{4 minutes to read} One of the most underutilized visa categories is the EB-1, extraordinary ability green card. It is actually an employment-based category, but does not require an employer. The EB-1 can be used by individuals who are at the top of their fields and can self-sponsor their green card.

Essentially the idea is for people not to be dependent on employers. If you have an employment based visa, you are always at the mercy of the employer:

  • – Going bankrupt;
  • – Downsizing;
  • – Cutting staff;
  • – Not renewing your visa;
  • – Withdrawing sponsorship and thereby nullifying your status.

The EB-1 is the way for people to control their own destiny.

This visa is a straight green card; in other words, there is no secondary phase and no sponsor requirement. Applicants are able to go from being overseas or being in the U.S. on another visa to getting a green card directly, and then consular processing the visa, or doing an adjustment of status from their nonimmigrant visa to a permanent green card.

Another big advantage to the EB-1 is that there is no limitation on the type of profession. It can’t be used by retirees per se, but it can be used by anyone who can document that they have extraordinary ability in the fields of:

  • – Arts
  • – Education/Academics
  • – Science
  • – Business
  • – Athletics

The argument that must be made is that these individuals are going to contribute to the American economy, culture or society in general.

The standards are similar to, but a bit more stringent than, the O-1 nonimmigrant visa for extraordinary ability, but the EB-1 has more categories which people can use to demonstrate that they have extraordinary abilities, which actually makes it accessible, assuming of course that they are indeed at the top of their fields.

For a list of the EB-1 Requirements for Extraordinary Ability, click here.

Generally, applicants have probably spent at least 10 years in their specific industry/field to get to the top, and can document it through:

  • – Letters from Colleagues of distinguished reputation;
  • – Articles about them in newspapers/magazines of high circulation or trade journals;
  • – National or International Awards;
  • – High compensation;
  • – Membership in important organizations which selectively choose members based on specific criteria;
  • – Critical roles in organizations or productions.

These people have met the highest standard of extraordinary ability for the purposes of this petition, which allows them to get a green card. Once they get their green card, they can do whatever they like in the U.S. They have complete freedom and within 5 years, they have access to U.S. citizenship if they want it.

This is great for entrepreneurs who can show that they’ve attained a lot of success, but also has specific projects and/or businesses that they want to run in the U.S. A lot of people with extraordinary abilities have not been just employees but people who have been groundbreaking individuals in their fields. This is a perfect way for them to come here, see their vision through, and spearhead whatever projects they want that will benefit the U.S.