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EB-1A Extraordinary Criteria: What is a leading or critical role in a distinguished organization?

                The EB-1A employment-based immigration visa can appear to be a daunting process. An applicant must either show proof of a one-time achievement (major internationally-recognized award) meet 3 of the 10 listed criteria:

  • Evidence of receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
  • Evidence of your membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members
  • Evidence of published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  • Evidence that you have been asked to judge 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
  • Evidence of your 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
  • Evidence of your performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
  • Evidence that you command a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field
  • Evidence of your commercial successes in the performing arts

These criteria can make even very well qualified candidates nervous about their eligibility, but with the right experience, the right lawyer, and a little luck, an applicant can have their Green Card in as little as three months. This series of articles will provide a background on each of the 10 criteria, examples of documents that can meet them, and common pitfalls to avoid.

The most frequently applied for criteria is, “Evidence of your performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations”. There are two parts to this criteria, performance of a leading or critical role and that role is in a distinguished organization. Proving a leading role can be as simple as discussing a major project you had worked on or led. The main vehicle for discussing such a role would be in a support letter. When discussing a project in a support letter, the writer should treat the project as if they are describing a story at a party to someone who has no knowledge about a field. They should identify the date and location, what the applicant did, and what the significance was. Along with the support letter, documentary evidence of that leading role provides additional credibility. Emails, presentations, reports are all excellent evidence. This is where the value of an experience immigration lawyer can be seen. If you are not sure about the worth of a document, send it to your lawyer and they can help.  

A critical role can be demonstrated in much of the same way as a leading role, a support letter and documentary evidence. However, a critical role can also be demonstrated simply by the title of the position. For instance, the Vice President or Program Director would clearly be a critical role simply based on the title of the position. Additionally, a role in which you have been asked to sign important documents for your company, such as contracts, would clearly evidence a critical role. Again an experienced immigration lawyer can help you identify critical roles in your career.

The final component of this criteria is that you performed your role at a distinguished organization. Depending on the companies you have worked for, this can be a very easy component to meet. If for instance you work for a major company such as Google, Schlumberger, Exxon, Coca-Cola, or Microsoft, your company is clearly a distinguished organization and the only evidence needed is the company’s biographic page, their stock listing, and Forbes ranking. If you work for a smaller, or less well known, company, you can still meet the distinguished organization component using news articles mentioning the company, statements in support letters, or evidence of awards that your company has received demonstrating that it is a recognized company in its field. An experienced immigration lawyer can help you identify the documentation you will need.

By:Karim Jivani

Karim Jivani is a Special Attention Staff Attorney at Reddy Neumann Brown PC who focuses on employment-based non-immigrant visas. Karim’s practice covers all phases of the visa process including filing petitions, responding to Requests for Evidence (RFE), and drafting motions and appeals. He has completed over 30 RFE’s to date in response to H-1B, L-1, I-140, and VAWA petitions.

Reddy & Neumann has been serving the business community for over 20 years and is Houston’s largest immigration law firm focused solely on US. Employment-based immigration. We work with both employers and their employees, helping them navigate the immigration process quickly and cost-effectively.