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Can a dog trainer qualify for an EB1A green card?

dog trainer

To qualify for the EB1A green card or O1 visa, an individual must show they have “extraordinary ability” in their professional field. The applicant is expected to show they have a significant reputation in the field, and establish they have gained “sustained national or international acclaim” through extensive documentary evidence.

An important part of preparing an application for an O1 or EB1 petition is “defining the field.” It’s the process of setting up the applicant’s specific field of endeavor where we can prove they are recognized as outstanding figures.

Being strategic in defining the field is important because the broader the field is defined, the more difficult it may be to prove an applicant is at the top echelon of all professionals active in that field.  For example, it may be extremely difficult to prove an applicant is among the world’s top 1% of “philosophers” in the ranks of Foucault, Heidegger, or Butler, but it may be more attainable to prove an applicant is among the world’s top 1% of “philosophers who focus on the ethics of artificial intelligence and robotics.”

In fact, someone who stands out as a “one-of-a-kind” professional in an eccentric niche can actually be good candidates for the O1 or EB1.

For example, a famous dog agility trainer was approved for a visa as an individual of extraordinary ability. The applicant amply showed “sustained national or international acclaim” through an array of top awards and media appearances. For example, the applicant had won the “Greatmats Dog Trainer of the Year” title, a coveted honor in the field. The trainer’s dog broke the Guinness World Record for the most dog tricks performed in one minute. The applicant also had ample appearances on popular media, such as winning fifth place on America’s Got Talent, appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman, and the Ellen Degeneres Show.

An AAO appeals case also approved the EB1A for a stunt motorcyclist who was especially renowned for his ability of riding inside a sphere. Specifically, the applicant and his troupe was famous for riding in motorcycles in a loop within an iron mesh sphere without crashing into each other.

On the first step of the Kazarian analysis, the petitioner submitted numerous articles about himself and his motorcycle troupe featured on various major media outlets, which satisfied the evidentiary criterion to show “published material about the applicant.” The petitioner also showed that he and his troupe broke the world record for the maximum number of motorcyclists riding inside a sphere at one time, which the government found “raised the bar for the field” and therefore counted as a “original contribution of major significance in the field” of motorcycle stunt-riding. Finally, the petitioner proved that he and his motorcyclist team played a “critical role” for the circus company of which he was a part, which was found to be an organization with a distinguished reputation in the circus world.

On the second step of the Kazarian analysis, the Petitioner’s achievement of breaking the world record proved that he was one of the small percentage who had risen to the very top of the endeavor, and numerous examples of media features of the Petitioner and his troupe, which included full page cover spreads and focused interviews on Petitioner, supported the breadth of national and international acclaim.

These examples illustrate the strategic importance of defining the field for an extraordinary ability petition. Being an outstanding figure in a narrow niche could serve as an advantage to support a case of extraordinary ability.

Related articles:

EB1A and O1A criteria

Moving from O1B to EB1A

Case Study of EB1A approved for Public Relations Professional

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