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How to Get an EB-1A Visa: Your Questions Answered

Are you ready to take the next step in your career as an entrepreneur or software engineer? Have you ever dreamed of immigrating to the United States and taking advantage of its opportunities, but don’t know how to get started? Don’t worry!

Getting an EB1A visa is a great way for professionals in these high-demand fields to apply for permanent residence. This article will explain everything you need to know about applying for and getting an EB1A visa, from eligibility requirements, documents needed, and the application process.

We’ve outlined all the key steps here so that you can pursue your dream without any further delay!

What Is an EB-1A Visa?

If you’re a foreign national and possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, then you may be eligible for an EB-1A visa in the United States.

This visa is reserved for individuals who have a proven track record of sustained national or international acclaim in their field of expertise. The purpose of the EB-1A visa is to attract talented individuals to the US and to encourage innovation and economic growth.

This visa also allows its holders to bypass the cumbersome labor certification process required for other employment-based visas. Undoubtedly, the path to obtaining an EB-1A visa is a rigorous process that requires extensive documentation, but it can pave the way for a fulfilling career in the US.

What Are the Benefits of an EB-1A Visa?

One advantage is the ability to self-petition, meaning that the applicant does not need an employer sponsor to apply.

This visa is specifically designed for individuals with extraordinary abilities in the fields of science, arts, education, business, or athletics.

In addition to the self-petition option, EB-1A visa holders may also apply for permanent residency status without needing the traditional labor certification process.

Furthermore, an EB-1A visa holder can bring their spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old to the United States under derivative status.

With the ability to live and work in the US, as well as the direct path to permanent residency, the EB-1A visa provides an enviable path for talented individuals with extraordinary abilities.

How Do I Qualify for an EB-1A Visa?

Qualifying for an EB-1A visa is a highly challenging feat. To be granted this visa, applicants must meet stringent requirements that prove they have exceptional ability in their field, such as the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.

They must also provide compelling evidence that they have received international acclaim and recognition for their achievements, such as awards and publications.

This visa is reserved for the crème de la crème of their fields, so it’s crucial to present a portfolio of impressive accomplishments and skills to prove one’s worth.

While obtaining an EB-1A visa requires a great deal of hard work and dedication, it’s a pathway to a promising future for those who are willing to put in the effort.

Can I Apply for an EB-1A Visa on My Own?

The EB-1A visa is one of the most sought-after work visas in the United States due to its unique benefits and faster processing times.

However, the process of applying for an EB-1A visa can be incredibly complex and lengthy, especially if you decide to go it alone without external assistance.

There are a range of potential challenges that you will need to navigate, including meeting strict eligibility requirements, providing extensive documentation and proving your exceptional abilities in your field.

While it is possible to apply for an EB-1A visa by yourself, it may be beneficial to seek the advice and guidance of an experienced immigration attorney to help you navigate the complex process and increase your chances of success.

Here are the steps to apply for an EB1A Visa:

1. Demonstrate Extraordinary Ability

You must be able to prove that you have extraordinary ability in your field. This can be done through evidence of a major internationally recognized award, or at least three of the following:

2. Prepare Your Petition:

You will need to prepare Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. This form requires detailed information about your qualifications and achievements. It’s often beneficial to have an immigration attorney assist with this step to ensure everything is completed accurately and thoroughly.

3. Submit Your Petition:

Once you have completed the I-140 form, it needs to be submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) along with the required supporting documents and fees.

4. Review by USCIS:

After submission, USCIS reviews your petition. This process can take several months. If additional evidence is needed, USCIS will issue a Request for Evidence (RFE).

5. Wait for USCIS Decision:

If your petition is approved, you can move on to the next step. If it’s denied, you have the option to appeal the decision.

6. Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing:

If you’re already in the U.S., you can file Form I-485 to adjust your status to permanent resident. If you’re outside the U.S., you’ll go through consular processing at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country.

5. Interview:

Whether you’re adjusting status or going through consular processing, you’ll likely have an interview at a USCIS office or U.S. embassy or consulate.

6. Receive Your Green Card:

If your application is approved, you’ll receive your green card in the mail. This grants you permanent resident status in the U.S.

Remember, the EB1A process is complex and requires careful preparation. It’s often recommended to seek legal counsel to help navigate the process.

Can Employers Sponsor an EB-1A Visa?

In terms of sponsorship, the EB-1A visa falls under the category of self-petition visas, meaning that individuals must take responsibility for their application.

However, employers may still play a significant role in supporting and facilitating the process. Understanding the complexities of EB-1A visas and the involvement of employers in sponsorship is crucial for both potential visa holders and their sponsoring organizations.

Is an EB-1A Visa Eligible for Premium Processing?

While the standard processing time for this visa can be lengthy, there is an option for expedited processing known as premium processing.

This option allows for a significantly faster turnaround time, as the application is processed within 15 days of submission.

The benefits of this option include peace of mind, less wait time, and the ability to quickly begin working or conducting research in the United States.

However, it is important to note that premium processing does come with an additional fee of 2,500 USD (at the time of this writing). It is crucial to weigh the cost against the potential benefits before deciding if premium processing is the right choice for you.

How Many Citations Are Needed for an EB-1A?

One of the most important factors that could impact your chances of approval is the number of citations you provide in your application.

Essentially, citations are a way for immigration officials to measure the impact of your work and contributions in your field, whether that’s in science, business, or the arts.

While there’s no specific requirement for the number of citations you need to include in your application, it’s generally recommended to have at least several dozen to demonstrate you have a substantial and influential body of work.

So, if you’re looking to apply for an EB-1A visa, don’t underestimate the importance of citations and the impact they can have on your application.

What to Expect at an EB-1A Visa Interview?

If you are scheduled for an EB-1A visa interview, congratulations! It means you have cleared the first hurdle and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has deemed you eligible for this prestigious visa category.

During the interview, you will be asked questions relating to your specific field of expertise and accomplishments that make you stand out from others in your industry. It’s essential to be prepared to discuss your noteworthy achievements and how they benefit the United States as a whole.

Additionally, you will need to showcase your ability to communicate exceptionally well in English and demonstrate why you deserve the visa based on the USCIS requirements. Overall, it’s essential to remain calm, confident and be well-prepared before the interview to increase your chances of obtaining an EB-1A visa.

How Long Does It Take to Get an EB-1A Visa?

For those seeking to apply for an EB-1A visa, understanding the timeline of the application process can help alleviate some of the stress that comes with seeking a visa.

On average, individuals can expect the process to take anywhere from 4 to 10 months. However, it’s important to note that everyone’s timeline may differ, depending on their unique circumstances.

From collecting evidence, to filing the petition, to attending an interview, each step has its own processing time. A lot depends on how quickly you submit all your documentation and how swiftly USCIS completes background checks.

For those who are successful in obtaining an EB-1A visa, the wait will be well worth it, as it provides an opportunity to live and work in the United States permanently as a green card holder.

What Happens If an EB-1A Visa Is Denied?

Not all applicants are successful in obtaining this visa, and a denied application can have significant consequences.

For starters, it means that the individual would not be able to enter the U.S. under the EB-1A category.

Additionally, unless the individual finds an alternative visa option or qualifies for one of the other employment-based categories, their ability to work in the U.S. may be severely hindered.

That being said, a denied EB-1A application does not necessarily mean the end of the road. Options such as filing an appeal or exploring other visa categories may be available to individuals in this situation, and seeking the guidance of an experienced immigration attorney can help pave the way forward.

What Happens After an EB-1A Is Approved?

Congratulations! You have received approval for your EB-1A visa application, which means you are officially recognized as an individual with extraordinary abilities. Now what?

The next step is to undergo a medical examination and apply for a visa at the designated US embassy or consulate.

Once you arrive in the US and enter the designated port of entry, a CBP officer will verify your visa and check your sealed envelope with your papers that were given to you at the visa interview.

After that, you will receive your green card in the mail, granting you permanent residency in the United States. Make sure to stay informed about your responsibilities as a green card holder and the requirements for maintaining your status. Welcome to your new home!


Which Is Easier: EB-1A or EB-1B?

In the realm of employment-based visas, the EB-1A and EB-1B categories can be particularly confusing.

While both offer a path to permanent residency in the United States, they differ in their requirements and complexities.

The EB-1A, also known as the “Alien of Extraordinary Ability” visa, requires applicants to demonstrate exceptional skill in their field, including evidence of major awards, scholarly publications, and media recognition.

In contrast, the EB-1B, or “Outstanding Professor or Researcher” visa, focuses on those who have made significant contributions to their respective academic or scientific fields.

Navigating these differences can be tricky, and often requires the guidance of an experienced immigration attorney.

Can I Get an EB-1A Visa Without a Degree?

While holding a degree is a plus when applying for this visa, it is not necessarily a requirement. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has certain alternative criteria that can be taken into consideration for those who do not possess a formal degree.

These criteria include publications, awards, and evidence of a high salary. It is important to note that the burden of proof falls on the applicant to show that they meet the criteria for this visa.

Therefore, even without a degree, it is still possible to obtain an EB-1A visa with a strong case built on other evidence of achievements in the relevant field.

What Is Evidence for High Salary for an EB-1A Visa?

When applying for an EB-1A visa, one of the key elements that can strengthen your case is evidence of a high salary. But what exactly counts as evidence? Well, there are a few types of documentation that you can use to show that your income is at the top of your field.

For starters, you could gather copies of your tax returns and W-2 forms from the past three years to demonstrate a consistent pattern of high earnings.

You could also provide contracts and offer letters that show the terms and conditions of your employment, along with any salary negotiations that may have taken place.

How Long Does an EB-1A Visa Last?

When your EB-1A petition is approved and you successfully go through the green card process, you’ll receive a permanent green card. This card allows you to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely.

You won’t need to renew it like a regular visa, and it doesn’t expire after a certain number of years. However, it’s important to note that while the green card itself is considered permanent, you will need to renew it every 10 years by filing a Form I-90 to update your card’s information and make sure it remains valid.

What Is the Difference Between EB-1A and EB-1B?

For foreign nationals seeking permanent residency in the United States, the EB-1A and EB-1B visa categories offer important pathways.

Both visas sit under the broader EB-1 category for priority workers and target individuals with extraordinary abilities or outstanding achievements in their fields of work.

However, there are key differences between the two visa categories that individuals should understand before applying.

While EB-1A targets individuals who can demonstrate extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, EB-1B is designed for outstanding researchers and professors.

Factors such as the applicant’s level of peer recognition, evidence of their impact in the field, and the international nature of their work are important considerations for eligibility.

By understanding these distinctions, foreign nationals can determine which visa category best suits their qualifications and goals for pursuing permanent residency in the United States.


In conclusion, obtaining an EB-1A visa is a significant opportunity for individuals with extraordinary abilities to pursue their professional goals in the United States.

The benefits of this visa category are extensive, providing a platform to excel and contribute to various fields.

By understanding the qualifications, compiling essential documentation, and following the application process, you can embark on a journey toward securing this prestigious visa.

To determine if you meet the eligibility criteria for the EB-1A visa, take our eligibility test today.