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EB-1 Extraordinary Ability

This information is for the University of Houston hiring departments who have hired or are interested in hiring a foreign national. This information does not constitute legal advice.

This classification is reserved for individuals with "extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation" (USCIS).  The individual must be one of "that small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor" (USCIS).  Evidence of extraordinary ability in this category includes receipt of a major internationally-recognized award, such as the Nobel Prize or an award from a comparable organization.  Foreigners with extraordinary ability who have not received such level of recognition may still qualify by showing at least three items from the following list provided by the USCIS:

  1. Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence;
  2. Membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members;
  3. Published material about the individual in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
  4. Evidence that the individual has judged the work of others, either individually or on a panel;
  5. Evidence of the individual's original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field;
  6. Evidence of the individual's authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
  7. Evidence that the individual's work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases;
  8. Performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations;
  9. Evidence that the individual commands a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field;
  10. Evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts.


This petition does not require sponsorship by a U.S. employer.  Also, it does not require the filing of a labor certification application with the Department of Labor.