Tell me more about the EB-1A extraordinary ability green card – ClearTips

Here’s another version “Dear Sophie,” advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working in technology companies.

“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that allows people around the world to rise above boundaries and pursue their dreams,” says Silicon Valley immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn. “Whether you’re in people ops, a founder, or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your questions in my next column.”

Extra Crunch members get access to a weekly “Dear Sophie” column; Use promo code ALCORN to buy a one or two year membership at 50% off.


dear sophie,

I’m a postdoc engineer who started STEM OPT in June after failing to get selected in the H-1B lottery.

A colleague suggested I apply for EB-1A for a Green Card of Exceptional Potential, but I haven’t won a major prize, not a Nobel Prize at all. Will you tell me more about EB-1A?

Thank you!

— Bashful in Berkeley

Dear Bashful,

Thank you for contacting me! Most people who get a green card through the EB-1A process are far from getting a Nobel Prize – don’t worry, it’s still possible!

My legal partner, Anita Koumrikian, recently spoke with Lani Denslow, a cultural competence and business protocol consultant who helps companies and professionals navigate cultural differences in today’s complex, fast-paced and global business environment. . In the Immigration Law for Tech Startups podcast episode, he talked about how culture drives behavior and how we need to understand the culture from which someone comes from to understand their actions and attitudes.

A composite image of immigration law attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background with the ClearTips logo.

image credit: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (Opens in a new window)

Along those lines, I often see that many international professionals and students who qualify for EB-1A are overly modest and underestimate their abilities and achievements. In American culture, professionals are expected to promote their abilities and achievements or personal branding. While that practice is accepted in the United States, it is in many other countries, where modesty is culturally valued.

This means that many international professionals and students – perhaps even you – are at their leisure when submitting applications for the EB-1A Exceptional Potential Green Card and collecting five to eight recommendation letters from qualified individuals to assess their work. Can feel out of zone. Achievements.

Before I proceed, I recommend that you consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can assess whether you would be a strong candidate for EB-1A or whether the other option would be a better fit for your situation and goals. You should consider talking to your employer about sponsoring you for a green card, and know that you can also file a petition yourself. EB-1A and EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) are two employment-based green cards for which beneficiaries can self-petition (without an employer sponsor).

Qualifying for EB-1A

To qualify for EB-1A, you must meet someone three among these:

  1. You have received nationally or internationally recognized awards or prizes for excellence. These awards must be post-university levels and can include things like VC funding, pitch competitions and international hackathons.

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