Extraordinary Ability Foreign Nationals

Jensen & Jensen regularly assists a large number of individuals with ”Extraordinary Ability” in their fields to obtain United States permanent resident status. We take particular pride in our excellent record of success with extraordinary ability applications. You may email your resume to ptjensen@jensenlaw.com for an evaluation of your chances of success if we assist you to make this type of application.

This type of application is particularly attractive to individuals because it does not require a specific job offer, as long as the foreign national states that he or she will continue to work in his or her field upon approval. Therefore, the foreign national may file a petition on his or her own behalf, rather than relying on an employer sponsor. This type of application is also generally one of the fastest routes to obtain United States permanent resident status.

Who qualifies as a foreign national of “Extraordinary Ability”?

USCIS regulations define extraordinary ability as a "level of expertise indicating that the individual is one of those few who have risen to the top of the field of endeavor."


This category covers aliens who possess "extraordinary ability" in:

  • Sciences
  • Arts
  • Education
  • Business
  • Athletics


There are two ways to demonstrate extraordinary ability. First, the alien can show that they have received a major, internationally recognised award such as a Nobel Prize or an Academy Award. The second, and more common method, is for the alien to show at least three of the following ten types of evidence:

  • Receipt of lesser national or international prizes or awards for excellence in their field of endeavour
  • Membership in associations in the field of endeavour that require outstanding achievements of their members
  • Published material about the alien and their work in professional journals, trade publications or other major media
  • Participation, either in a group or alone, as a judge of others in the same or similar field
  • Original scientific, scholarly, or artistic contributions of major significance in the field of endeavour
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in the field, published in professional journals or other major media
  • Display of the foreign national's work at artistic exhibitions or showcases in more than one country
  • Performance in a lead, starring, or critical role for organisations with a distinguished reputation
  • Commanding a high salary in relation to others in the field
  • Commercial success in the performing arts, as shown by box office receipts and sales
  • Other comparable evidence