A lot has been written since an article in The Washington Post last week revealed that Melania Trump, then Melania Knauss, immigrated to the U.S. on an EB-1 visa. The brouhaha comes because this visa, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, is a visa reserved for someone with “extraordinary ability,” an outstanding professor or researcher or an immigrant who is “a multinational executive or manager.”
At the time, Ms. Knauss was a model whose major claim to fame was appearing in a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and being on the cover of GQ. So how did she then qualify? That is still a mystery, but here are six things you should know about this visa according to the U.S. CIS. You can be the judge as to how the now first lady got here and obtained a green card or legal permanent residency that led to her securing naturalization status and likely resulted in her sponsoring her parents under Donald Trump’s highly hated and bandied around “chain migration.”
- To qualify for an employment based EB-1 first preference visa as someone with extraordinary ability, the U.S. CIS itself states that such an immigrant must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the “sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim.”
- Additionally, these achievements must be recognized in that field through extensive documentation, which will qualify the immigrant to get a green card without an offer of employment.
- These criteria include providing evidence of a one-time achievement, such as a Pulitzer or Oscar award, or winning an Olympic Medal or meeting threEe of the following standards:
A: Providing evidence of receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
B: Providing evidence of membership in associations in the field that demand outstanding achievement of their members
C: Providing evidence of published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media
D: Providing evidence that you have been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel
E: Providing evidence of original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic or business-related contributions of major significance to the field
F: Providing evidence of authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media
G: Providing evidence that your work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases
H: Providing evidence of your performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
I: Providing evidence that you command a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field
J: Providing evidence of your commercial successes in the performing arts
- You can also qualify for this visa if you are an outstanding professor or researcher who can demonstrate international recognition for outstanding achievements in a particular academic field. You must also have at least three years’ experience in teaching or research in that academic area and must be entering the United States in order to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or a comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education. The immigrant applicant must also include documentation of some of the criteria of the following:
A: Evidence of receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement
B: Evidence of membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement
C: Evidence of published material in professional publications written by others about the alien’s work in the academic field
D: Evidence of participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field
E: Evidence of original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field
F: Evidence of authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field.
But unlike the immigrant with extraordinary ability, you must have an offer of employment from a prospective U.S. employer.
- If you are a multinational manager or executive, you might also be able to qualify for this visa if you have been employed outside the United States for three years preced ing the petition, for at least one year by a U.S. firm or corporation. You must also be seeking to enter the United States to continue service to that firm or organization with the same employer, an affiliate or a subsidiary of the employer. The U.S. CIS rules state that the petitioning employer must be a U.S. employer and must have been doing business for at least one year, as an affiliate, a subsidiary or as the same corporation or other legal entity that employed you abroad.
- To apply as an immigrant with extraordinary ability, you may petition for yourself by filing a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. Outstanding professors and researchers and multinational managers or executives must have their employer file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker on their behalf with the U.S. CIS. The form can be obtained on the CIS website.
The writer is CMO at Hard Beat Communications, Inc., which owns the brands NewsAmericasNow, CaribPRWire and InvestCaribbeanNow.