What if the petitioner of an EB-1 Visa as an Alien of Extraordinary Ability is not the recipient of a one time achievement that is a major internationally recognized award?

By Shawn Sedaghat  and Gregory Aleksanyan

If the petitioner of an EB-1 visa as an alien of extraordinary ability is not a recipient of a one-time achievement that is a major, internationally recognized award, he or she can meet the regulatory criteria by providing evidence of meeting at least three of the criteria listed under the relevant regulations.

As we have discussed earlier, and also on our EB1Attorney.net site, the list of 10 criteria is not compiled hierarchically, and each of the requirements is treated equally and given equal weight.  Thus, meeting any of the three criteria will suffice.

Appearing first on the list of criteria is that of “receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor.”

In order to prove that the alien has received a lesser internationally or internationally recognized prize or award for excellence in the field of alien’s endeavor, he/she is required to provide the following documentation:

    • A copy of each prize or award certificate; or
    • A clear photograph of each prize or award; or
    • Public announcement regarding the awarding of the prizes or awards issued by the granting organization

However, the inquiry does not end here.  The alien must further establish that the award or prize he/she won (a) was for excellence in the field of endeavor, (b) was related to the alien’s field of expertise, and (c) was nationally or internationally recognized.

(a) In evaluating whether the award or prize was given for excellence in the field of endeavor, the adjudicating officer will make an inquiry into the following:

  • The criteria used to grant the prizes or awards;
  • The significance of the prizes or awards, to include the national or international recognition that the prizes or awards share;
  • The reputation of the organization or panel granting the prizes or awards;
  • Who is considered for the prizes or awards, including the geographic scope for which candidates may apply;
  • How many prizes or awards are awarded each year; and,
  • Previous winners of the award.
  • Documentary evidence describing how the prizes or awards relate to excellence in the beneficiary’s field.
  • Documentary evidence of the criteria used to grant the prizes or awards, including evidence that a criterion for winning the prizes or awards was excellence in the field.

(b) In evaluating whether the award or prize is related to alien’s field of expertise the adjudicating officer will make an inquiry into the following:

  • Documentary evidence of national or international prizes or awards received that are granted for excellence in the beneficiary’s field.
  • Documentary evidence establishing what the criterion was for winning the prizes or awards.
  • Documentary evidence describing how the prizes or awards relate to the beneficiary’s field.
  • The significance of the prizes or awards;
  • Who is considered for the prizes or awards;
  • How many prizes or awards are given each year; and
  • Previous winners who are related to the beneficiary’s field.

 

(c) Finally, in evaluating whether the award or prize is nationally or internationally recognized the evaluating officer will inquire into the following:

  • The criteria used to give the prizes or awards.
  • Information on the reputation of the organization granting the prizes or awards.
  • Documentary evidence demonstrating:

o   The significance of the prizes or awards, to include the national or international recognition the prizes or awards share;

o   The reputation of the organization granting the prizes or awards;

o   Who is considered for the prizes or awards, including the geographic scope for which candidates may apply;

o   How many prizes or awards are awarded each year;

o   Previous winners who enjoy national or international acclaim; and,

  • Documentary evidence establishing how the award(s) was/were given for excellence in the beneficiary’s field.
  • The petitioner may submit any other information about the prizes or awards that would help establish that the prizes or awards should be considered as nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor.

The burden of establishing an alien meets this requirement can be very onerous, as can be seen from the above requirements for detailed documentary proof.  Moreover, certain awards may be well-known amongst members of a specific profession or within a field of expertise, however for the general public and most importantly for the adjudicating officer said information may be not readily available.  Not every award enjoys the popularity of an Oscar’s or Pulitzer, although it may be more important and significant for a specific field of expertise.  Thus, it is incumbent upon the alien to bring to light the equities of the award or prize and to establish to the satisfaction of the adjudicating officer that the alien meets a specific criterion.

By knowing and anticipating what type of information an adjudicating officer is looking for in evaluating your equities, you are able to highlight the strengths of your petition and ensure that the adjudicating officer will not overlook important information crucial to the success of your case.