Immigration And Criminal Defense Lawyers

What is “extraordinary ability” in employment-based immigration?

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2024 | Immigration Law |

There are several ways that someone could qualify to come and live in the United States. Someone with extraordinary ability in the sciences, art, education, business or athletics can do so if they obtain a first-preference EB-1 visa. So, what does “extraordinary ability” mean?

Here is what to know:

Sustained national or international acclaim

An applicant is considered to have extraordinary ability in the above-mentioned fields if they can submit evidence that they have sustained national or international acclaim and their achievements have been recognized in the field of expertise. For example, an athlete with an Olympic medal, a scientist awarded a Nobel Prize or an artist who has won the Ordway Prize.

To have “sustained” national or international acclaim, an applicant must have maintained such acclaim. The U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not have a definitive timeframe to maintain the acclaim to be considered “sustained.” Someone young or early in their career can still show sustained acclaim.

Criteria for demonstrating extraordinary ability

The USCIS has a list of criteria for demonstrating extraordinary ability, which includes evidence of receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes/awards for excellence, proof of membership in associations in the applicant’s respective field that demand outstanding achievement of their members and so on.

An applicant can either provide evidence of a one-time achievement, as discussed above or meet three of the 10 USCIS criteria to demonstrate extraordinary ability.

Continuing to work in the area of expertise

An applicant must continue to work in their area of expertise to be considered a person with extraordinary ability. For example, an athlete with an Olympic medal should be coming to the country to be an athlete.

If your career falls in the first preference EB-1 visa category, obtain more information to avoid costly mistakes.