Labor certification is not required for this preference category and it is possible to self-petition as well as have an offer of employment. individuals typically benefit from an overall shorter permanent residence process, because labor certification is not required, there are shorter waiting times, and concurrent filing of the petition and the application to adjust status is more commonly available.
This classification is available for individuals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, and athletics and is similar to the O-1 non-immigrant classification described below but a grant of an O-1 does not guarantee that the petition will be approved. Extraordinary ability is defined as “a level of expertise indicating that the individual is one of that small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor" and “reserved for aliens whose credentials and accomplishments place them at the very top of their field” and is extremely restrictive. This is the only classification where an individual can self-petition.
These individuals must stand apart in the academic community through eminence and distinction based on international recognition. Although “recognized internationally as outstanding” is a high standard, experience has shown the standard applied to outstanding researchers is slightly lower than that applied to aliens of extraordinary ability.
This classification is for those who have been employed outside the United States in the 3 years preceding the petition for at least 1 year by a firm or corporation. They must be seeking to enter the United States to continue service to that firm or organization. Their employment must have been outside the United States in a managerial or executive capacity and with the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the employer. This immigrant classification is similar to the L-1 nonimmigrant classification described below, although the grant of L-1A status does not guarantee that the petition will be approved.