Clarity and Strength in Immigration Law

EB-1 Alien of Extraordinary Ability: Does the Quality of Journals I Publish in Matter?

EB-1 Journal QualityIn order to meet the requirements for the EB-1 alien of extraordinary ability category, the EB-1 beneficiary must document that she or he meets certain regulatory requirements. One way to meet this requirement is to show that you have received a major international award such as the Nobel Prize. The second way is much more common — USCIS lists ten requirements that you could meet to show that you have risen to the top of your field. You must meet at least three out of ten and provide evidence to support extraordinary ability in your field.

However, it is not sufficient to merely document that you meet three of the ten requirements. According to Kazarian v. USCIS (2010), the USCIS examiner will not only make sure the petitioner meets at least of the criteria, but will also conduct a “final merits analysis” to determine if the beneficiary is at the top of his/her field and has demonstrated “sustained national or international acclaim.” That means that the USCIS officer will evaluate the quality of the evidence submitted, and should consider all the evidence together to determine if the beneficiary meets those standards.

Therefore, the selection and presentation of evidence is tremendously important for an EB-1 case. If a potential beneficiary has authored numerous articles published in journals in his field, for example, that is not necessarily sufficient to meet the requirement of “authored scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media” (one of the 10 criteria). If those articles were published in journals with low impact factors, it is possible the examining officer would determine either that the criterion is not met, or that it doesn’t meet the EB-1 standards. Likewise, if the articles are published in respectable journals, but have few or no citations, it is unlikely that the evidence would be helpful to the case, and in fact may even negatively impact the officer’s view of the beneficiary’s contributions. On the other hand, it is possible that a beneficiary has published at about an average rate as compared to others in her field, but she has published in a series of journals with some of the highest impact factors in the field, and her articles have also been cited numerous times, well above the average in the field. This would be much stronger evidence than more publications with lesser citations and in lesser journals.

The same analysis applies to the other criteria as well. For example, for the criteria of reviewing the work of others, if the beneficiary reviewed dissertations of PhD students studying at his own university, this would be weaker evidence, and would not likely meet the EB-1 requirements. On the other hand, if the beneficiary had reviewed several journal articles for journals with high impact factors in the field, this would likely be viewed in a positive light, combined with the beneficiary’s other evidence.

High Quality Journal Publications Are Only One Type of Proof

The bottom line: quality counts, sometimes even more than quantity! That being said, there are other ways to establish your extraordinary ability — remember there are 10 criteria to chose from. An experienced immigration attorney can help you evaluate, select, prepare and present the best evidence possible for your EB-1 petition.

If you or someone you know is thinking about filing an EB-1 green card, contact our Richmond, Virginia immigration law firm today at (804) 396-3412 or fill out our online form. Our experienced immigration attorneys can help you prepare your case and stay on top of filing deadlines.