Green Card Option for “Extraordinary” Individuals

By Attorneys Robert L. Reeves and Brian Spalter

There are a number of options available for people seeking to permanently immigrate to the United States. Many of these options are available to individuals who are a member of a particular profession or group. For example, there is a specific permanent residency category available to people who are Nurses or Physical Therapists. People who work in either of these professions are eligible for expedited processing of their green card applications. One of the faster and more effective avenues for permanent residency are the green card categories available to people who are particularly accomplished in their field of expertise. This article will briefly discuss just one of these options, the EB-1-1 “Extraordinary Ability” category.

The EB-1-1 category is available to foreign nationals with “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. Generally speaking, the individual must demonstrate “sustained national or international acclaim” in their field in order to establish eligibility. Although this wording may seem intimidating, Reeves & Associates has successfully represented such diverse individuals as scientists, news anchors, fashion designers, university professors, etc. in their EB-1-1 applications.

There are different ways to demonstrate that a foreign national has achieved a satisfactory level of national or international acclaim. The primary way to do this is to document that the individual can satisfy three of ten enumerated evidentiary criteria listed for the EB-1-1 category. These ten criteria range from evidence of “published material about the alien” to documentation that the person has “commanded a high salary or other significantly high remuneration” for work in the field.

There are a number of advantages to applying under the EB-1-1 category. One of the primary benefits is that the sponsorship of an employer is not required. Therefore, because EB-1-1 applicants can “self-petition,” the lengthy waiting times involved in a labor certification (e.g. due to the recent retrogression in visa numbers) can be completely avoided.

The EB-1-1 Extraordinary Ability category is an effective, yet often unexplored avenue for obtaining permanent residency to the United States. In fact, there are a number of other excellent alternatives available to accomplished individuals that have not been discussed in this article.

As always we recommend that you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney to evaluate your options to achieve permanent residency status.