Qualifications of EB-1A “Aliens with Extraordinary Ability” — Have you Risen to the Very Top of your Expertise?

Qualifications of EB-1A “Aliens with Extraordinary Ability” — Have you Risen to the Very Top of your Expertise?

Federal guidelines define “extraordinary ability” as a level of expertise indicating the individual is one of a small percentage who has risen to the very top of a particular field in athletics, business, education, sciences, and the arts.

Why Apply For EB-1A?
There are primarily two advantages of applying for immigration benefits under EB-1A.
No Labor Certification or Employer Sponsor is Required
The first primary advantage of employment-based category EB-1A is that a specific job offer is not required for a non-resident in this group, as long as the non-resident is entering the U.S. to continue work in the area of expertise in which he or she has extraordinary ability. As a result, self-petition is permitted. Moreover, a labor certification is not required. Since obtaining a labor certification is a lengthy and complex process, an EB-1A application saves a petitioner a lot of time.
Visas for EB-1A are all Currently Available
This advantage is for all first preference employment-based categories. Visas continue to be immediately available for non-residents from all countries in the first employment-based (EB-1) preference category. The latest projections from the State Department indicate the unlikelihood that there will be any cut-off dates in the EB-1 preference during the near future. This makes a significant difference for applicants born in China or India.

What is “Very top of the Endeavor “?
“Extraordinary ability” is defined as a level of expertise specifying that the non-resident is one of a small percentage “who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor” and that the non-resident’s accomplishments have been acclaimed in the area of expertise. Additionally, the non-resident has received national or international praise and that the non-resident’s accomplishments have been acknowledged in the area of expertise.

Defining the Area of Expertise
Define the Area of Expertise Narrowly
Regarding the requirement that the non-resident represent a “small percentage” who has risen to the “very top of the area of expertise”, the actual area of expertise must be clearly defined before determining whether the non-resident has extraordinary ability in that area. Remember that if the area of expertise is narrowly defined, it is to be expected that you will have risen to the top of your field. Look at one of our clients for example. Mr. Li is a Ph.D. student in the area of computer science, concentrating his research on terahertz application. Because he is a student, it is difficult to prove that Mr. Li has risen to the very top of the field of terahertz application given that he still received training and instruction from his professor. However, Mr. Li obtained his master’s degree in integrated circuit design and amasses several articles in this area. As a result, our firm was able to narrowly define his field as a mixture of terahertz and IC design, exploring the application of terahertz with integrated circuit. Consequently, USCIS approved Mr. Li’s first preference employment-based immigrant visa as a priority worker of extraordinary ability because Mr. Li submitted documentation sufficient to prove that he was among the top researchers in the area of expertise for those who combine IC design and terahertz application. Had Mr. Li defined his field more broadly, such as “outstanding researcher in the area of terahertz application” his believability as an expert in both fields would have been greatly reduced.
Take Advantage of Prior Education Background and Work Experience
Many petitioners seeking immigration benefits of EB-1A have obtained their bachelor’s or master’s degrees in their home country. They also have accumulated significant work experience. Both of these factors are critical when defining the applicant’s expertise in the petition letter. By defining the field specifically and narrowly, it becomes easier to argue that the applicant is one of a few experts in the field and that the applicant “has risen to the very top of the area of expertise.”

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