MOSAIC Paradigm Law Group PC.
MOSAIC Paradigm Law Group PC.

Interpretation of Eb-1A (Extraordinary Ability) Eligibility Criteria I: Prizes or Awards


According to a report by Tencent, "as of August 3, the search volume of WeChat keyword “immigration” has increased by 150% as compared to yesterday, and the daily search volume has reached an astonishing 50 million times. The search volume of “destination country” + “immigration” keyword also rose on August 2, including 504,000 times of search by using the keywords “American immigration”." In less than 12 years, the immigration team of MPLG has successfully applied for various work visas or green cards for thousands of Chinese customers (enterprises and individuals), including hundreds of successful EB-1A cases. For the application of an Extraordinary Ability visa, we found that some agencies within the market were misreading the eligibility criteria, which led many applicants to think that they were fully qualified and then found that they could not continue during the petitioning process or were denied after paying the fees for application services.

There are two main ways for a Chinese citizen to obtain U.S. green card: family immigration and employment-based immigration. Among them, employment-based immigrants are divided into five categories. The First Preference EB-1A has no priority date. In particular, EB-1A is eligible for premium processing. The I-140 petition can be approved within 15 days, and soon enter the NVC or the I-485 process. EB-1A is the fastest way for employment-based immigrants to obtain green cards. However, its eligibility criteria are seriously misread.

Starting from this article, we will explain the common eligibility criteria for Extraordinary Ability visa.


The EB-1A in the First Preference Employment-Based Immigration, also known as "Extraordinary Ability" visa, is a migration route provided by the U.S. to attract people with extraordinary abilities in the fields of arts, science, education, business and athletics from various countries.

"Extraordinary Ability" visa requires applicants to have "extraordinary ability" in these fields, and have national or international reputation and achievements. Their achievements and contributions must be widely recognized in this field. The successful applicants should be considered as one the top experts in this field (one of that Small Percentage). At the same time, after obtaining the green card for Extraordinary Ability, the applicant must be continuing to work in his or her field in the United States, and his or her work will bring substantial contributions to the relevant development of U.S. society.

We all know that apart from being recipients of Pulitzer, Oscars, Olympic medals and other world-class top awards, most applicants must meet 3 of the 10 criteria to be approved for EB-1A visa. Therefore, it is not surprising that "prizes or awards" rank the first in the list of 10. In this article, we will discuss in detail about the " receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence", that is, when the applicant has won national or world-class prizes or awards that are less well-known than the Oscar or the Olympic medals.

Prizes or Awards

The legal terms for this criterion seem to be very simple, yet the most easily misunderstood parts of the criterion are the following aspects:

First: What are prizes or awards on a national or even world level? Simple put: The participants come from all four corners of the earth. The candidate pool of the competition is nation-wide, or from many countries around the world. Therefore, the most typical prizes or awards, such as the competition conducted within a certain province, are limited in terms of the geographic scope of recruitment of candidates-this is often reflected by the name of the competition. Such prizes or awards do not meet the requirements.

The second concept that is easy for the applicants to confuse is that, for example, although the "National Youth Designer Competition" is nation-wide, it limits the age of the contestants, does not cover the whole field, and does not meet the criteria for the scope of prizes or awards; Another example is the "Ding Ling Literature Award". Similarly, the gender-limited competition does not meet the criteria for the prizes or awards in the application for Extraordinary Ability.

There is a third typical example, where the applicant has won the title of "National Top Ten Outstanding Entrepreneurs". Does this award meet the criteria? The award is nation-wide, covers all fields, and the award seems very prestigious. But please note that when evaluating such an award, we must pay attention to which field the applicant belongs to, and we need to see the criteria of the award evaluation/selection. By which criterion are candidates compared against each other? Qualified "prizes or awards" require applicants to win national or world-class prizes or awards in their professional fields, and pay special attention to the match between the prizes or awards and the applicant's professional fields. Of course, the specific case analysis shows that if the applicant can win the title of "National Top Ten Outstanding Entrepreneurs", he must be outstanding in a certain field. Even if, after the final evaluation. The award cannot be classified as evidence under the criterion of "prizes or award", it might serve as corroborating evidence that he or she meets some other criteria for Extraordinary Ability visa.

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