Satisfying the Authorship Criteria for EB1A cases

As our readers are aware, a petitioner must satisfy three out of ten EB1A criteria enumerated in CFR § 204.5(h)(3) to receive an approval.  One of the more deceptively difficult criteria to satisfy is criteria (vi) “Evidence of the alien’s authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional or major trade publications or other major media.” Many scientists read this criterion and assume that they satisfy it by virtue of having published articles in peer-reviewed journals.  In fact, despite the plain meaning of the language in the statue, scholarly publications alone do not satisfy this criterion for professional scientists.  The USCIS position on this issue is that since publications are an expected part of the job for scientists, publication in and of itself cannot satisfy this criterion. Thus, a petitioning scientist must demonstrate that her publications have received significant recognition befitting a person who is at the very top of her field.

Generally, a petitioner can show that her publications have reached “extraordinary ability” level by submitting evidence of a high number of citations to her peer-reviewed publications.  However, a high number of citations may not be available for every case and it is generally a good practice to supplement citations with other additional evidence to satisfy the “Authorship” criterion.  Using two of our recent cases that relied on the Authorship criterion as an example:

Organic Chemist

Petitioner was an organic chemist who authored 12 peer-reviewed publications and had 57 citations to those publications.  This citation count is relatively low for an EB1A petition from this field, thus we knew that we had to supplement the citations with other evidence to satisfy the Authorship criterion.  In this case, we submitted evidence that two of her papers were considered one of the “25 Hot Downloads” for three months in 2009, and thus garnered unusual attention from the field.  This case was approved in 10 days without an RFE via the Premium Processing Service.

Computer Scientist

Petitioner in this case was a software engineer who authored 16 peer-reviewed journal and conference publications with 36 total citations between them.  For this case, we submitted evidence showing that two of his articles were published in one of the highest Impact Factor journals in his field.  We also submitted evidence showing what the average citation count for his field was, and argued that his citation count was actually higher than the expected average for a similar researcher in the field.  This case was approved in 9 days without an RFE via the Premium Processing Service.

As our recent cases demonstrate, there are various types of evidence a petitioner can present in addition to citations to satisfy the Authorship criterion.  Even for those petitioners with a high citation count, it is a good idea to submit this additional evidence with the case as our office has observed many recent RFE’s attacking the strength of the publications that the petitioner has authored.  A common mistake we see many self-petitioners make is to underestimate this criterion and assume that he or she has already satisfied it; when in fact, further evidence and arguments may be warranted.


For questions or comments regarding this article, please email Attorney Fok at: jfok@jclawoffice.com

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