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Exceptional Ability

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Alien of Exceptional Ability

The key to demonstrating exceptional ability is to show that the applicant possesses a level of expertise above that which would normally be encountered in the field. Exceptional ability is limited to aliens in the fields of arts, science and business. After some debate, it now seems clear that for purposes of this category, athletics are to be considered an art.

In making the application, the USCIS requires at least three of the following six types of evidence:

  1. Official record of a degree from a college, university or other learning institution related to the field in which the alien claims exceptional ability,
  2. Evidence of ten years of full time experience in the field in which employment is sought (typically in the form of letters from past employers);
  3. A license to practice or certification;
  4. Evidence of a high salary or other form of payment that indicates exceptional ability;
  5. Evidence of membership in professional associations; and
  6. Evidence of recognition by peers or professional associations for achievements and contributions to the field.

Other comparable evidence may be submitted.

There is an exception to the labor certification requirement for EB-2 Exceptional Ability petitions. This exception is available for positions under Schedule A. To qualify for Schedule A, Group II, an individual must submit: (1) evidence testifying to his current widespread acclaim and international recognition; (2) documentation showing that his work during the past year required, and his intended work will require, exceptional ability; and (3) evidence from at least two of the following seven categories:

  1. Receipt of international prizes or awards for excellence in the field;
  2. Membership in an international organizations that requires outstanding achievement of their members;
  3. Published work about the alien relating to the alien’s work in professional publications;
  4. Evidence of the alien’s participation as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field;
  5. Original scientific or scholarly research contribution of major significance in the field;
  6. Authorship of scientific or scholarly articles in the field in professional journals with international distribution; or
  7. Display of the alien’s work at artistic exhibitions in more than one country.

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