Merit-Based Visas: EB-1A & National Interest Waiver

Anyone who can demonstrate that they have achieved a certain level of success and recognition in their respective field may qualify for a merit-based visa.
These include that EB-1A visa and the National Interest Waiver, neither of which require sponsorship from an employer.

What is EB-1A explained?

The EB1A visa is designed for individuals who possess exceptional talent in specific industries. It caters to foreign nationals with extraordinary abilities in fields such as arts, sciences, business, education, and athletics.

To obtain an EB1A visa, you need to demonstrate both your extraordinary ability and your intention to continue working in your field upon entering the United States.

Extraordinary ability signifies that you belong to the distinguished few who have reached the pinnacle of their respective fields.

There are various ways to prove extraordinary ability, including receiving significant industry awards, earning a substantially higher salary compared to others in your field, and other relevant factors (which will be discussed in detail below).

The EB1A classification is an immigrant category, providing eligibility for a green card not only for the applicant but also for their spouse and children.

Additionally, the EB1A classification allows for self-petition, enabling applicants to apply on their own behalf without the need for a sponsoring employer.

In summary:

  • The EB1A visa is available to individuals with extraordinary abilities in arts, sciences, business, athletics, or education.
  • The EB1A visa is reserved for those who have achieved the highest levels of success in their respective fields.
  • To secure an EB1A visa, you must demonstrate extraordinary ability and a commitment to continuing work in your field upon entering the United States.

How do you qualify for EB1A?

  1. That you have an extraordinary ability in either the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.
  2. That you are coming to the United States to continue working in your field of extraordinary ability.
  3. That your entry to the United States will substantially benefit the United States.

In order to give a clear view about what does Extraordinary Ability do, we will provide a step-by-step process on explaining:

  1. Understanding Extraordinary Ability:
  2. Extraordinary ability refers to a high level of expertise that places an individual at the pinnacle of their field of endeavor

  3. Establishing Extraordinary Ability:
  4. To prove your extraordinary ability, you need to present evidence of sustained national or international acclaim and recognition of your achievements within your field

  5. Evidentiary Criteria for EB1A Visa:
  6. There are two approaches to meet this requirement:

    1. One -Time Achievement:
    2. A major, internationally recognized award, such as the Nobel Peace Prize or an Academy Award, can demonstrate sustained national or international acclaim.

    3. Meeting Three of the Ten Criteria:
    4. If you don't have a major award, you can satisfy this requirement by fulfilling at least three of the following criteria:

      • Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards.
      • Membership in associations that require outstanding achievements.
      • Publication of your work in professional or major trade publications.
      • Participation as a judge in your field of specialization.
      • Significant contributions in your field of endeavor.
      • Authorship of scholarly articles.
      • Display of your work at exhibitions or showcases.
      • Leading or critical role for distinguished organizations.
      • Commanding a high salary or remuneration.
      • Commercial successes in the performing arts.

      Note: In cases where a criterion doesn't directly apply to your field, comparable evidence can be submitted, explaining the relevance to your extraordinary ability.

  7. Proving Intent to Continue Working:
  8. Alongside demonstrating extraordinary ability, you must provide clear evidence that you intend to work in your field within the United States.

    This can be established through:

    • Letters from potential employers in your field.
    • Contracts with U.S. companies indicating your commitment to work.
    • A detailed written statement outlining your plans to work in the U.S.

    No job offer is required for this purpose.

  9. Demonstrating Substantial Benefit to the United States:
  10. The final requirement is to show that your entry to the U.S. will substantially benefit the country.

    Typically, working in your area of extraordinary ability is considered beneficial. A written statement explaining how your work will contribute to the United States is usually sufficient.

    Remember, it's important to gather and present compelling evidence to support your case throughout the application process.

    If you have any questions, please contact the immigration lawyers at Davies & Associates.

Examples of Documentary Evidence That A Person is an Outstanding Professor Or Researcher

  • Evidence of receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement
  • Evidence of membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement
  • Evidence of published material in professional publications written by others about the alien's work in the academic field
  • Evidence of participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field
  • Evidence of original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field
  • Evidence of authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field

Common questions about EB-1A

Is EB-1A easy to get?

Obtaining an EB-1A visa is challenging as it is specifically designed for individuals with extraordinary ability in their fields.

The eligibility criteria are rigorous, requiring substantial evidence of exceptional talent, recognition, and contributions.

The application process involves showcasing major awards, published work, media recognition, and expert testimonials.

Approvals are at the discretion of USCIS officers, and each case is evaluated individually. The difficulty level varies based on qualifications, evidence strength, and officer interpretation.

Seeking guidance from an immigration attorney can be helpful in navigating the complex process and increasing the chances of success.

What is the success rate of EB-1A?

As long as the petitioner provides a complete list of documents that prove his or her qualifications and extraordinary ability, the approval rate is almost 100%.

The success rate of the EB-1A visa can vary depending on several factors, including the strength of the applicant's case, the quality of evidence presented, and the discretion of the USCIS officer reviewing the application.

While specific success rates are not publicly available, it is important to note that the EB-1A category is known for being highly competitive due to its stringent requirements.

To increase the chances of success, it is crucial to thoroughly prepare and present a compelling case with substantial evidence of extraordinary ability and sustained national or international acclaim.

Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney who specializes in employment-based visas can provide valuable guidance in navigating the process and maximizing the likelihood of a successful outcome.

It's also worth noting that the success rate can vary across different fields and industries. Some fields may have higher success rates due to the nature of the work and the availability of supporting evidence, while others may face greater challenges in meeting the stringent requirements.

Ultimately, the success of an EB-1A visa application depends on the individual's qualifications, the strength of their evidence, and the USCIS officer's evaluation of the case.

If you have any questions, please contact the immigration lawyers at Davies & Associates.

What is a US National Interest Waiver?

A US National Interest Waiver (NIW) is an immigration benefit that allows certain foreign nationals to seek permanent residency (green card) in the United States without the need for a job offer or labor certification.

It is granted based on the individual's ability to demonstrate that their work is of substantial intrinsic merit and national importance, and that their admission to the United States would greatly benefit the country. The NIW is available under the EB-2 visa category.

National Interest Waiver (NIW): How to qualify?

The eligibility criteria for the National Interest Waiver (NIW) are defined by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Generally, individuals who can demonstrate that their work or contributions are of substantial intrinsic merit and national importance may qualify for the NIW.

They must also establish that it would be in the national interest of the United States to waive the usual requirement of a job offer and labor certification.

Frequently Asked Questions about National Interest Waiver - answered by Davies & Associates

What is the National Interest Waiver for?

The National Interest Waiver (NIW) is not specifically related to the J-1 visa category.

The J-1 visa is an exchange visitor program that allows individuals to come to the United States for various educational, cultural, and scientific exchange programs.

The NIW, on the other hand, is an employment-based immigration benefit under the EB-2 visa category.

It is important to note that the NIW is not limited to any particular visa category and can be pursued by individuals who meet the eligibility requirements, regardless of their current visa status.

Can I apply for a National Interest Waiver outside the US?

Yes, it is possible to apply for the National Interest Waiver (NIW) outside the United States. The NIW application process involves submitting the required forms, supporting documents, and evidence to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) either directly or through consular processing.

However, it is important to note that the NIW is an employment-based immigration benefit that requires a thorough presentation of evidence to establish eligibility. It is advisable to consult an immigration attorney or seek professional guidance to ensure the application is properly prepared and submitted.

If you have any questions, please contact the immigration lawyers at Davies & Associates.

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Eranjan Venura Parua
Eranjan Venura Parua
2 months ago

"After finding D&A through an internet search in 2020, my wife and I had several free consultations with David Cantor. Despite our initial attempt at filing for our E2 visa independently ending in failure, we decided to hire D&A for their expertise and support. Over the course of four long years, Verdie and Cristina were incredibly patient as we took our time to prepare for the E2 submission. Verdie became our E2 Attorney in 2021, and from the start, Verdie and Cristina's patience was evident. Despite our intermittent engagement over the years, they always treated us with the utmost attention. Working with Verdie and the D&A team was a pleasure; their professionalism and support were unwavering. Verdie's calm demeanor and succinct communication style made navigating the process much smoother, even during complex discussions. I wholeheartedly recommend Verdie and D&A - Davies & Associates, to anyone seeking an immigration law firm who can efficiently handle their case with precision and without unnecessary fanfare. Their ability to get things done speaks volumes about their dedication to their clients' success."

Jeremy Abernathy
Jeremy Abernathy
5 months ago

I had the pleasure of working with Verdie and Nessa to obtain my E2 Visa. Their in-depth knowledge and experience allowed me to be fully prepared in my application and they were able to answer all questions leading up to the Visa interview.

Saeed Muhammad
Saeed Muhammad
6 months ago

Verdie was an amazing attorney, providing exceptional client care throughout the process. He had a great depth of knowledge in all areas on business visas in the US.

Satyabrat Chowdhury
Satyabrat Chowdhury
8 months ago

I had a great experience with Davies & Associates. They are very thorough in the approach and their have experts in this field who know the domain very well.I would certainly be leaning onto them for any future needs as well.

Christine Envall
Christine Envall
a year ago

Getting my E2 Visa was a very in-depth process that took just over a year from when I committed to it, but 8 months from when I found a business I wanted to purchase. The only reason I'm giving 4 and not 5 stars is because the timeframe was a lot longer than expected from the initial information. Aside from the timing, Verdie and his team led me through the Visa process, providing all the guidance I needed to be successful, including advising me on the RIGHT type of Visa to suit my goals. Within the process I purchased a business and the greater Davies team included lawyer Rinat who helped me put the deal together. One of the biggest parts was my Business Plan which created from my info by Ana Ortiz, who did an incredible job. The process is certainly tedious and Verdie & Christina were always there to answer my questions, provide suggestions and advice and ensure I had all the documents I needed to support my application. I appreciated their patience with my questions and their advice and in the end, the application was so thorough the interview process was quick and easy. I highly recommend Davies & Associates and look forward to working with them again when it's time to renew my Visa.

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