Evaluating an EB-1A (INA § 203(b)(1)(A))
With a great spurt in calls requesting EB1A potential, I found myself working very hard to provide a reasonably sound evaluation (>95% accuracy). To overcome some of the subjectivity in the process and to ease the pressure, I took a deep dive into my case history to derive some parameters that could predict likelihood of success. At the time of this writing, my greatest and most successful dataset includes cases involving scientists, technical managers and engineers. The other common characteristic is that all of these candidates had visited another (1 or several) attorney/s and were discouraged from considering an EB-1A petition. Thus, none of these cases fit the “usual” parameters of a strong EB-1A petition.
I start my evaluations by first laying out the very basic framework for the EB-1A, which in my practical mind means – the case must meet 3 or more criteria as laid out under 8 CFR § 204.5(h)(3) and it must demonstrate that the candidate has sustained national or international acclaim and that he/she has to the top in their field of endeavor.
Given the typical profile, the criteria that are most commonly at play are (note that I have simplified the terminology a bit to make the meaning more intuitive):
1.Significant contributions to the field
2.Publications and conference presentations
3.Leading/critical roles in prominent organizations
4.Media coverage of the work
5.Judge of the work of others
Based on a review of the candidate’s credentials and other facts, I assign a score of 0 -10 to each criterion. The score is based on a judgment around the strength of coverage/evidence, which is a product of quality of coverage and the quantity of coverage. For example, in the context of a leading/critical role in prominent organizations – there are 3 elements at play – leading role, critical role, prominent organizations. Here quality is generally ascertained by factors like – leading a team of professionals, work on critical projects (high $ value), participation in organizational teams that define strategy/policies, degree of separation from top level management, prominence of organization/s – market value, awards/recognitions, innovation etc. Quantity could mean # years of experience in those roles, # people led in the organization/s, # of critical projects etc. (For exhaustive treatment of quality and quantity parameters for each criterion, please look for my next article on this topic).
In the next step, I check if the candidate’s profile has scored at least:
1.5 points each on at least 3 criterion;
2.Total of 30 points.
If those conditions are not met, the chances of success are almost nil to nil.
The next step is to determine if the credentials demonstrate sustained acclaim and recognition in the top few in the field of endeavor. To do this, I count # of criterion with a score of 8 or higher. A count of >2 predicts likely success on the case. Count less than 2 may still be successful but requires further fact finding about the credentials and ensuring that the evidence is carefully collected and presented to the USCIS (Case preparation is the topic of another blog coming up in September/October 2018). Going through this exercise also helps in finding short-term and long-term activities that a candidate may undertake to improve the chances of success. There is an excel spreadsheet model that I am happy to share with candidates who have completed an evaluation session with me. A slightly relaxed version of this model is also directly applicable for evaluating an O-1 case.
This article contains general advice and information. While effort is taken to ensure accuracy the immigration programs and the policies are in constant flux. It is therefore highly recommended that you consult a U.S. Immigration Attorney to evaluate the options available to you.