The greatest athletes in the world are gathered in PyeongChang, South Korea for the start of the Winter Olympics. During the Olympics the average person thinks about which sport or athlete they are excited to watch.
However, the immigration lawyers at Perelmuter Law cannot help but immediately think about an underutilized provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
What the INA Means For Olympians Immigrating to the USA
When Congress passed the INA, they carved out a very special employment-based petition for the truly extraordinary individual known as the EB1A. The EB1A is very different than most types of visas because the foreign national can apply for themselves without the need for a sponsor.
These petitions do come with a high standard. Applicants must demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim.
Typically, an EB1A applicant would need to meet 3 of the following 10 criteria:
- receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
- membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members
- published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media
- judging the work of others, either individually or on a panel
- evidence of your original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field
- authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media
- evidence that your work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases
- performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
- commanding a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field
- commercial successes in the performing arts
However, not everyone needs to meet 3 of the above 10 criteria. Some only need to show they have received a one-time major international award. Examples of awards that have been accepted as “major” are the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, an Oscar, AND the Olympic Gold Medal.
Therefore, athletes in PyeongChang may not only be fighting for Olympic glory but also a chance for a self-sponsored Green Card and a new life in the U.S.A. Now let the games begin, contact us today to find out how we can help you apply for the EB1A!