The Alien of Extraordinary Ability is a first-preference employment-based petition.  Because the EB-1a falls under the first preference, there is currently no visa backlog for this category and priority dates are current. This means that the petitioner can concurrently file (file at the same time as the EB-1a) his/her I-485 adjustment of status or file the I-485 adjustment of status as soon as the EB-1a has been approved.  The EB-1a is a self-petition. Therefore, sponsorship by an employer is not necessary.  It is also not necessary for a petitioner to be currently employed.

The EB-1a can apply to scientists, researchers, artists, athletes, and musicians.  However, it is not limited to these areas.  A petitioner simply needs to show that he/she has a level of expertise indicating that the individual is one of that small percentage who have risen to the very top of his/her field.  Because this is a first preference category, the requirements of the EB-1a are more stringent than lower preference categories, such as the EB-2 (e.g. NIW and PERM Labor Certification).

Over the years, we have successfully represented hundreds of EB1A petitions for leading or outstanding figures in all walks of life. Please contact us if you would like a consultation and an honest evaluation of your potential chances of getting an EB-1a approved.


An EB-1a petition must be accompanied by evidence that the petitioner has sustained national or international acclaim and that his or her achievements have been recognized in the field of expertise.  This can be evidenced by a one-time achievement such as a major, internationally recognized award.  However, this is a very difficult requirement to satisfy as such an award must be on the level of highly prestigious, internationally recognized awards such as the Nobel Prize.

Most petitioners will fall under the 2nd option.  In the absence of an internationally recognized award, a petitioner must provide documentation of at least three (3) of the following:

  • Documentation of receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field;

  • Documentation of membership in associations in the field which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields;

  • Published material about the petitioner in professional or major trade publications or major media, relating to the petitioner’s work in the field;

  • Evidence of the petitioner’s participation, either individually or as a part of a panel, as a judge of the work of others in the same field;

  • Evidence of the petitioner’s original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;

  • Evidence of authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional or major trade publications or other major media;

  • Evidence of the display of the petitioner’s work in the field at artistic exhibitions or showcases;

  • Evidence that the petitioner has performed in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation;

  • Evidence that the petitioner has commanded a high salary or other significantly high remuneration for services, in relation to others in the field; OR

  • Evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts, as shown by box office receipts or record, cassette, compact disk, or video sales.

In addition, it must be shown that the petitioner seeks to continue work in the area of his or her extraordinary ability and that the petitioner’s future stay will confer substantial benefits to the United States.

However, even if a petitioner has a one-time achievement, such as a major, international recognized award, or satisfies 3 of the 10 categories listed above, the analysis does not end there. If the petitioner has satisfied the first prong of the requirements, the petitioner must then satisfy a second prong, which is an overall assessment of his or her case, in order to have the EB-1a approved.  Under the second prong, a petitioner must show that he or she has achievements that have been recognized in the field of expertise, indicating that the petitioner is one of that small percentage of people who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor, and he or she has received/sustained international acclaim from their peers.


In addition to collecting all necessary evidence and documentation for the EB1A, the petitioner must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. The petitioner must also provide the filing fee, made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Premium processing is also available if the Petitioner desires an expedited adjudication from the USCIS.

Read more about EB-1A status and Visatopia’s EB-1A services:

Read about some of our successful EB-1A cases: