How many publications do I need to file for EB-1?

Are you considering filing an EB-1 petition as an alien of extraordinary ability, or outstanding researcher or professor? Or a National Interest Waiver petition? If so, one of the key elements to consider in preparing your petition is the number of publications that you have.

Clients often ask me exactly how many publications they need to file an EB-1 or NIW petition, or what the minimum number is. As with so many other questions in immigration law, it depends. The regulations do not require a specific number of publications. Rather, it depends on how many other criteria you meet, and how strong the other evidence for other criteria is.

  • For example, if you have won a highly prestigious national or international prize, and have excellent letters of recommendation from other experts from around the world, and have numerous presentations at conferences, have served as editor of professional journals in your field, etc, you may not need to have as many publications as another candidate who does not have so many conferences or hasn't served as a journal editor.
  • The quality of the publications matters. Especially under the "Kazarian" memo, USCIS will look not just at how many publications you have, but also at the impact factor of the publications. Obviously, the higher the impact factor of the journal, the better.
  • You may also need to offer explanation to the USCIS officer. For example, if you are a mathematics professor/researcher, and it takes years and years to make a breakthrough on a particular problem or theory, it may be the norm not to publish as often as say, a biomedical researcher, who may report his/her progress through publications more often. The USCIS adjudicator may not know this particular fact about your field, so it may help to explain idiosyncracies such as this.
  • It is also important to highlight citations to your work. In addition to providing the citation indices for your publications, you may also consider including a summary of the number of citations, a chart showing the number and diversity of countries from which the citations come (showing global reach of your work), and information about the impact factor of the journals in which the citing articles are published.
  • Finally, if your article has been highlighted by the journal ---featured on the front cover, for example --- be sure to point that out!

Preparing a successful EB-1 or NIW petition can be highly complex. It is strongly recommend to consult with an immigration attorney experienced with this kind of case to discuss the best strategy.