EB-1A: How Publications Can Show you Have Extraordinary Ability


In the EB-1A Extraordinary Ability green card regulations, one of the 10 enumerated types of evidence is “Evidence of the alien’s authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional or major trade publications or other major media” (See 8 CFR 204.5(H)(3)(vi)).  Many of our clients have seen this, read about it online, and feel that all they have to do is show that they published papers and they met this criteria AND are on there way to showing they have extraordinary ability.  Before getting into whether this view is accurate, I first want to review a little bit about the EB-1A application standard.  To show that you meet the standard for the EB-1A USCIS has set up a two part process:  Step 1 is to show that you meet 3 out of the 10 categories enumerated in the regulations; Step 2 is to show that, looking at all the evidence together, you meet the statutory standard of “sustained national or international acclaim”.  It is important to remember that BOTH of these steps must be met to be approved.  Just meeting one of the steps is not enough.

Showing that you have published in professional journals is certainly a category we use for many of our clients who file under the EB-1A category.  For scientists it is a must, as it shows dissemination of your work (and both journal publications AND published abstracts can work here).  To meet this category all you need to do is show that you meet the plain language of the category – or, in other words, just show you have published at least one paper in qualifying media (a professional journal, for example).  The quality of the journal, the qualify of the paper, and the impact of the paper simply do not matter as there is no language in the regulations that would make them relevant for this category.  However, while just showing this bare minimum will indeed show you meet this category for Step 1, when you get to Step 2, and need to show that, looking at all the evidence you have “sustained national or international acclaim”, just having this bare minimum will NOT help.  USCIS will not automatically find that you meet Step 2 just because you meet Step 1 – this is very important to remember.  We have seen denials in which the USCIS officer states that Step 1 was met, but Step 2 was not.

So how does one show that they have “sustained national or international acclaim” through publications sp as to help with showing that you meet the requirements of Step 2?  The key is to show that others know of your work, use your work and rely upon your work in their own work.  This can sometimes be shown through citation history, the fact that you were selected for oral presentations or invited to speak, the fact that your publications have been highlighted by others, or discussed in news articles.  There are many ways of showing sustained national and international acclaim through the use of publications, but the one thing they all have in common is that additional objective documentation will be needed to show that your publications are being used by others in your field.  While this can certainly include letters from those in the field who have used your work, that should not be the only evidence you present in support as USCIS tends to want additional, objective evidence in addition to letters.

Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

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