[Part 1 of 3]

We wish everyone a happy and prosperous new year! We are starting 2011 by introducing a 3 part series which takes a detailed look at the Green Card qualifications forindividuals with Extraordinary Ability. The following may apply to all of those Actors, Artists, Musicians, Scientists, Educators, Business executives and Athletes who are seeking a path to legal permanent residence in the United States.

As an individual with Extraordinary Ability, you must present evidence that that you have “sustained national or international acclaim” and that your achievements have been recognized in your field of expertise. This evidence should include a major, internationally recognized one-time achievement (e.g. Nobel Prize)or at least three of the following ten options:

1. Documentation of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in your field.

This can be proven through documented evidence (e.g. newspaper or magazine articles) of the award that proves your performance to be worthy of national or international recognition in excellence. To prove your performance meets the standard requirements consider the number of competitors/nominees up for this award, as well as other specific qualifications that sets the competitors apart from the rest of the individuals in your field of work. Another way to validate the standard of such award is to read the any relevant media reports regarding your performance, whether as part of a group (e.g.an orchestra) or individually (e.g. an actor), or reports about the degree of competition for this prize or award. However, don’t sell yourself short by thinking that some Regional or National award won’t qualify they may if they are well known within the field, such as a New York Independent Film Festival Award.

2. Membership in Associations.

Membership in an association of your field that requires recognition of outstanding achievement.Membership in this organization must be based on achievement, rather than level of education or years of experience. For example, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) requires you to have achieved a certain amount of roles to be eligible for membership.Also, it’s important if you have obtained a higher level of membership other than just a ‘Regular Member’. For example, are you a member of the Academy of Arts and Science or are you a Voting Member of this Academy?

3. Published Material About the Applicant

You should present proof of published material in a professional or major trade publication that highlights your contributions to your field, identifying the circulation and its intended audience. However, do not limit your scope!Even regional publications can be relevant if they have a national or international audience such as, for example, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. You and your accomplishments should be the main point of the published material.

Parts 2 & 3 of this series will include a detailed look at the other criteria for Extraordinary Ability.