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EB1A Visa Criteria

What is the EB1A Visa? 

The EB1A visa is an immigrant visa that allows individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics to permanently come to the United States for employment within their field of expertise. 

Who qualifies for the EB-1A visa? 

In order to qualify for the EB-1A visa, an individual must be able to prove through evidence: 

  • The applicant has extraordinary ability and expertise in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics;
  • The applicant’s extraordinary ability must be the subject of sustained national or international acclaim;
  • The applicant’s achievements must be recognized in his or her field;
  • That the applicant is coming to the United States to continue work in his or her area of expertise;
  • The EB1A visa applicant does not need an offer of employment to qualify.

What are the Criteria for the EB1A Visa? 

Applicants for the EB1A visa must meet certain criteria in order to qualify as having an “extraordinary ability” in their field of expertise.

In order to prove an applicant has an extraordinary ability in the fields of science, arts, education, business, or athletics, he or she must demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for achievements in their field of expertise.

They must do so by providing evidence of:

  • Receipt of a one-time major, internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize; or
  • At least three of the following forms of documentation:
    • Documentation of the applicant’s receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
    • Documentation of the applicant’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;
    • Published material in professional or major trade publications or major media about the applicant, relating to the applicant’s work in the field for which classification is sought, which shall include the title, date, and author of such published material, and any necessary translation;
    • Evidence of the applicant’s participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in an allied field of specialization to that for which classification is sought;
    • Evidence of the applicant’s original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
    • Evidence of the applicant’s authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional journals, or other major media;
    • Evidence that the applicant’s work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases; 
    • Evidence that the applicant has been employed in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation;
    • Evidence that the applicant has either commanded a high salary or will command a high salary or other remuneration for services, evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence;
    • Evidence of the applicant’s commercial success in the performing arts;
  • If the above criteria do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish the beneficiary’s eligibility. 8 CFR 214.2(o)(3)(iii)(A)(B) 

After an applicant submits evidence to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the USCIS will evaluate the documentation to determine whether it proves that the applicant has risen to the top of his or her field of expertise.

The strength of the evidence will be determined by the USCIS by comparing the applicant’s evidence of extraordinary ability with others in the field who have demonstrated extraordinary ability. Extraordinary ability is not determined by comparing the applicant to the general population. Instead, the USCIS will compare it to the applicant’s peers in his or her field of expertise. 

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Sweta Khandelwal

Sweta completed her Masters in Law from the University of California, Los Angeles and her JD from the Faculty of Law, Delhi University in India and has been practicing law for 15+ years getting visas, green cards, and citizenship for 1000+ clients, 100+ companies across 50+ nationalities.

Sweta has been recognized as a ” Super Lawyer, Rising Star,” and as amongst the ” Top 40 under 40″ immigration attorneys in California (American Society of Legal Advocates). She is also the recipient of the Advocacy Award by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Sweta is also a chartered accountant — the equivalent of a CPA. This makes her uniquely positioned to understand the immigration needs of her business clients in the broader context of their corporate objectives.

Sweta is actively involved with immigration issues and immigrant communities in various capacities. She has assumed key roles at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), both at the local and national level. She has been a past chair at the Santa Clara Valley Chapter at AILA and has also been involved in various practice area committees at AILA National. Sweta has addressed multiple conferences/forums in the United States and worldwide on immigration and business issues.

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