One way through which you can get a green card is employment. The employment-based category is divided into four sub categories, called “preferences.” A foreign alien of extraordinary ability comes under the “Priority Worker” classification of employment-based visas. This category is also known as the first preference category.
Qualifying as Alien of Extraordinary Ability
The extraordinary ability category is generally for those with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, as demonstrated by “sustained national or international acclaim” and “achievements recognized in the field through extensive documentation.” This is only for a very small percentage of persons who have risen to the top level of their field. If you were given a major internationally recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize, you will come under the extraordinary ability category. Other awards may also qualify if you can prove that the award is in the same class as the Nobel Prize. It includes Pulitzer Prize, an Academy Award or an Olympic Medal. As very few people receive these types of awards, an alternative evidence of extraordinary ability may also be permitted.
The majority of employment-based immigrants have to be sponsored by a US employer who files a labor certification on their behalf. If you come under the extraordinary ability category, you will not need a specific offer of employment in the US. You can file an immigrant petition yourself, without a need for an US employer to sponsor you.
Getting permanent residency as an immigrant of extraordinary ability is a two-step application process. Firstly, you have to file Form I-140, Petition for an Immigrant Worker. In this petition, you should prove to USCIS that you are an immigrant of extraordinary ability. For this, you have to submit substantial supporting documentation giving details of your achievements with this petition.
The second part of the process depends entirely on whether you are applying from within the U.S. or outside. If you are already present in the US in a valid status, you have to file Form I-485,Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. On approval of this application, you will be a permanent resident of the United States. Whereas if you are applying from outside the U.S., then you have to apply for permanent residency at a U.S. Consulate abroad.
As an alien of extraordinary ability, you enjoy a few advantages. You can file your own petition, independent of a U.S. Employer. Additionally, a job offer is not required, and you do not need a Labor Certification.
After you receive a permanent resident card (green card), you should work in the area of your expertise. You should be able to submit evidence of your ability to continue working in your field with your petition if possible. If you are already working in your field in the US and wish to continue this employment after you become a permanent resident, you can include a letter from your employer who will describe your job duties and role. If you are applying for permanent residence from abroad and already have a US job offer, you can submit a copy of the offer letter or contract of employment.