your position as a top leader in your chosen field.

Common Questions And Answers About EB-1A Visas

What criteria do I need to meet if I want to apply for the EB-1A visa? Are those hard to meet?

Extraordinary ability can be demonstrated by receipt of a major internationally recognized award such as the Nobel Prize or the Academy Award. This one is very hard to meet for most people.

Alternatively, however, there are relatively easier criteria available for most of the EB-1A applicants. For these criteria, you must meet three out of the 10 criteria below and showcase how you are a top level, accomplished expert in your field to prove your extraordinary ability:

  • Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
  • Your membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members
  • Published material about you in professional or major trade publications or any other major media
  • That you have been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel
  • Proof of your original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic or business-related contributions of major significance to the field
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or any other major media
  • Your work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases
  • Evidence of your performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
  • You command a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field
  • Commercial successes in the performing arts

Some of the criteria may not apply to some fields. For example, “evidence of your commercial successes in the performing arts” will not apply to a biologist who wants to apply EB-1A for himself. Since you only need to meet three criteria to proceed your EB-1A case, the selection of the criteria is crucial to your case.

Is EB-1A only available to self-petitioners? Would involving an employer be beneficial?

You do not need a U.S. employer to file the petition for you as the EB-1A petition is available for self-petitioning. However, it could potentially be helpful to work with a U.S. employer as the petitioner if you have a prospective U.S. employer who is willing to hire you to work in your field or if you are currently working in the U.S. in your field and your employer is willing to assist in providing evidence that you are a top-level expert. Working with your current or prospective employer to provide evidence can also help satisfy the EB-1A requirement that you intend to continue working in your field of expertise.

After approval of my O-1 petition. I heard that EB-1A has similar criteria to O-1. Is it certain that I get the EB-1A approval after applying for it?

No. The approval of an O-1 petition does not compel USCIS to approve an EB-1A petition. Actually, the standard for EB-1A is much higher. The approval of O-1 may be a “relevant” consideration.

Can I apply EB-1A for myself while I am outside of the U.S?

Yes, you can. If your EB-1A case gets approved, you can get your EB-1A visa through the U.S. Consulate in your country. We offer support for the Consular Processing pathway should you decide to apply for this visa while abroad.

How long does it take to get the result for my EB-1A petition?

EB-1A cases can undergo premium or normal processing.

Normal case processing times vary based on the number of cases that USCIS must adjudicate at any given time. For the most up to date estimates for case processing times, please see USCIS’s website on this topic here: The relevant form to look up is called Form I-140, the Form Category is “Extraordinary Ability (E11),” and the Field Office where the case is filed will depend on whether you request Premium Processing and where you are located. The Field Office where your case should be sent can be verified through USCIS’s website here:

Premium Processing is also available for EB-1A cases for an additional fee. EB-1A cases filed with Premium Processing are guaranteed by USCIS to be adjudicated within 15 days of when they are received.

After my EB-1A petition is approved, when can I get my green card?

After receiving the I-140 approval, you will need to file the form I-485 to adjust your status to permanent resident or file the form DS-260 to apply for an immigrant visa abroad to get your green card. However, even if you receive the approval for your EB-1A case, you may still need to wait for some period of time before you can file the second part of your green card application. This depends on when your priority date becomes current according to the dates listed on the visa bulletin for people from your country. We can assist you in determining when you should file your green card applications. Finally, once you receive an approved I-485 or DS-260 and complete all required steps, you will officially become a legal permanent resident in the U.S. We will happily assist you or your family members in preparing your permanent residency application to obtain a green card once you are at this stage.

What is the filing fee for an EB-1A petition?

EB-1A petitions require the Form I-140 to be filed. The current filing fee can be confirmed on USCIS’s website here: If you would like to use Premium Processing service for your case, the current cost can also be verified with USCIS on its website here:

Does a labor certification need to be filed as well?

No, labor certifications are not required for a EB-1C visa.

Is there an advantage in filing an EB-1A Visa application?

Yes, there is no need to file a labor certification and it is often much faster to obtain a green card in this category compared to other approaches.

Can my family join me with green cards if my EB-1A is approved?

Yes, your spouse and unmarried children under 21 can also get green cards based on your case if you are approved.

If I have more questions on an EB-1A visas?

Please feel free to contact us for a free initial case evaluation. You may also call us at 408-606-8911. We would be happy to answer any questions regarding EB-1A that you may have. Fok Immigration Law can also help you with temporary employment or other permanent employment visas.