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Can I meet the “authorship of articles” criteria for O1 or EB1A even if the articles were not published in a traditional academic journal?

Scholarly article on an ipad

The O1 visa and EB1A green card are highly sought-after visa categories available to individuals of “extraordinary ability.” How does an applicant show they have extraordinary ability in a field? The applicant either shows they received a major, one-time award such as an Oscars or Pulitzer Prize, or shows they meet at least three out of ten criteria of different types of evidence that tend to indicate someone’s extraordinary ability, which include “evidence of the applicant’s authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional or major trade publications or other major media.”

It is obvious that traditional research articles (such as those with citations and footnotes) published in academic journals can be used to meet this category. But the question is, what if an applicant wrote an opinion piece published in a popular online blog? What about short essays contributed to industry-specific online news outlets such as Wired or Gizmodo? What if the applicant’s essay was published in a university-specific newsletter portal?  Can these still meet this criteria?

The way to determine this is to ask the following two questions:

1. Is the article “scholarly” in its content?

“Scholarly in nature” means intended for “learned persons” in the field.

The USCIS recognizes that many applicants with extraordinary ability are working in fields that do not involve traditional research and academic publishing. The most common example is a professional who is outstanding in business. A top entrepreneur is not commonly expected to have published traditional academic journal articles, like a Ph.D. graduate would be.

In such a case, USCIS defines a “scholarly article” as an article “written for learned persons in that field.” Here, “learned persons” is further defined as all people having “profound knowledge” in a field, gained by study.

For example, a blog post like this one, which is intended to provide information about immigration law to the general public who may not be familiar with law, would likely not qualify as a “scholarly article.” By contrast, an in-depth legal analysis in an advanced question in immigration law published in the Bar Association’s practice advisory magazine may qualify as a “scholarly article” as it is intended to inform other legal experts with profound knowledge in law.

2. Is the publication a “professional publication, major trade publication, or other major media”?

“Professional publication, major trade publication, or major media” is determined by the publication’s intended audience, and relative circulation.

This second question is concerned with where the article was published. Whether a publication is a “professional publication” is determined by its intended audience. For example, The ABA (American Bar Association) Magazine is a professional publication because the intended audience are specifically legal professionals. Notably, a professional publication does not need to show a high circulation as long as the intended audience is professionals.

A “major trade publication” is also determined by both its intended audience and circulation. For example, Farm Journal Magazine publishes content on agricultural production, technology, and policy intended for those practicing the trade of farming.

In addition, USCIS will ask whether the circulation of this publication is enough to count as a “major publication.” According to its brochure, Farm Journal Magazine is read by 11 million unique readers online. If this is considered comparatively on the high side, this can support the case that it is a major trade publication.

In conclusion, in order to meet the criteria “authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional or major trade publications or other major media,” the article in question must be both “scholarly” and the publication must have the right “intended audience” and “circulation” to count as a professional publication, major trade publication, or other major media.

Extraordinary ability petitions can be complex and require meticulous analysis and strategic presentation of the evidence to present a credible case and best position an applicant’s case for approval. We are here to help guide you through this elusive but attainable category.


Related posts:

Do I need a job offer as an EB1A applicant?

What counts as an “Award” in the O1A context?

What is a “leading” or “critical” role in EB1A and O1 applications?

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