What is an Einstein Visa?
While the President Trump cracks down on immigration, his wife, Melania Trump who is also an immigrant, came under the spotlight for her unusual visa status with the prestigious EB-1 visa.
Nicknamed the “Einstein Visa”, the First Lady held a Green Card through the EB-1 Visa status prior to her marriage, which is reserved for people who are highly acclaimed in their field. Examples includes individuals who have won the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Oscars, Olympic winners, as well as respected academic researchers and multinational executives.
Eligibility of this employment-based visa includes that one must have extraordinary ability, which is defined by the USCIS in 8 CFR § 204.5(h)(2) 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”. To prove this, the applicant must provide evidence of winning a major award, or meet three of 10 criteria that proves excellence in their field. The criteria include coverage of the applicant in major publications, original and significant contributions to a field, and work displayed at artistic exhibitions.
However, in reality the so-called Einstein Visa may not be as difficult to obtain. One immigration lawyer experienced with the visa notes that “You do not have to win the Nobel Prize to get the extraordinary ability visa … securing the EB-1 Visa is often about defining a field”. This is that, if you find a field that is narrow and unique enough, it is easier to prove that the applicant is beyond exceptional in the field.
That being said, only a mere 1% of all Green Card holders in the US were issued the extraordinary ability visa, so if you plan on obtaining one, good luck.