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Table of Contents

What is the difference between the EB-1A and other employment-based visas?

Does the EB-1A visa require sponsorship?

How can applicants qualify for an EB-1A visa?

How do you prove extraordinary ability for an EB-1A visa?

How does the EB-1A visa impact global hiring?

What are legal and compliance issues for EB-1A visas?

Fast-track your US visa with Deel Immigration

What is an EB-1A Visa

The EB-1A is a type of visa that allows applicants to pursue permanent residency in the US. Approval for an EB-1A provides up to five years of residency, during which time you can apply for full US citizenship with a green card.

While the EB-1 is a route to obtaining permanent residency through employment, qualifying for the EB-1A allows applicants to petition independently without needing an employer’s sponsorship. This visa category does not require a specific job offer or labor certification, providing that the applicant continues to work in their area of extraordinary ability once they are in the United States.

An EB-1A visa is a category within United States immigration law tailored specifically for individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary ability in their professional fields, such as the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.

What is the difference between the EB-1A and other employment-based visas?

The EB-1A visa is distinct in that it targets a select group of individuals recognized for their extraordinary abilities.

Unlike the EB-2 and EB-3 visas, the EB-1A does not necessitate a job offer or labor certification and thus requires a higher standard of proof for qualifying.

The EB-1A visa is also often associated with shorter processing times, with premium processing allowing for a decision to be taken within 15 days.

Does the EB-1A visa require sponsorship?

No. A unique aspect of the EB-1A visa is the ability for individuals to self-petition. This means that applicants can file for immigration without the direct sponsorship of an employer, a rare feature among US visa categories. This capability allows individuals to leverage their achievements and standing within their professional community directly, providing a significant advantage for those at the top of their fields who wish to migrate independently to the US.

💡 Deel Immigration is the leading US immigration provider. With more than a 90% approval rate, our team of in-house immigration experts is ready to handle the entire visa application process so you can move to the US and start your next adventure, stress-free.

How can applicants qualify for an EB-1A visa?

The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) site explains that “you may be eligible for an employment-based, first-preference visa if you are a noncitizen of extraordinary ability, are an outstanding professor or researcher, or are a certain multinational executive or manager.” It then outlines the chief criteria for each sub-category of applicant.

However, many different types of experts may qualify for the EB-1A. For example, a startup founder with a record of business achievements, who has served in critical roles at companies, has been featured in media articles, and has received a high salary, may qualify for the EB-1A visa. Anyone at the top of their field is a potential candidate.

Eligible EB-1A candidates fall into three broad candidates: individuals of extraordinary ability, outstanding professors or researchers, and high-level executives or managers with a record of achievement. Here’s a breakdown of those categories and the evidence you’d need to provide to qualify:

✔️ Extraordinary ability

  • Description: Applicants must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim
  • Evidence: Applicant must meet at least 3 of the 10 criteria*, or provide evidence of a one-time achievement (e.g., Pulitzer, oscar, olympic medal) and evidence that they will continue working in their area of expertise. No job offers or labor certification required

✔️ Outstanding professors and researchers

  • Description: Applicants must have received international recognition for their outstanding achievements in their academic field. They must have at least 3 years of experience in teaching or research
  • Evidence: Applicant must meet at least 2 of the 6 criteria** and provide an offer of employment from a US employer. The employer must have documented accomplishments and employ at least 3 full-time researchers. No labor certification required

✔️ Certain multinational managers or executives

  • Description: Applicants must have been employed outside the US for at least 1 year in the 3 years preceding the petition or the most recent legal non-immigrant admission if already working for the US petitioning employer
  • Evidence: The petitioner must be a US employer intending to employ the applicant in a managerial or executive capacity. The employer must have been doing business in the US for at least 1 year. No labor certification required

*Criteria for demonstrating extraordinary ability:

  1. Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence.
  2. Membership of associations requiring outstanding achievements.
  3. Published material about the applicant in professional or major trade publications.
  4. Participation as a judge of others in the same or an allied field.
  5. Original contributions of major significance.
  6. Authorship of scholarly articles.
  7. Artistic exhibitions or showcases.
  8. Leading or critical role in distinguished organizations.
  9. High salary or other significant remuneration in comparison to others.
  10. Commercial successes in the performing arts.

**Criteria for outstanding professors and researchers:

  1. Receipt of significant prizes or awards for high achievement.
  2. Membership in associations requiring members to demonstrate outstanding achievements.
  3. Material written by others about the applicant’s work and printed in esteemed publications.
  4. Participation on a panel, or individually, as the judge of the work of others in the same or an allied academic field.
  5. Original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field.
  6. Authorship of scholarly books or articles in scholarly journals with international circulation in their field.

How do you prove extraordinary ability for an EB-1A visa?

Proving extraordinary ability for an EB-1A visa involves presenting documentation that highlights your qualifications and recognition in your field. However, you can supply a wide range of potential evidence.

Proof of ability might include evidence of having commanded a high salary or other remuneration for services, authorship of scholarly articles in the field, performance in a critical role for distinguished organizations, commercial successes in the performing arts, or other similar examples.

Applicants are encouraged to provide a thorough portfolio that showcases sustained national or international acclaim and outstanding achievements.

💡 With Deel Immigration, preparing evidence is easy. Deel will onboard the applicant onto the user-friendly platform. They’ll be assigned a case manager and asked to provide their personal details and upload any supporting documentation to the platform.

The timescale for EB-1A visa processing can be up to nine months unless expedited processing is requested with the payment of premium fees. If expedited, the application will be decided within 15 calendar days, after which an immigration interview can be scheduled at your local consulate or embassy.

💡 Should there be a backlog at your local consulate or embassy, Deel has a consular support service that specializes in helping founders get faster appointments.

Under this visa category, spouses and children can be included as eligible dependents in an EB-1A application and may be granted residency, too. Consult with an immigration lawyer about this and other considerations before applying.

See also: Worldwide Visa Support for Dependents: A Guide for Businesses

How does the EB-1A visa impact global hiring?

The EB-1A visa plays a central role in global hiring, allowing US companies to attract and retain top-tier talent from around the world without the constraint of the labor certification process (PERM) required by other visa categories.

This assists the entry of highly skilled individuals who can contribute significantly to innovation and improve an organization’s competitiveness within the US economy. The presence of such talent helps foster growth and improvement, making the EB-1A a key tool for companies aiming to maintain an edge in global markets.

See also: A Guide to Finding Global Talent

Navigating the EB-1A visa application requires careful attention to legal and compliance issues to ensure that the documentation provided meets USCIS standards for extraordinary ability.

It is essential for both applicants and their legal representatives to maintain adherence to all immigration laws and regulations to avoid potential setbacks or denials.

Before you consider applying for US residency using this visa, consult with an immigration lawyer who will be able to review your eligibility status and proof to ascertain your chances of success.

“I’ve never come across a team that moves so quickly, responds to questions in almost real-time and yet is so detail-oriented. After working with them, I wouldn’t consider working with anyone else for my immigration needs. They’re simply spectacular.” —Mohak Nahta, Founder and CEO, Atlys

See also: How Deel Is Reinventing the Immigration Journey

Fast-track your US visa with Deel Immigration

Deel Immigration is transforming the immigration process, offering candidates a premier experience that blends cutting-edge technology with human touch, ensuring a transparent and smooth immigration journey.

Deel’s user-friendly platform offers self-serve functionality, an application status timeline, real-time status updates, access to a dedicated case manager, and exclusive relocation services, keeping you well-informed and supported at every turn.

Connect with the Deel immigration team today to expedite your visa process and kickstart your US adventure.

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