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Extraordinary Ability Petitions

Extraordinary Ability Petitions

The Extraordinary Ability priority worker category does not require a job offer. This means that either an employer may petition for an EB-1 extraordinary worker or the worker may petition for himself or herself. If the worker self-petitions, he or she must show evidence of contracts or prearranged commitments for future employment or a description of how he or she will continue to be gainfully employed in the U.S.

USCIS regulations define extraordinary ability as a “level of expertise indicating that the individual is one of a small percentage that has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.” The statutes state that this level of ability must be demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and by recognition in the field by extensive documentation. USCIS will look for evidence that the work the individual will perform will substantially benefit the U.S.

In order to demonstrate extraordinary ability, the applicant must show that his or her ability has been recognized in the field of endeavor through sustained acclaim. This can be shown through a single major internationally recognized achievement such as a Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize or an Academy Award.

Alternatively, the applicant can demonstrate three of the following ten criteria:

  • Receipt of lesser national or international prizes or awards for excellence in their field of endeavor;
  • Membership in associations in the field of endeavor that require outstanding achievements of their members as judged by recognized national or international experts;
  • Published material about the alien and his work in professional journals, trade publications, or the major media;
  • Participation, either in a group or alone, as a judge of others in the same or a similar field;
  • Original scientific, scholarly, or artistic contributions of major significance in the field of endeavor;
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in the field, published in professional journals or the major media;
  • Display of the alien’s work at artistic exhibitions or showcases in more than one country;
  • Performance in a lead, starring, or critical role for organizations with a distinguished reputation;
  • Commanding a high salary compared to others in the field; or
  • Commercial success in the performing arts, as shown by box office receipts and sales.

Realizing that these ten categories of evidence do not encompass all the evidence that could be presented to show extraordinary ability, USCIS also allows for any other comparable evidence.


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