What is an Alien with Extraordinary Ability?
Considered a first-preference employment-based immigration category, a foreign national who is able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim may be eligible. On January 21, 2022, Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) announced that the agency is clarifying how the eligibility for immigrants of extraordinary ability, such as Ph.D. holders, in the STEM fields are determined. This will hopefully mean a loosening of the stringent requirements.
To be eligible, a Foreign national must meet at least 3 out of 10 criteria listed below or provide evidence of a one-time achievement (i.e. Pulitzer, Oscar, Olympic Medal). In addition, the beneficiary must show they will continue to work in the area of their expertise.
Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, must be submitted to USCIS. Unlike other employment-based categories, extraordinary ability category allows for a beneficiary to file the immigrant petition on their own behalf without a job offer. Evidence of 3 out of the 10 criteria listed below must be submitted along with the petition.
- Received a lesser nationally or internationally recognized prize(s) or award(s) for excellence;
- Membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members;
- Published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
- Requested to judge the work of others (individually or on a panel);
- Proof of your original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the area of expertise;
- Authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
- Work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases;
- Performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations;
- Commercial successes in the performing arts; or
- High salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field.