The “extraordinary ability category” is for immigrants with extraordinary ability in the field of science, business, arts, education, or athletics. This applies only to a small percentage of immigrants who have ascended to the very summit of their respective field. For instance, if you received a major internationally recognized award, you can qualify for a green card through “extraordinary ability category”. Awards that may qualify you are Pulitzer Prize, an Academy Award, Olympic Medal and of course the Nobel prize.
As very few people receive such major awards, an alternative proof of extraordinary ability can be submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which satisfies the criteria required by the law. It should be noted that your field of expertise should involve the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. The immigration officer must first understand your field of expertise before determining the extraordinary ability demonstrated by you in the requisite field. Your statement should explain any scientific concepts involved and provide real world examples of the applicability of your work in the field. It should include an explanation of how your work is capable of providing benefit to the public or private sector.
Do immigrant employees need to be sponsored by employers?
Most of the employment-based immigrants must be funded by employers who have to file a labor certification on their behalf. In the labor certification process, employers must make an effort to recruit U.S. workers for the job being offered to an intending immigrant. This process involves certain requirements and approval by the Department of Labor. The employer can file an immigrant petition only after the Department of Labor has approved the labor certification.
Green Card Through Extraordinary Ability – The Process
Firstly, to get a green card through extraordinary ability, you should file Form I-140, which is a Petition for an Immigrant Worker. In this petition, you must prove to the USCIS that you are an immigrant of extraordinary ability. With this petition, you should also submit substantial supporting documentation, detailing your achievements.
Secondly, the process depends on whether you are applying from within the U.S. or from abroad. If you are already legally present in the U.S., you have to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Once this application is approved, you will be a permanent resident of the United States. If you are applying from outside the U.S., you have to apply for permanent residency at a U.S. Consulate.
You can file Form I-140 and Form I-485 at the same time which may result in a slightly quicker processing time. You may file for an employment authorization document and advance parole document along with your application to adjust status. Immigrants under this category enjoy certain advantages. You can file your own petition. A job offer and Labor Certification is not required.
In order to qualify for an extraordinary ability immigrant visa, you must prove, through extensive documentation, that your achievements are recognized in your field.
After you become a permanent resident, you should work in your field of expertise. If possible, you should submit evidence of your ability along with the petition, to continue working in your field. If you are already working in your field in the U.S. and plan to continue this employment after becoming a permanent resident, you can submit a letter from your employer that explains your job duties and role. If you are applying for permanent residence from outside the U.S. and already have a job offer in the U.S., you can include in your petition, a copy of the offer letter or contract of employment.