Employment Based First Preference A (EB-1A) is a green card category reserved for aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. It is often compared to the O-1 visa category which is also for aliens of extraordinary ability. While similar, there are some distinctions between the two. In order to demonstrate a person has achieved extraordinary ability in his or her field, you must present evidence of one major international award (such as a Nobel Prize), or much more commonly establish 3 of the 10 following criteria:
(i) Documentation of the alien’s receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
(ii) Documentation of the alien’s membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields;
(iii) Published material about the alien in professional or major trade publications or other major media, relating to the alien’s work in the field for which classification is sought. Such evidence shall include the title, date, and author of the material, and any necessary translation;
(iv) Evidence of the alien’s participation, either individually or on a panel, as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field of specification for which classification is sought;
(v) Evidence of the alien’s original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
(vi) Evidence of the alien’s authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
(vii) Evidence of the display of the alien’s work in the field at artistic exhibitions or showcases;
(viii) Evidence that the alien has performed in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation;
(ix) Evidence that the alien has commanded a high salary or other significantly high remuneration for services, in relation to others in the field; or
(x) Evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts, as shown by box office receipts or record, cassette, compact disk, or video sales.
Beyond just meeting 3 of those criteria, USCIS will then make a “final merits determination” of whether the totality of the evidence demonstrates the alien is among the small percentage at the very top of his or her field of endeavor. This second test is known as Kazarian analysis and stems from a 2010 9th Circuit Court case that USCIS has adopted as justification for placing additional scrutiny on EB-1A applicants.
The EB-1A application process is two steps. First the EB-1A I-140 is filed with USCIS. This application can be premium processed. Once approved, the applicant and family members (this includes spouse and children under 21) can file Adjustment of Status applications in order to receive green cards or begin Consular Processing immigrant visas at a US Consulate. In some cases, applicants may choose to file both the EB-1A I-140 and the Adjustment of Status “concurrently” or together.