EB-1 – Extraordinary Ability

Extraordinary Ability

The extraordinary ability category for permanent residence is reserved for individuals who have attained sustained national and or international acclaim in their field. According to the legislative history, this category is reserved for “the small percentage of individuals who have risen to the very top of their field of endeavor.” The individual must seek entry to continue to work in his or her field of endeavor and the individual’s admittance will substantially benefit the United States. This category does not require sponsorship from a U.S. employer. The individual may apply on his or her own behalf.

The extraordinary ability individual must be in the arts, sciences, business, education, or athletics. The individual must demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim. To qualify, the applicant must be coming to the U.S. to work in his or her area of extraordinary ability or achievement. Note any Nobel laureate would qualify under this category.

How to Apply

The individual or U.S. employer must file form I-140 at the designated USCIS service center along with the supporting documentation which must include either a major, internationally recognized prize or award (i.e. Nobel Prize) or alternately at least three of the following:

  • Within the field, recipient of a nationally or internationally recognized award or prize for excellence;
  • Within the field, membership in associations that requires outstanding accomplishments, as defined by recognized and established international experts;
  • Within the field, published articles in major trade or professional publications, newspapers, or other recognized media about the individual and his or her extraordinary work/contributions;
  • Within the field, major significant contributions that are original, scholarly, scientific, or business-related;
  • Within the field, authoring scholarly articles in esteemed professional journals or other recognized media;
  • Evidence of significant remuneration for services;
  • Within the field, recognized panel participation, or as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization;
  • Nationally or internationally recognized showcases or exhibitions;
  • Within the performing arts, documentation of the commercial successes;
  • Participation in a cultural or leading role for an organization with a distinguished reputation;
  • If the above standards do not readily apply to the individual’s occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish the individual’s eligibility.

The individual or U.S. sponsoring company may elect to expedite the processing of the application at USCIS by filing for premium processing and or may elect to file the adjustment of status concurrently (if already present in the United States under a nonimmigrant visa).

Once the I-140 is approved, the individual may either file for adjustment of status (if not already done under concurrent filing of the I-140), or may complete their processing at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy that has jurisdiction over their residence abroad.

This category is very stringent and difficult to obtain. Individuals should contact this office to aid in determining whether you meet the qualifications or if another immigrant category would be more suitable.


Spouses and all unmarried children under 21 years will derive permanent resident status through the principal.

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