First Preference Classification


Based on Extraordinary Ability


Author:

Kaushik Ranchod, Immigration Attorney in California

First Preference Classification Based on Extraordinary Ability

Doctors who are able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the field of science may file an I-140 Petition without employer sponsorship, seeking the employment based first preference classification. If the doctor submits the petition without a sponsoring employer, the doctor must demonstrate that he or she is coming to the United States to continue work in his or her area of expertise. Evidence of such intent includes a letter from a prospective employer, documentation of prearranged commitments or a personal statement detailing plans on how the doctor intends to continue work in the United States.

Requirements for Extraordinary Ability

The definition of extraordinary ability for purposes of EB-1 classification is very similar to that of the O-1 visa category. The doctor must show that he or she has sustained national or international acclaim, and that his or her achievements have been recognized in the field of science. Such acclaim can be supported by evidence of a significant one-time achievement, i.e., receipt of a major, internationally recognized award. Alternatively, the doctor may provide documentation of at least three of the following:

  • Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor
  • Published material about the doctor in professional or major trade publications or other major media relating to the doctor’s work in the field of science
  • Evidence of the doctor’s original scientific contribution of major significance
  • Membership in associations that require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in the doctor’s discipline or field
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  • Participation on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field
  • Evidence that the doctor has performed a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation
  • Documentation showing that the doctor has commanded a high salary or other significantly high remuneration for services

The immigration regulations also include a “catch-all” provision which states that if the above standards do not readily apply to the beneficiary’s occupation, “comparable” evidence may be submitted to show the beneficiary’s extraordinary ability. It is important to consider each of the above factors and analyze other types of documentation in preparing an I-140 Petition requesting classification based on the doctor’s extraordinary ability. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has become more stringent in determining whether an individual truly has extraordinary ability pursuant to the immigration regulations. Thus, even if the doctor has previously been approved for O-1 status, there is no guarantee that the USCIS will approve an I-140 Petition seeking EB-1 classification based on extraordinary ability.

If you want to learn more about whether you qualify for EB-1 classification based on extraordinary ability or whether a different strategy would better suit your needs, please contact our office to schedule a consultation at 415-986-6186.

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