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Greencards > Extraordinary Ability (EB1)

(Legal Basis – Code Section – 8 CFR 204.5)

Summary: US Immigration Regulations set forth a special preference category for physicians and scientists who can demonstrate that they possess extraordinary abilities in a particular field. To have a reasonable chance of success in this category, you must have a substantial and documented record of achievements (see below).

Our Experience: During the last 10 years, we have prepared and filed more than 400 Extraordinary Ability EB1 immigrant petitions for our clients. Due to the high level of accomplishment and achievement necessary to qualify under this category, we are particularly careful about the cases that we accept for processing. Please note that, in certain cases, we recommend that our clients file an immigrant petition in the EB2-National Interest Waiver category USCIS instead of EB1-EA, as the benefits are the same (but the requirements a bit easier).

The Visa Queue. There is no queue for this visa category at present. As a result, physicians/scientists who obtain approvals of their immigrant petitions in EB1-EA are immediately eligible for Green Card issuance. This may be of significant importance for physicians/scientists from countries (such as India, China, Mexico and the Philippines) where visa queues may be lengthy in other visa categories.

To Proceed Further: If you are interested in obtaining our opinion as to your eligibility for this category, please complete the online consultation form, send us an email, or give us a phone call

Frequently Asked Questions About the Extraordinary Ability Category


1. Who can file a petition to classify someone as an alien of extraordinary ability?

The regulations specifically provide that a petition may be filed by anyone.

"An alien, or any person on behalf of the alien, may file an I-140 visa petition for classification under section 203(b)(1)(A) of the Act as an alien of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics."

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2. Is a U.S. Job offer required?

No. Again, the regulations, at 8 CFR 204.5(h)(5) specifically provide that no job offer is required:

"No offer of employment required. Neither an offer for employment in the United States nor a labor certification is required for this classification; however, the petition must be accompanied by clear evidence that the alien is coming to the United States to continue work in the area of expertise. Such evidence may include letter(s) from prospective employer(s), evidence of prearranged commitments such as contracts, or a statement from the beneficiary detailing plans on how he or she intends to continue his or her work in the United States."

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3. How does the USCIS define the term "extraordinary ability"?

The USCIS regulations, at 8 CFR 204.5(h)(2), define this term as follows:

"Extraordinary ability means a level of expertise indicating that the individual is one of that small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor."

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4. How does one prove "extraordinary ability"?

The USCIS regulations provide that a petitioner must prove that the beneficiary of the petition qualifies for this classification, through the submission of

(3) Initial evidence. A petition for an alien of extraordinary ability must be accompanied by evidence that the alien has sustained national or international acclaim and that his or her achievements have been recognized in the field of expertise. Such evidence shall include evidence of a one-time achievement (that is, a major, internationally recognized award), or at least three of the following:

(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 specialization 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.

(4) If the above standards do not readily apply to the beneficiary's occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence to establish the beneficiary's eligibility.

In addition to this list, there are many other persuasive forms of evidence that may be submitted, depending upon the unique facts of the case.

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5. How difficult is it to get an approval in this category?

The single most important factor in obtaining approval is advocacy. If the facts are well presented and persuasively argued, a petition that meets the USCIS criteria should be approved readily. On the other hand, some petitions, with excellent facts behind them, are denied because they are not presented well. USCIS examiners simply do not have time to sort through the documents offered in support of a petition and try to figure out what the petitioner is trying to argue. We have tremendous experience in the preparation of petitions in this category, and will work with and for you to achieve a positive result.

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6. What is the most common mistake?

Poorly prepared petitions. Most law firms and organizations do not have the special expertise with respect to these types of petitions. We have prepared hundreds of petitions in this category with very good success. Moreover, we are quite careful concerning the cases that we accept for filing in this category (if we do not believe that you have a reasonable chance of success in this category, we will advise you appropriately)

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7. What is the time frame?

Usually 3-12 months for processing by the USCIS for cases filed under regular processing. For applications filed under premium/expedited processing (necessitating a $1000 additional filing fee), the USCIS will adjudicate an EB1 application within 15 business days.

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8. How do I proceed further? What are my chances for approval?

Forward your resume or CV to us for evaluation. We will thoroughly review your credentials and give you our opinion as to your chances of success. If we do not think that you do not have a reasonable chance of success in this category, we will tell you. We will accept only those cases for processing that we are confident that have a reasonable likelihood of success.

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9. How can the attorneys at MDgreencard.com assist me with this petition?

We have a great deal of experience in preparing petitions in this category for highly qualified physicians and scientists. Our clients have included individuals from all areas of medicine and the sciences, including: medical researchers, clinicians, chemists, professors, and others. Due of the complexity of this type of petition, it is advisable to be represented by a qualified organization: not only to provide legal counseling with respect to the initial petition, but also to help you to navigate the entire process from start to finish which often includes dealing with several government agencies, and numerous laws and regulations.

Moreover, all immigrant visa petitions filed by our law firm are prepared personally by an attorney, not by a paralegal or other legal assistant.

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10. What is your guarantee?

We guarantee that your petition will be prepared according to the highest and most stringent standards. We will take every step possible to secure approval for your case. Since we base a significant percentage of our fees on the approval of your case, you can be assured we will use 100% of our effort to achieve this outcome.

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MDgreencard.com is the official physician and scientist immigration web site of the:

Sherman Immigration Lawyers, P.C.
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