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3 Lessons Learned from an EB1A Case Study for a Bull Fighter

Bull Fighter

The EB1A “extraordinary ability” immigrant visa is one of the most selective and coveted pathways to a green card. However, this does not mean the government can impose impossible standards on an applicant that is outside the bounds of the regulation. This post will look at a successful appeals case, Eguchi v. Kelly, No. 3:16-CV-1286-D (N.D. Texas 2017), that reversed the EB1A denial for a Brazilian bull fighter.

1. Awards for newcomers to the field can count.

The applicant had submitted proof that he had won Brazil’s Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Rookie of the Year Award to meet the criterion “nationally or internationally recognized prize or award for excellence in the field of endeavor.” The question raised in court was whether an award for rookies can count, when the competitors are by nature limited to novices, and as such does not measure the winner’s standing among those who are well established in the field. The appeals court found the award for rookies was sufficient to meet the criterion, which only required the applicant to submit documentation of one’s receipt of a nationally or internationally recognized prize or award for excellence in the field of endeavor, regardless of whether the award on its own tended to show that the person had reached the very top of their field.

2. Journals of premier trade associations can count as “major trade publications.”

The applicant also submitted articles discussing him and his work published in various media sources, including the Professional Bull Riders (PBR)’s own website. One question raised was whether the PBR’s website can count as a “major trade publication.” Notably, the court found that it was “self-evident” that the website of the world’s premier professional bull riding association is a major publication for professional bull riding. The court also cited the example of the National Hockey League’s own magazine being, by definition, a major trade publication in the field of hockey. This confirms that articles about the applicant and their work published in the website of the professional association covering their field can count as an article published in a “major trade publication.”

3. High salary means “well above average.”

Finally, the court provided more definition on what level of high salary is required to meet the criterion. The applicant submitted evidence of earning over $700,000 in Professional Bull Riders (PBR) events and ranked 44th on the association’s high-earners list. USCIS had initially rejected this evidence, comparing his salary with those of the top 3 earners, who were grossing several million dollars in income. The court reversed and found for the applicant, noting that an applicant need only show their salary is “well above average” to meet this criterion of high salary. In this case, the applicant being ranked 44th in an association of over 1,200 members amply qualified his salary to meet this criterion.

In conclusion, this case shows that the plain language of the regulatory criterion for evidence required for EB1A or O1A classification can be met with a wide variety of evidences, even if each individual piece of evidence shows an individual is at the small percentage at the very top of their field. Once the applicant produces evidence meeting three or more of these evidentiary criteria, the case will proceed to step two of the Kazarian analysis where the government will holistically analyze the quantity and quality of evidence cumulatively to assess whether the individual has sustained national or international acclaim at a level to be considered at the top of their field.

Related posts:

Successful EB1A case study for a Public Relations professional

Can a doctoral award count for EB1A or O1A?

Differences between EB1A and EB2 NIW

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This website and blog constitutes attorney advertising. Do not consider anything in this website or blog legal advice and nothing in this website constitutes an attorney-client relationship being formed. Set up a one-hour consultation with us before acting on anything you read here. Past results are no guarantee of future results and prior results do not imply or predict future results. Each case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

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