The EB-1A visa (a subset of the EB-1) is for people with an extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, business, education, or athletics. This is the first preference of the EB visa series. The second preference is the EB-2, which you can read about here. The EB-2 paired with a National Interest Waiver will waive the requirement of a job offer or sponsor. The EB-1A, much like the NIW, does not need a job offer. Another benefit is this visa type is eligible for premium processing, for an extra fee, allowing the petition to be processed in 15 days.
Extraordinary ability is a high standard and difficult to achieve without extensive documentation, including publications, awards, and letters of recommendation, among other evidence. The legal standard to prove extraordinary ability is the petitioner must meet 3 out of 10 criteria. This criteria is defined in the regulations and are as follow, such that evidence:
- Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
- Your membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members
- Published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media
- You have been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel
- Your original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field
- Your authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media
- Your work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases
- Your performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
- You command a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field
- Your commercial successes in the performing arts
In addition to these criteria, you also need to show that you are coming to the United States to work in your field.
Another important aspect of your petition is your letters of recommendation. These letters must come from other experts in your field that will detail your experience, professional work, and influence in your field. These letters are very important, and we will work with you and your recommender on these letters.
These criteria are much more complex than they appear. Years of experience and thousands of times responding to Requests for Evidence has allowed us to see what other documentation is required to meet these criteria.
Thus, while you can file a petition for an EB-1A by yourself, you will most likely receive an RFE. You also need to make sure you don’t say something in your petition letter that will harm you in a response to an RFE or a second filing for an EB-1A visa. Get an experienced lawyer to help you from the beginning.