The EB-1A is the most misunderstood category of employment-based green cards. Due to its seemingly stringent eligibility requirements, many people avoid it and opt for other options. This article explains all you need to know about the EB-1A green card and how to leverage achievements you have made in your field of endeavor to qualify for this most sought-after category.
Understanding the Plain Language Meaning of EB-1A Eligibility Requirements
The EB-1A green card petition is adjudicated using the plain language meaning of the statute. This means the adjudicating officer will determine your eligibility for EB-1A based on the information that you present in your petition to decide whether or not they meet the statutory requirements of the category. There are 3 specifics statutory requirements you are expected to
demonstrate as an EB-1A applicant. They are:
1. That Your Work is Intrinsically or Naturally Beneficial to the United States
This means your endeavor, expertise, or contribution in your field has national importance, which will benefit the United States. A good example is someone working in the health arena, using his or her expertise to improve the US healthcare system. This doesn’t necessarily mean you must be a health practitioner. For example, you may be an IT person developing an application that will help people check their blood pressure, serve as a diet reminder, step counter, exercise tracker, etc. With such an endeavor, you have a good chance of meeting the national importance requirement and that you are well-positioned to advance the endeavor.
2. That You Have Achieved Sustained Acclaim Recognized Within Your Field of Endeavor
This must also be looked at based on the plain language of the statute. Here we have 3 specific keywords, which you must focus on as an applicant. The first one of “Sustained Acclaim,” the second is “Recognition,” and the last is “Within Your Field.” In other words, you have recorded a certain achievement that is recognized in your field. Sometimes, many applicants don’t recognize how significant or valuable their achievements and/or contributions within their field of endeavor. For example, one who created a new database platform or mobile application may regard such an achievement as a “normal” or “common” occurrence within your field. However, this achievement may be highly relevant to the criteria of having an original contribution of major significance and will be relevant in satisfying the sustained acclaim requirement in your EB-1A petition by the company. For example, you may be working for or employed by a consulting firm, which is, however, contracted to render important services for a reputable organization. Under your services to that reputable organization, you may fulfill the requirement of “performing” in a critical role and meeting the criteria of sustainable acclaim, especially if you have been undertaking the critical role over a certain period of time. We have had consultations with clients who didn’t know the enormity of their contributions within their field until we start analyzing it together in the face of the law and open their eyes to how much that can help them achieve their EB-1A green card.
3. That You Command a High Salary
Commanding a higher salary than other people in the same field is among the most important ways one can meet the EB-1A requirements. This is so because it is an objective measure and a business enterprise will never overpay an individual without a valid basis, thus salary is an objective measure of where one stands within the field of endeavor. Many people don’t realize that they command a high salary that is worth leveraging for their EB-1A application. For example, if you are earning within the $150,000 range, that is already a high salary as you are in the top 5% of high earners in the United States. The word “high salary” is relative, which is why you may need an immigration law expert to help you evaluate this and use it to your advantage.
Other EB-1A Requirements
Other EB-1A requirements include reviewing and judging the work of others, having professional membership with an organization that requires outstanding achievements and having published materials.
Reviewing and Judging the Work of Others: Reviewing and judging the work of other professionals doesn’t necessarily mean the work must be a publication. It could be a certain process, algorithm, or project in your field or an allied field.
Membership: For membership requirements, you can demonstrate this by finding an organization that requires outstanding achievements. And if you already belong to one, you can elevate your level of membership according to your current skills or accomplishment and leverage that for your EB-1 application.
Publication of scholarly work: Many EB-1A applicants tend to focus on publications more than any other criteria and even regard it as a requirement. While having publications of work intended for a learned audience is helpful, it is worth noting that publication is just one of the 10 sustained acclaim criteria. If you are a postdoc, researcher, or other professionals that publish materials, it is recommended that you leverage your published works in your EB-1A application.
However, if you are in a different field where publications don’t apply, you don’t need to start publishing materials just solely for the EB-1A process. There are so many other criteria you can leverage. The most important thing is to present your petition convincingly to the adjudicating officer by paying attention to the plain language of the law.