Those with extraordinary ability, who are at the very top of their field of endeavor, may qualify for permanent residence without a sponsor and without a labor certification.
Extraordinary Ability Requirements
To qualify, the person must:
- Possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated through sustained national or international acclaim and recognized through extensive documentation,
- Seek to continue working in the United States in the area of extraordinary ability, and
- Show that his or her work will substantively benefit the United States in the future.
To prove sustained national or international acclaim, the person must show either a major, internationally recognized award or at least three of the following:
- Lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor
- Membership in associations in the respective field, which require outstanding achievement of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their fields
- Published material about the person in professional or major trade publications or other major media, relating to the person’s work in the field
- Participation (either individually or on a panel) as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied field
- 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 of the person’s work at artistic exhibitions or showcases
- Peformance in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation
- A 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 media sales
Extraordinary Ability Process
There are two parts to filing for permanent residence in an EB1 category, the I-140 Immigrant Visa Petition and the application for permanent residence, which may be either an I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status for persons in the United States or a Form DS-230 Immigrant Visa Application for persons abroad. Since there is usually no shortage of visas available in the EB1 category, the I-140 and I-485 may be filed concurrently.
The processing time for the I-140 is currently about four months for this category. The I-485 application may take six months to a year to process.
Once the I-485 application for permanent residence is filed, the person is eligible for a work permit. The person’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 are also eligible to apply for permanent residence, whether they are in the United States or abroad. If they are in the United States, they are eligible for work permits as well.