Is my award EB-1 or NIW worthy?

One of the criteria for the EB-1 alien of extraordinary ability (EB1A) and outstanding researcher or professor (EB1B) is the receipt of a national or international award (this can also be used for the National Interest Waiver petition). What does this mean, really, and what awards really count for this purpose?

The fact that you have an award alone is not enough. First, consider the type of award received. USCIS places little if any weight on university-specific awards, travel grants, and even many scholarships. Rather, the award must be one that carries some level of prestige on the national or international level. That is, if you told someone else in your field that you won the award, would they be impressed? If they had never heard of it, USCIS likely will not consider it worth much in terms of the EB-1 or NIW petition.

On the other hand, if the award is one that attracts a pool of applicants from across the US, or from across the globe, USCIS is more likely to give it more weight. This is even more likely if you fully document the award – not only documentation that you actually received the award, but documentation about how large the pool of applicants was, how many people received it, the qualifications of the other applicants and/or award-winners, background of the judges who select the awardees, background on the criteria for the award and selection process, and general information about the award, for example. In this environment, thorough documentation, clear presentation, and strong arguments and explanation are key for having an EB-1 or NIW petition approved.

For information on the other EB-1 or NIW criteria, please see and

Recent blog posts

Great news for those applying for naturalization to become a US citizen! USCIS will now continue to use the 2008 version of the civics test. In the last days of the Trump administration, USCIS announced that they would use a longer and harder version… Read More
By Nikita Hernandez, Sumner Immigration Law Paralegal It’s official! You’ve become Mr. or Mrs. and want to take on your spouse’s name while getting your US permanent residence situated, but when is the best time to do that? APPLYING FOR A NAME… Read More
One of the most common questions that we receive from our clients is about case processing time. The USCIS and DOL estimated case processing times are available online, but that source can be frustrating as they sometimes give a wide range of timefra… Read More

Read More Blog Posts

“I worked with Emily for my EB2 green card. Throughout the process, Emily and her assistants were very prompt and responsive. Everything was completed in a timely manner. She is very reliable and was able to answer any questions that I had during the…”
– Immigration Client
“My husband hired Emily to help me file for immigration (I-130 Petition/I-485 Application for Permanent Residence) and she was very professional and efficient. I was extremely impressed with how fast she was to respond to any question that I had (emai…”
– Rachel

More Client Reviews