Green Cards (Common)
National Interest Waivers
Professors & Researchers
Executives & Managers
PERM Labor Certification
Investors (EB-5 visas)
Family (Spouse, etc.)
Work Visas (Common)
O-1 Extraordinary Ability
TN Canadians & Mexicans
J-1 Visa Holders
Nurses & Physical Therapists
Aliens of Extraordinary Ability (EB-1A)
"Aliens of extraordinary ability" (EB-1A) is an achievement-based opportunity for a green card. This category is available for those individuals who have risen to the small percentage at the very top of his or her field. There is both a temporary version of this visa (called an O-1 visa) and a permanent (i.e., green card) version.
This page gives an overview of only the green card version of "aliens of extraordinary ability." For temporary work visa options, please see our O-1 visa page. The eligibility for both the temporary and permanent options are similar, but are not exactly the same.
Unless you have won a Nobel Prize, an Oscar, or a similar internationally recognized award, you must meet at least 3 of 10 alternative criteria:
Note: You can also use "comparable evidence," but most achievements and awards fit within the existing criteria.
This petition is filed using the Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. This petition and supporting documents are filed directly with the appropriate Service Center of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. You do not have to file anything with the Department of Labor. You may also file your permanent residency application at the same time as your I-140 Petition, and receive work and travel authorization.
Processing times for this type of petition depend on the Service Center's case load, which can vary greatly over time. Current processing times are estimated by all of the Service Centers, but those are just estimates.
The EB-1A category for aliens of extraordinary ability has the following advantages in obtaining a green card:
There are some disadvantages of this process over the usual labor certification process:
For more information, you may want to view Peng & Weber's Frequently Asked Questions about Extraordinary Ability. If you would like assistance in preparing your permanent residency petition, please contact Peng & Weber for a consultation or a free evaluation.