Judge of the Work of Others: What Evidence is needed?

For the National Interest Waiver, the Extraordinary Ability and the Outstanding Researcher applications, evidence that you have judged the work of others in your field or a related imagesfield can be extremely helpful.  However, the level of helpfulness of this evidence depends greatly on the type of judging and the kind of evidence submitted to USCIS.

First, in terms of the type of judging:  What USCIS is looking for is that you judged the work of other scientists.  Not Master’s or undergraduate students, not Ph.D. students, but scientists.  And then, even if you have reviewed the work of scientists, there are still two levels of evidence:  reviews of just postdocs, and reviews of postdocs and others researchers (or just other researchers).  If you have just reviewed postdoc work, while it will help, it will not help as uch as if you actually reviewed work of others at a higher level.  The reason for this is that USCIS looks at just post-doc reviewing as being a lower level than reviewing the work of other researchers.  Primarily this is because a Postdoc is considered to still be in training.  Also, Postdocs are at the beginning of their career, so if they are the only ones eligible, you are only judging those people at the beginning of their career and not those in advanced states of their careers.  Whether this view is warranted or not, it is the view of USCIS, so it is important to keep it in mind.  It is certainly possible to provide evidence to USCIS that, even though you were just judging the work of postdocs it was still extremely prestigious position in the field, but the burden of proof is on you to show this.

Assuming you now have your evidence of reviewing the work of other scientists, the next question is what kinds of evidence will be most helpful to USCIS.  There are two kinds of evidence that you can provide USCIS:  evidence of WHAT you did and evidence of the IMPORTANCE of what you did.  It is important to emphasis that BOTH types are needed for this evidence to be really useful for these cases.  The first type of evidence, proof that you actually conducted the judging, proves that you actually performed the act, but it does not show USCIS why it should regard this evidence as helping to show that you have made substantial contributions to the field (National Interest Waiver) or that you have received renown in the field (Extraordinary Ability andOutstanding Researcher).  In order to do that you need evidence as to the criteria that was used to select you for that position (evidence of the importance of what you have done).  The letter needs to explain the criteria in a way that shows USCIS that you were selected because of your renown, because of the importance of your work to the field, etc.  Without this second type of evidence, there is no proof that USCIS can use to show it what the importance of your judging  is, and, therefore, this evidence will not help your case get approved nearly as much as it would have had you provided documentation as to the importance of the work.

Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

EB-1A Extraordinary Ability: The Cold Hard Facts


Many times we hear from clients or prospective clients that a “friend” of theirs, who has much less in the way of credentials, was approved for an EB-1A.  Sometimes it was a  “friend of a friend” or a “relative”  or some other acquaintance who had the approval.  While I have no idea if these individual stories are accurate or not (and I do suspect that some of these people may have been approved in different categories, either the EB-1B Outstanding Researcher (employer sponsored) or the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (self-sponsored))  I do know that numbers wise, very few people, especially on a country by country basis, are approved in this category every year.

Overall, every year there are 40,040 immigrant visas made available to the EB-1 category.  Each country gets approximately 3% of these immigrant visas per year.   There is also a limited number of visas that can be re-allocated from countries that typically do not use all their visas, to those that use more, but this is very limited and may, only bring a single countries usage up to 7% of the total or approximately 2,802 immigrant visas in this category.  It should be noted that this 3% includes all three application types in this category:  the EB-1A Extraordinary Ability AND the EB-1B Outstanding Researcher AND the EB-1C Intracompany Transferee.  All three application types share the number of visas in this category.  It also included not just the principal filer, but their spouses and children as well.   It should also be noted, that there is no backlog in this category for any country, so the maximum number of visas in this category allocated to each country is not even being used, further bringing down the overall number of approvals.  Overall, there are simply not that many people per country getting approved in this category.

Looking at USCIS statistics, this category, the EB-1A, has a historic approval rating of just over 50%, again showing how difficult this is.  Plus, you also need to take into account that there is a certain percentage of cases that are filed that definitely qualify (they won a Nobel Prize or similar, or they have huge amounts of documentation).  Once those people are taken into account, the actual approval rating for those with less sure cases is even lower.  This is in stark comparison to the EB-1B Outstanding Researcher which has an approval rating in the 90% range.

So for those approved in this category, congratulations you are truly one of a small percentage.  For those looking at applying in this category, do not deceive yourself into thinking it is easy as it is not.  It is possible to get approved with the right documentation and the right arguments, that is what is sets apart those cases that are approved, and those that are not.  We will discuss more about the kinds of documentation necessary in future posts.

As always remember while blogs are good at disseminating general information, you can only get good legal advice by contacting and discussing your specific case with a qualified attorney.