EB 1-1 Extraordinary Ability


EB 1-1 Immigrant Status allows the “best and brightest” immigrants to gain permanent residency in the United States based upon their “extraordinary abilities.”   The EB 1-1 visa is the United States’ most advantageous immigration visa.  It offers its recipients many immigration benefits, including the ability to self-petition (petition without a prospective employer), skip the labor certification process, premium process, and obtain permanent residency much faster than other immigrant workers.


The EB 1-1 Immigrant status is available to individuals with professions in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics.  If you are not sure whether an immigrant’s profession is sufficient, more likely than not, it qualifies.


The qualifications for EB 1-1 immigrant status cannot be simplified into a simple, concise rule.  The precise EB 1-1 standard has been debated for the last twenty years.  However, the following is a general overview of the EB 1-1 standard.

Generally speaking, an EB 1-1 applicant must demonstrate that he or she has extraordinary ability in the “sciences, arts, education, business or athletics.”  Extraordinary ability is defined by USCIS regulations as a “level of expertise indicating that the individual is one of those few who have risen to the top of the field of endeavor.”  Extraordinary ability can be demonstrated by meeting three of the following indicators:

  • receiving a lesser national or international prize or award for excellence in field of endeavor,
  • membership in associations requiring outstanding achievements of their members,
  • published material about the prospective immigrant’s work in professional journals, trade publications or major media,
  • participation as a judge of others in the field of expertise,
  • original scientific, scholarly or artistic contributions of major significance in the field of expertise,
  • authorship of scholarly articles in the field, published in professional journals or major media,
  • display of the prospective immigrant’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 in the field of expertise, and
  • commercial success in the performing arts.

Extraordinary ability can also be demonstrated by receiving a major, international award (e.g. Nobel Prize or an Academy Award).

Although the regulations only require three factors, in reality it is often necessary to demonstrate more.  Again, the above description is a general overview of the general requirements.  Meeting three factors does not necessarily mean that an applicant is eligible for EB 1-1 status.  To understand the EB 1-1 visa more completely, please consult an EB 1-1 visa lawyer.

After Obtaining Permanent Residency:

Citizenship: After five years of permanent residency, the EB 1-1 immigrant may be eligible to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Travel Abroad: After obtaining permanent residency, the EB 1-1 immigrant may be able to freely travel abroad.  However, care must be taken to ensure that the permanent resident does not “abandon” his or her permanent residency by staying abroad for a significant amount of time.
Family Members: An EB 1-1 Visa recipient can confer permanent residency status to his or her spouse and minor children (i.e. unmarried children under the age of 21).

More Information:

If you think you may be eligible for EB 1-1 immigration status as a person with extraordinary abilities, please contact Gafner Law Firm.  Additionally, more information may be available at the USCIS website.