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Green card requirements based on ‘extraordinary ability’

Is it possible to get a green card based on outstanding achievement in sports, the arts, business, or the sciences?

The short answer is yes. At Antonini and Cohen Immigration Law Group we have obtained green cards for many athletes, artists, scientists, professors and business executives who have major accomplishments in their field. This avenue is called an “extraordinary ability” visa. It is intended for “the small percentage of individuals who have risen to the very top of their field of endeavor.”

The general requirements for receiving a green card based on extraordinary ability are proving both “sustained national or international acclaim,” and recognition in the field through extensive documentation.

The specific requirements are either documentation of a major internationally recognized award or at least 3 of the following.

Extraodinary Ability Visa Requirements:

  • Receipt of a lesser nationally or internationally recognized prize or award;
  • Membership in an organization which requires outstanding achievement to join;
  • Published material about the applicant in a trade publication or major media;
  • Participation as a judge of the work of others in the field;
  • Evidence of original and major contribution to the field;
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in the field;
  • Artistic exhibition or showcase;
  • High salary or compensation in relation to others in the field;
  • Commercial success in the performing arts; or
  • Performance in a leading or cultural role for organizations with a distinguished reputation in the field.

Of course, not all professions lend themselves to this type of evidence. Recognizing that, USCIS will consider comparable evidence. For example, we have filed many extraordinary ability petitions for athletes. In those cases, we routinely provide comparable evidence of achievement. 

Last, one of the best things about filing under extraordinary ability is that no employer is needed. In other words, you can self-petition.

Some of our clients are outstanding in their field and wish to self-petition but can’t quite meet the criteria above. In these cases, we have had success with “exceptional ability” green cards filed in conjunction with a national interest waiver request.

Contact Our Atlanta Immigration Law Attorneys Today

At Antonini and Cohen, we’d be happy to meet with you, review your qualifications and personal circumstances, and then advise whether the extraordinary ability route, or another option, is best for you. To schedule a consultation today, call us at (404) 850-9394 or click here to complete a contact form.