Tell me more about the EB-1A Extraordinary Capacity Green Card – TechCrunch
Here is another edition from “Dear Sophie”, the advice column that answers questions related to immigration on working in technology companies.
“Your questions are vital for disseminating the knowledge that enables people around the world to cross borders and pursue their dreams,” said Sophie Alcorn, immigration lawyer in Silicon Valley. “Whether you’re in people operations, a founder, or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your questions in my next column.”
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I am a postdoctoral engineer who started STEM OPT in June after failing to be selected for the H-1B lottery.
A colleague suggested that I apply for an EB-1A Green Card for Extraordinary Ability, but I did not win any major awards, let alone a Nobel Prize. Can you tell me more about the EB-1A?
– Shy in Berkeley
Thank you for contacting me ! Most people who get green cards through the EB-1A process are nowhere near getting a Nobel Prize – don’t worry, it’s still possible!
My legal partner, Anita Koumriqian, recently spoke with Lanie Denslow, a cultural skills and business protocol consultant who helps businesses and professionals overcome cultural differences in the complex, rapidly changing and global business environment of today. In the Immigration Law for Tech startups podcast episode, they discussed how culture determines behavior and how we need to understand an individual’s culture of origin in order to understand their actions and approaches.
In this sense, I often find that many international professionals and students who qualify for an EB-1A are extremely modest and underestimate their abilities and achievements. In American culture, professionals are believed to promote their abilities and accomplishments or their personal branding. While this practice is accepted in the United States, it is frowned upon in many other countries, where modesty is more culturally valued.
This means that many international professionals and students – maybe even you – may feel out of their comfort zone when they submit an EB-1A Extraordinary Capacity Green Card application and collect the five to eight letters of recommendation from people qualified to evaluate their work and achievements.
Before diving in any further, I suggest you consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can assess whether you would be a good candidate for an EB-1A or whether other options would suit your circumstances and goals better. You should consider talking to your employer about your sponsorship for a green card and be aware that you can also file a petition on your own. The EB-1A and EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) are two employment-based green cards that beneficiaries can petition for (without a sponsoring employer).
Qualifications for an EB-1A
To be eligible for an EB-1A, you must meet all Three from the following:
- You have received prizes or awards of excellence recognized at national or international level. These awards should be at the postgraduate level and could include such things as venture capital funding, pitch competitions, and international hackathons.