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  • By: Serving Immigrants
  • Published: February 24, 2020
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An O-1 visa is available to foreign nationals who possess extraordinary ability in sciences, education, business, or athletics or who have demonstrated extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry or the arts. A green card is available for individuals with the same achievements to obtain permanent residence in the United States. However, the evidentiary requirements to establish “extraordinary ability” for an O-1 visa are different from those required for an EB1-A green card.

Some people with an O-1 visa may reach a level in their careers where they can qualify for an EB1-A green card. In those instances, they may decide to “upgrade” to a green card based on their eligibility. EB1-A green cards are reserved for a small percentage of individuals at the very top of their fields.

Additional Qualifications

The evidence used to demonstrate “extraordinary ability” in an EB1-A green card application is similar to what is used for an O-1 visa application. However, there are some differences. USCIS evaluates green card applications more strictly, and approval of an O-1 application does not guarantee approval of an EB1-A application. To qualify for an EB1-A green card, a foreign national must demonstrate extraordinary ability with two additional criteria:

  • Evidence that their work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases; and
  • Evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts such as box office receipts or music sales

In addition, unlike in an O-1 visa application, an applicant for a green card must demonstrate that their entry into the U.S. will substantially benefit the U.S. prospectively. They must show that their extraordinary ability enhances American culture, medicine, sciences, or economy.

Benefits Of An EB1-A Green Card

The obvious benefit of an EB1-A green card is the ability to reside in the United States permanently. There are other benefits. An application for a green card can be self-sponsored, unlike an O-1 application. In addition, there is no need to file a new application if the green card holder wants to change jobs. There are also no work hours or wage restrictions. Spouses and children of green card holders can also seek permanent residency and are permitted to work in the U.S.

Contact An Immigration Attorney

If you want to explore upgrading your O-1 visa to a green card, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney. At Serving Immigrants, Inc., we have the experience and the knowledge to guide you through the application process. Contact us online or call us at (305) 907-6151 to schedule a strategy session.

Image of Attorney Magdalena Cuprys, Esq with 4.7 start reviews

Attorney Magdalena Cuprys is a seasoned immigration lawyer based in Orlando and Coral Gables, Florida. With three languages under her belt and years of legal experience working with immigrants of all kinds, she brings considerable experience and insight to the field and works hard to explain immigration concepts, empower future citizens, and keep current and prospective immigrants up to date on US immigration law.

Connect with her firm, Serving Immigrants, to stay updated on the latest developments in United States immigration law and gain valuable insights needed to navigate the challenging legal landscape of immigration in Florida. 

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