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EB-1 Overview: Extraordinary Ability And Outstanding Researchers/Professors

Extraordinary Ability

Labor certification is not required for foreign nationals who meet the criteria for classification under the employment-based first preference category based upon their extraordinary abilities the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. This category is highly restrictive and intended for a small handful of foreign nationals who have reached the top of their field of endeavor. To qualify, a candidate must demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim and seek to work in the U.S. in his or her area of extraordinary ability.

To satisfy the standard of proof, EB-1 petitions for candidates with extraordinary abilities must include: (1) evidence of a one-time achievement of a major, internationally recognized award such as a Pulitzer, Oscar or Olympic medal; or, (2) evidence of at least three of the following:

  1. Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor.
  2. Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought which require outstanding achievements.
  3. Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the candidate.
  4. Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance.
  5. Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media.
  6. A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence.
  7. Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to that field for which classification is sought.
  8. Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation.
  9. Display of work at artistic exhibitions or showcases.
  10. Commercial successes in the performing arts.

An offer of employment is not required for EB-1 petitions based on extraordinary ability. Therefore, a candidate may self-petition without sponsorship from a U.S. employer. However, the candidate must demonstrate that he or she will continue to work in the area of extraordinary ability.

Outstanding Researchers/Professors

Foreign nationals who qualify as outstanding researchers or professors under the employment-based first preference category may also bypass the labor certification requirement. To merit EB-1 classification as an outstanding researcher or professor, the candidate must demonstrate international recognition for outstanding achievements in a particular academic field. Additionally, the candidate must have at least three years of experience in teaching or research in his or her academic area. The candidate must seek enter the U.S. to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or a comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education. A candidate seeking to work in a comparable position to conduct research with a private employer may qualify for EB-1 classification if the employer employs at least three full-time researchers and has documented accomplishments in the academic field.

To satisfy the standard of proof, EB-1 petitions for outstanding researchers or professors must satisfy at least three of the following criteria:

  1. Receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement.
  2. Membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement.
  3. Published material in professional publications written by others about the candidate’s work in the academic field.
  4. Participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field.
  5. Evidence of original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field.
  6. Evidence of authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field.

Unlike EB-1 petitions based on extraordinary ability, EB-1 petitions for outstanding researchers or professors require sponsorship from a U.S. employer.

Premium processing service is available for EB-1 petitions based on extraordinary ability and outstanding researchers/professors. Premium processing requires an additional $1,225 filing fee and guarantees a 15 calendar day processing of the petition. Within 15 calendar days, USCIS will issue an approval notice, or if appropriate, a Request for Evidence. A request for premium processing service can be made either at the time of the initial filing or after the petition has been filed.