EB1A Visa: Green Card for Extraordinary Abilities

Every year, the US Department of States (US DOS) issues employment-based visas to workers who will come over to the U.S. to work. Under this category are the EB1A visas which are reserved for gifted individuals who have risen to the very top of their field in athletics, business, education, arts, or sciences.

Skilled workers applying for this visa must be able to show that they would benefit the US if they do come here and they must intend to come to the US to continue working in their field. Additionally, they should be able to prove that they:

  • Have obtained national or international acclaim in their field,
  • Are reputable in their field and have documented records of their achievements,
  • Can prove their exceptional ability in athletics, business, education, arts, or sciences.

The EB1A is just one of the many ways to apply for a visa. There are different ways to get a green card including applying for a student visa, entering the diversity visa lottery, work visas, and even getting a green card through marriage (fiance visa). While these other options may take longer, the requirements may be easier to fulfill and more applicable to your specific case.

To know more, talk to a US immigration attorney at the AmLaw Group, a Florida immigration law firm. Our immigration lawyers are well-versed with the immigration and nationality act and can assist you with the naturalization and immigration process.


Evidence of International or National Acclaim

EB1A VisaTo be able to apply for permanent residence with the EB1A visa, you must be able to provide evidence of nation or international acclaim, first and foremost. This may be in the form of national or international awards including Grand Slam titles in tennis, Nobel Prizes for science or literature, or the Global Teacher Prize for educators. In the absence of international awards, you may still qualify by proving that you had at least three of the following:

  • Had media success in the field of the performing arts which can be quantified through box office receipts or entertainment sales,
  • Had works displayed in an art exhibit or show,
  • Had achievements published in major trade and media announcements,
  • Contributed significantly to the sciences, arts, or other scholarly works,
  • Have assessed the works of others,
  • Have been admitted into prestigious organizations,
  • Are perceived to be an expert in your field,
  • Have received a prize of slightly lesser national or international recognition,
  • Have made a relatively high salary.

USCIS I-140 Petition Form

Unlike other employment-based immigration visas, the EB1A visa does not require a job offer to apply, nor does it require a work permit (PERM Labor Certification) from an employer. This also means that you can self-petition using the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) immigrant petition form. By avoiding the requirements necessary for other immigrant visa types, the EB1A visa is one of the fastest visa methods there is.

USCIS I-485 Application Form

Once your I-140 form has been approved by the USCIS and your priority date is current, you will have to file an I-485 form, the Application to Register Permanent Resident or Adjustment of Status. If approved, this officially makes you a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

EB1A Visa Processing Times

One of the advantages of the EB1A visa is the shorter processing times; you won’t need the extra requirements or a job beforehand, unlike with other immigrant visas. There are also fewer applicants, and as a result, fewer backlogs for this type of visa.

The day that you file your I-140 petition is your priority date. Every month, the DOS will release “final action dates” which essentially means that all 1-140 petitions with those dates will be processed and their respective applicants will receive their visa numbers and will be able to file their I-485 forms.

EB1A visa dates are almost always current, which means waiting times usually span around 6 months, but you can pay for premium processing service so that it can be done in 15 days. This is in contrast to other visa types where waiting times can span years or even decades.

Applicants Outside the U.S.

Change of status is only for applicants who are already living and working in the US with a different visa. If you are not living in the US, you will need to apply for the EB1A at the US embassy or consulate in your country.

You will have to fill out the DS-260 online form and bring the confirmation page to your interview with a consular officer at your local embassy or consulate where he will ask you about your education, career, experience, and potential work in the US. It is in this interview where the interviewer will assess if your application is legitimate and you are qualified to immigrate into the US under an EB1A visa.

The timeline for applications outside of the US varies by area because some areas have more applicants than others. In some regions, the waiting time is only for a few weeks, while for others waiting times can be as long as a few months.

Application Costs

Listed below are the fees both for US residents applying for a change of status and people living outside the US applying for consular processing:

US Residents (Change of Status)
I-140 filing fee $460
I-148 filing fee $750-$1,140 (depending on age)
Biometrics fee (if applicable) $85
Premium Processing Fee (optional) $1,440
Total $1,295-$1,685 (w/o premium); $2,735-$3,125 (w/ premium)


Foreign Nationals (Consular Processing)
I-140 filing fee $460
DS-260 fee $230
Affidavit of Support Fee $88
Biometrics Fee $85
Premium Processing Fee (optional) $1,440
Total $863 (w/o premium); $2,303 (w/ premium)


If you have any more questions about green cards, the green card application process, permanent residency, and anything related to immigrating, don’t hesitate to talk to our Florida immigration attorneys. We will supply you with the immigration information you need and help you become a permanent resident so you can pursue your dreams here in the United States!

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