Work and live abroad is a complete resource for those wanting to work abroad or live abroad. We provide overseas job openings, immigration information, legal advice and country guides.
Receive updates on working and living abroad
Live Abroad

Jul 30, 2005
Green Card for "Extraordinary" Individuals
- Atty. Robert Reeves Email this article

There are a number of options available for people seeking to permanently immigrate to the United States. Many of these options are available to individuals who are a member of a particular profession or group. For example, there is a specific permanent residency category available to people who are Nurses or Physical Therapists. People who work in either of these professions are eligible for expedited processing of their green card applications. One of the faster and more effective avenues for permanent residency are the green card categories available to people who are particularly accomplished in their field of expertise. This article will briefly discuss just one of these options, the EB-1-1 “Extraordinary Ability” category.


The EB-1-1 category is available to foreign nationals with “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. Generally speaking, the individual must demonstrate “sustained national or international acclaim” in their field in order to establish eligibility. Although this wording may seem intimidating, Reeves & Associates has successfully represented such diverse individuals as scientists, news anchors, fashion designers, university professors, etc. in their EB-1-1 applications. 


There are different ways to demonstrate that a foreign national has achieved a satisfactory level of national or international acclaim. The primary way to do this is to document that the individual can satisfy three of ten enumerated evidentiary criteria listed for the EB-1-1 category. These ten criteria range from evidence of “published material about the alien” to documentation that the person has “commanded a high salary or other significantly high remuneration” for work in the field.


There are a number of advantages to applying under the EB-1-1 category. One of the primary benefits is that the sponsorship of an employer is not required. Therefore, because EB-1-1 applicants can “self-petition,” the lengthy waiting times involved in a labor certification (e.g. due to the recent retrogression in visa numbers) can be completely avoided.


The EB-1-1 Extraordinary Ability category is an effective, yet often unexplored avenue for obtaining permanent residency to the United States. In fact, there are a number of other excellent alternatives available to accomplished individuals that have not been discussed in this article.

As always we recommend that you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney to evaluate your options to achieve permanent residency status. 




Author's Note:  The analysis and suggestions offered in this column do not create a lawyer-client relationship and are not a substitute for the individual legal research and personalized representation that is essential to every case. 


Atty. Reeves has represented clients in numerous landmark immigration cases that have set new policies regarding INS action and immigrants' rights.  His many successes have been published in Interpreter Releases, Immigration Briefings and AILA Monthly which are nationally recognized immigration periodicals widely read by immigration lawyers, State Department and immigration officials.  His cases are also cited in test books as a guide to other immigration practitioners.  His offices are located in Pasadena, San Francisco, Beijing and Makati City.  Telephone: (2) 759-6777 E-mail: Website:

Reader Comments
2BjX9Y ixrlvtf - Dgbejbriio
Add your own comment >>