EB-1A (Alien of Extraordinary Ability)

EB-1A Overview; Legal Fees of EB-1A; Processing of EB-1A; EB-1A FAQs 


A subcategory of first preference employment-based immigration (EB-1) is EB-1A or EB-1EA. Aria Law Group specializes in EB-1A (Alien of Extraordinary Ability) cases. This preference classification is for non-immigrants of extraordinary ability in the arts, athletics, business, education, or the sciences. As stated by federal immigration law, persons in this classification do not need to have a potential employer (unlike EB-1B, EB-1C, and other preference classes), but they should be planning to continue working in their area of work, and the client should significantly benefit the U.S. Additionally, the client must show that he/she received national or international approval with documented accomplishments. This is the most difficult requirement to verify. Because of our vast experience, Aria Law Group has formulated a specialized winning approach to completing the requirements of this prong. Attorneys must possess extraordinary petition skills and be willing to submit extensive evidence or order to be successful with extraordinary ability cases. Our clients can trust Aria Law Group with EB-1A cases.

Advantages: No Labor Certification Required, Self-Petition is Allowed

The employment-based classification EB-1A has many benefits. First, an offer of employment is not a requirement for a non-immigrant in this category as long as the non-immigrant is coming into the U.S. to remain working in the area in which he/she has extraordinary ability. Consequently, self-petition is permissible. Remember, just because self-petition is permissible does not mean you should choose to pursue a DIY petition. Immigration visa petition is a complex procedure and an Aria Law Group attorney is qualified to handle all the difficult legal matters. Aria Law Group has successfully filed numerous EB-1A cases.

Additionally, labor certification is not a requirement for EB-1A petitions. Labor certification is a lengthy procedure. Therefore, EB-1A applications may save a lot of time for an applicant. Consequently, Aria Law Group attorneys recommend that qualified clients apply for this classification.

Another advantage for everyone in the first preference employment-based classification is that visas for EB-1A remain current. Visas in the first employment-based preference classification EB-1 remain readily obtainable for clients from any country. Attorneys in the Aria Law Group believe it is doubtful that there will be any changes in the EB-1 preference status in the near future.

Qualifications of an EB-1A Petitioner

To qualify for an EB-1A visa, the client must demonstrate the following: the non-resident has received national or international commendations for his/her accomplishments, the non-resident is pursuing entrance to the U.S. to continue working in the area of expertise in which he/she received achievements, and that permanent residence of the non-immigrant and his/her work will improve the U.S. Contact Aria Law Group if there are any questions concerning these three conditions. Visit this link to read Qualification of EB-1A Alien of Extraordinary Ability.

Definitions and Evidence of “Extraordinary Ability“

Federal guidelines describe “extraordinary ability“ as “a level of expertise indicating the individual is one of a small percentage who have risen to the very top of a particular field in the sciences, arts, education, business, and athletics”. The law specifies that an individual with “extraordinary ability” has gained national and international recognition. National or international recognition can be proven by being awarded an important internationally acknowledged accolade such as Nobel Prize or an Academy Award. Immigration law states that the client must supply three or more of the evidence types listed:

Acceptance of less important nationally or internationally documented awards or honors for distinction in the relevant area of expertise.

Inclusion in an organization that demands exceptional accomplishment as a requirement of participation in the area in which the classification is pursued.

Printed articles concerning the non-resident or his or her work in trade journals, professional publications, or key media publications. (The citations must contain a title, date, author, and English translation)

The non-resident’s work as an expert judge of the work of colleagues in the related area of expertise, either as an individual or part of a group

Proof of creative contributions, generally publications, of key importance in the non-resident’s field of expertise from either athletics, science, scholastic, or the arts

Writing of academic publications in the field of expertise, in professional journals, or other key media (magazines, national newspapers, etc.)

Exhibition of the non-resident’s work at important exhibitions

Functioning in an important capacity for groups or institutions with an illustrious standing

Receiving a larger wage or salary than is common in the field

Business-related profits in the performance field which is proven by cassette sales, compact disk sales, video sales, or box office sales receipts, or

Proof similar to the types listed above if these types do not relate to the non-resident’s profession.

The evidence types listed above are vague. Actual cases from AAO (Administrative Appeal Office) have stated that not all guidelines apply to every non-resident. Attorneys are sometimes confused about the evidence types that apply to the particular case. Aria Law Group will correctly determine which evidence is relevant to the petitioner’s application based on the attorney’s experience, education, and legal training.  Visit this link to see Documentation of EB-1A (Alien of Extraordinary Ability) Petition.

“Top of the Field of Expertise“

Regarding the requirement that the non-resident must represent a “small percentage who has risen to the very top” of the field of study, AAO rulings signify that the relevant field of study must be distinct before a determination can be made as to whether the non-resident has extraordinary ability in that area.  Aria Law Group advises that if the field is clearly distinct, the firm will probably claim that the non-resident has “risen to the very top” of the field of study. In Aria Vatankhah’s blog article, “Are You at the Top of the Field of Expertise?” Mr. Vatankhah clarified that clients should utilize the non-resident’s past working experience and education to define the field of expertise. Nevertheless, it is not always the case that the more clearly the field is defined, the better the chances of getting approved. AAO rulings have indicated that the judging officers become suspicious in cases where the field of expertise is so narrowly defined that “rising to the top of the endeavor” is unimportant. Please contact Aria Law Group to find out more about defining the field of expertise.

Presenting Evidence

Aria Law Group attorneys advise that the most effective method to determine if the non-resident is “one of the small percentage who have risen to the very top” of his or her area of study is to provide documentation that sets a benchmark for comparison between the non-resident and their colleagues that are deemed typical or average in the area of study. For instance, if the non-resident is in a discipline in which the printing of academic pieces is normal, Aria Law Group will show documentation that the petitioner’s pieces were seen in the most prominent periodicals in the area of study, were the topic of peer discussion in these periodicals, or were extensively cited in other academic journals.

Approved Cases Comparison

Even though USCIS tries to discourage using comparisons between successful petitions in the same area of expertise, Aria Law Group attorneys have determined that both AAO and the court system regularly stated that agency regulations established the governing guideline for determining extraordinary skills as being a comparison with peers in the area of expertise. As a result, USCIS treatment of colleagues in the area of study with similar credentials is extremely significant to an extraordinary ability petition.

USCIS Adjudicators Two-Part Approach

In 2010, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reexamined the denial of a EB-1A petition, the Kazarian case. The AAO concluded that the Kazarian case utilized a two-part approach: Part One: Counting the Evidence Types Submitted; Part Two: Determination of Final Merits. Click this link to see a detailed summary of this notable case provided by Aria Law Group.  Two-Part Approach (the Kazarian case) for EB-1A (Alien of Extraordinary Ability) petition

If you would like to know more concerning the first preference employment immigration provided by Aria Law Group, please click this link.

Learn More about EB1: Comparison between Employment Based First Preferences EB-1A, EB-1B, and EB-1C (Priority Worker)

  • EB1-A (Alien of Extraordinary Ability)
  • (EB1-B or EB1-OR) Outstanding Professors and Researchers
  • EB1-C Multinational Executives or Managers
  • EB1 Visa Requirements
  • Two-Part Approach (the Kazarian case) for EB1-A (Alien of Extraordinary Ability) petition
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