What is an EB1A Visa and Who Qualifies?
An EB1A is an immigrant visa in the EB1 category that is reserved for foreign workers of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. There is only one criteria, which is to establish “sustained national or international acclaim.” The standard for EB1A is high, and reserved for those who have proven to be amongst to top few percent in their field. Immigration laws have set out specific criteria to allow the foreign worker to prove “sustained national or international acclaim.” The easiest way to prove eligibility is to show that you possess a major international award of renowned repute. Most people do not possess such an award, and may establish eligibility by providing at least three out of a group of several acceptable pieces of evidence including: proof of lesser national or international prizes of excellence, published material of your excellence in major publications, evidence of commanding exceptionally high compensation, etc. You do not need a job offer, but you should demonstrate that you are seeking to enter the US to work and substantially benefit the US.
Unlike other employment based categories, the quota for EB1 class petitions generally is never met, therefore, a visa or change of status to EB1 can be obtained as soon as the petition is approved. EB1 cases do not require any test of the US job market either. The process can be completed in a matter of months.
What are the Advantages and Limitations of EB1A?
An advantage of the EB1A over the other EB1 petitions is that no job offer is required. As previously mentioned, the process for obtaining EB1 status is much faster than other employment based green card petitions.
The immigration service is hesitant to approve EB1A cases. Often, an EB2 or EB3 petition is a better, more realistic option.
What is the Attorney’s Role in an EB1A Petition?
EB1A petitions are more challenging than they seem in cases where the petitioner does not have a major international award. The immigration service also seems to be misapplying the standard, by requiring that each criteria, by itself, must establish national or international acclaim, despite case law implying that the evidence in the aggregate must establish national or international acclaim. An attorney will be able to cite precedents if necessary in cases where the immigration service is applying an unreasonably high burden on the petition.
An attorney will also be able to determine if the petition will have the appropriate documentation to meet the criteria. For example, a petitioner might believe that they will be able to meet the “published material in professional publications” criteria by showing a citation record. A citation record would in fact be considered weak evidence. An attorney familiar with the evidentiary standards will be able to assess the likelihood of success, and will act as quality control to ensure that all supporting documents, including letters of reference, are acceptable. Those considering an EB1A petition should have an qualified immigration attorney assess whether they are an eligible candidate, and determine how to properly frame your field of expertise.
To discuss EB1A petitions and other alternatives with an experienced immigration lawyer from the Shah Peerally Law Group, feel free to contact us by email or call us at 510-742-5887.
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