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Schedule A Exceptional Ability

Generally, individual of high achievement are eligible for EB-1A extraordinary ability green cards or National Interest Waivers. However, under Group II of Schedule A, individuals of exceptional ability can file for a green card in the EB-2 category. This can be an especially attractive option for individuals from countries other than China and India, as EB-2 and EB-1 for all other countries are both current.

In order to qualify under Schedule A Group II,  all of the following points must be demonstrated:

  1. The alien works in a field that could be classified as the “arts” or “sciences”
  2. The alien has received widespread acclaim and international recognition by recognized experts in his or her specific field,
  3. The alien’s work in the field during the past year has required exceptional ability, and,
  4. The alien’s work in the U.S., after the green card is approved, will require exceptional ability.

In addition, to these points, the government requires that the alien produce at least two forms of evidence from the following list:

  1. Documentation of the alien's receipt of internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
  2. Documentation of the alien's membership in international associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized international experts;
  3. Material published in professional publications about the alien and relating to the alien's work in the field for which classification is sought (including the title, date, and author of the published material, and any necessary translation);
  4. Evidence of the alien's participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field of specification for which classification is sought;
  5. Evidence of the alien's original scientific, scholarly research contributions of major significance in the field for which certification is sought;
  6. Evidence of the alien's authorship of published scientific or scholarly articles in the field that have been published in international professional journals or professional journals with an international circulation; and
  7. Evidence of the display of the alien's work in the field at artistic exhibitions in more than one country;

When an employer sponsors an employee for a green card the employer usually must go through the lengthy PERM process, which includes recruiting for an open position and certifying to the Department of Labor that no qualified American citizens or permanent residents applied for the position.

Under Schedule A, employers sponsoring individuals of exceptional ability for green cards can skip the PERM process. Instead the application process goes through the following steps:

  • Employer files prevailing wage request with Department of Labor to determine the required wage for the offered position.
  • Employer posts an internal posting in its office advertising the position for at least 10 consecutive business days.
  • Employee gathers credentials demonstrating that he/she meets the requirements for the sponsored position, including diploma(s), professional license(s), and letter(s) demonstrating experience in the position.
  • Employer files I-140 on behalf of employee.
  • Employee files I-485 petition when priority date is current.