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I-140 EB-1A EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY VISA

The EB-1A Extraordinary Ability classification is the most prestigious immigrant visa category. It allows individuals that have sustained national or international acclaim in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics to work in the United States as a permanent resident. USCIS defines extraordinary ability as “the small percentage of individuals who have risen to the very top of their field of endeavor.”

A perfect example of an EB-1A applicant would be a chef who owns a Michelin Star restaurant, a writer who won a Nobel Prize in Literature, or a business person who orchestrated an Initial Public Offering on a stock exchange. Individuals with lesser qualifications that meet three of the ten specific criteria may also qualify for the classification.

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LEGAL FEE

Our fee structure is unique to us as we strive to tailor our services for each client individually. We adapt price standards that are capable of fluctuating for each client depending on their unique needs. Clients may retain us for one or all of the above steps/services.

Our typical fee for a standard EB-1A case is $15,000, not including governmental fee and third-party extensions.  We are happy to customize a proposal for you during a consultation and walk you through what a standard EB-1A case looks like.  Please see below for more information. 

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CASE PROCESSING OVERVIEW

Step 1: Strategy Session for EB-1A

This is the most crucial step for your entire EB-1A. We will review all of the supporting documents to create a strategy, a customized checklist, and a timeline to serve as the guiding foundation for the entire case preparation.

Step 2: Prepare and Submit EB-1A to USCIS

Our attorneys will craft your EB-1A arguments and complete all forms, organize supporting documents, and assemble the crafted arguments into the proper application formats. After a thorough review, we will then submit the application to USCIS.

Step 3: Respond to Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID)

In the event, USCIS issues a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID), our attorneys will craft a response in a timely manner to fight for the approval of your EB-1A application.

Step 4: Prepare Client for Interview at the Consulate; or, Adjustment of Status with USCIS

It all comes down to this. We help guide the client in his/her preparation for the interview at a U.S. consulate by simulating the interview and ensuring the client is well-versed in the application material. Our services include a comprehensive strategy for answering inquiries posed, practice questions, thorough feedback, and other tools to help clients succeed during the interview.

Adjustment of Status

In the event the applicant is in the United States when USCIS approves the EB-1A application, our attorneys will prepare I-485 Adjustment of Status and organize all the necessary documents to submit to USCIS.

Step 5: Respond to Consulate Requests / Administrative Processing / Status Checks / Fraud Alerts; or USCIS Adjustment of Status Request for Evidence

After the interview, we will help formulate possible responses from the U.S. consulate, from additional document requests to revised applications, to fraud alerts.  It is about keeping close tabs with the consulate processing.

Request for Evidence

In the event, USCIS issues a Request for Evidence (RFE) concerning I-485 Adjustment of Status, our attorneys will craft a response in a timely manner to fight for the approval of your I-485 application.

Step 6: Arrival is Only The Beginning

Our services do not end when you receive your EB-1A approval— this is only just the beginning. To help accommodate this reality, we provide guidance over:

  • CBP – Airport Arrival
  • Dependent Visas/Work Permits
  • Reentry Permits
  • and more!
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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Checklist of Required Evidence

In general, the following documents are required:

  1. Evidence of national or international acclaim

The EA recipient has national or international acclaim that can be proven with documentation. An example of international acknowledgment demonstrating extraordinary ability would be the Noble Peace Prize or an Academy Award. If the applicant does not possess an internationally renowned award he/she must provide evidence of at least three of the following:

    • The applicant has received an award or prize of a slightly lesser national or international recognition.
    • Obtained membership in prestigious associations and organizations. Must be perceived as an expert in their fields.
    • Assessed the work of others.
    • Contributed highly significant original artistic, scientific, or scholarly works in the field.
    • Had achievements published in major trade and media announcements.
    • Works displayed in an artistic exhibition or show.
    • Media success with regard to the performing arts. Can be evaluated based on box office receipts or entertainment sales.
    • Make a comparably high salary.1. Evidence of national or international acclaim. As you can see, many of these requirements are very similar to those of the O-1 visa. This is why many foreign nationals who qualify for the O-1 subsequently qualify for the EB-1A
  • 2. USCIS I-140 Petition Form

    Most of the other employment-based green card categories require you to have a job offer from a U.S. employer. That employer has to go through an extensive recruitment process to obtain a PERM Labor Certification, which can greatly increase your green card processing time.

    One of the main benefits of the EB-1A is that it does not require a PERM Labor Certification or a job offer from a U.S. employer. The applicant is able to file a “self-petition” on the USCIS I-140 form. This is one of the speediest methods of receiving a green card.

    3. USCIS I-485 Application

    Once your I-140 is approved and your priority date is current, you will need to submit your I-485 Application to Register Permanent Resident or Adjust Status in order to change your status to EB-1A. If the USCIS approves this application, you will officially be a legal permanent resident in the U.S.

 

Filing Fee

The updated filing fee for EB-1A can be found here

Who can apply for EB-1A?

To qualify for EB-1A immigration, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary ability, defined as being “individuals who have risen to the very top of their field”.  This is shown through sustained national or international acclaim and recognition, which can be demonstrated by establishing 3 of the following requirements.

  1. Receive major nationally or internationally recognized prizes or award (i.e. Nobel Prize)
  2. Memberships in relevant associations that require outstanding achievements
  3. Published material about the applicant
  4. Judged the work of others in field
  5. Original and major professional contributions to their field
  6. Author of articles in professional journals or other major media
  7. Display of the applicant’s work at artistic exhibitions or showcases
  8. Employment in leading or critical role for distinguished organizations
  9. High salary compared to peers in the same field
  10. Evidence of commercial success in the performing arts.

Relevant Law

Section 203 (b)(1)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act

Aliens with extraordinary ability

An alien is described in this subparagraph if-

(i) the alien has extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation,

(ii) the alien seeks to enter the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability, and

(iii) the alien’s entry into the United States will substantially benefit prospectively the United States.

8 CFR 204.5(h)(2)

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.

8 CFR 204.5(h)(3)

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, international 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 specification 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.

AFM ch. 22.2(i)(1)(E)(8).

Buletini v. Immigration and Naturalization Service 1994

860 F. Supp. 1222, 1232 n.12 (E.D. Mich. 1994) (beneficiary who made highest salary permitted under the law of communist Albania, which was two times the salary paid to the average doctor but only $40 when converted to U.S. dollars, met this criterion); Matter of [name not provided], SRC 06 267 53067 (AAO Feb. 11, 2009), available at www.uscis.gov (select “Laws,” “Administrative Decisions” link on the right toolbar under “More Information,” B2, and then search by date and for “02B2203”) (petition denied where, inter alia, petitioner failed to submit evidence that beneficiary’s USD$1,500,000 salary was high in comparison to other executives in Turkey).

USCIS I-140 National Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) 3.4.

Yasar v. Department of Homeland Security, 2006 WL 778623 (S.D. Tex. Mar. 24, 2006).

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    SAMPLE & TEMPLATES

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    Attorney Brief:  [coming soon] We will provide an attorney brief sample for the I-140 petition.

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    Cover Letter: [coming soon] We will also provide a cover letter sample for the I-140 petition.

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    Sample Request for Evidence: [coming soon] Requests for evidence can be used to strengthen the case.

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    Forms: Here is a list of the forms that are needed by USCIS

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    Sample Checklist: [coming soon] We look at the client’s unique situation and create customized checklists to strengthen their cases.

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    USCIS Fee Calculator: This is to help calculate how much the filing fee will be.

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    USCIS Mailing Address: This address is where it is mailed to USCIS.

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    USCIS Processing Timetable: This will help you figure out how long it will take to process.

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    ASC Field Offices: Listed are the addresses of the field offices for the bio-metrics.

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    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

    How long is the EB-1A visa application process?

    While applicants of some other green card categories must wait several years for their priority date to current, the EB-1 category tends to have all current dates, meaning that you can adjust your status as soon as your I-140 is approved. The I-140 processing time heavily depends on the caseload of the service center that processes your petition. On average, however, it tends to be around 6 months.

    What If I’m Outside the U.S.?

    Changing your status is only an option available to those who are already working in the U.S. under a different visa (such as the O-1). If this is not the case and you are currently outside the U.S., you will need to go through consular processing.

    This means that you will need to make an appointment with the U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country and schedule a one-on-one interview with a consular officer. You will also need to complete the DS-260 online immigrant visa application and bring the confirmation page to the appointment.

    The timeline for consular processing depends on the consulate or embassy that you use. Some applicants find themselves waiting several months while others only wait a few weeks. Once you arrive for your interview, you will be asked questions about your experience, education, career, and work in the U.S. to determine if your application is legitimate and that you are qualified.

    What are the advantages of EB-1A?

    The EB-1A Extraordinary Ability category has a number of advantages including:

    • Not requiring a permanent job offer in the U.S. or a labor certification.
    • Typically faster than the LCA process because you can file a petition and your application for permanent residency simultaneously (also known as concurrent filing).
    • There is greater flexibility than the labor certification process and you are able to change jobs sooner.
    • Self-petitioning is permitted which means it doesn’t require the signature of someone at the institution or company you are working.
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    SCHEDULE A SESSION

    Call or email us to set up your 1-hour consultation. Easily pay the $250 consultation fee over the phone or through our email link. If you would like to have a quick chat with our team before setting up the consultation, feel free to use the calendar on the right to book your 10 minute call.

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