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EB-1A Extraordinary Criteria: What is a original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field?

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 original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field criteria is one that exemplifies the intimidating nature of the EB-1A process. When potential applicants think of this criterion, they think of patents, licenses, or other impactful inventions. But as listed in the criterion, a number of accomplishments can fall under its umbrella. In fact, there can be an overlap between the “leading or critical roles” and the “original contribution” depending on the work done. For instance, if you have published articles, your Google Scholar page can prove that, based on your citation history, you have made original scholarly contributions of major significance to your field. This is where a skilled, and experienced, immigration attorney can advise on what arguments can be made.

The more important part of the criterion is its second component, the “major significance to the field”. The best evidence for this criterion is support letters from colleagues who can discuss your accomplishments and how they have been impactful. In addition to these letters, depending on the specific accomplishment, an immigration lawyer can recommend what evidence would be helpful. As mentioned above, if your original contribution is scholarly, your Google Scholar page showing a history of being cited by others can be clear evidence of having a major impact on your field. If your role involved working with other companies, that could be an example of you having a contribution of major significance to your field. Depending on what your specific work history is, 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, P.C. 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.