Establishing Judging Criterion in EB-1B Petitions

Quality trumps Quantity: Establishing Judging Criterion in EB-1B Petitions

Yongbing Zhang, Esq.

In priority workers petitions filed by outstanding researchers and scientists, judging the work of others in the field is one of the six evidentiary criteria designated by the regulations and has been extensively used by scholars in their petitions. This article will analyze the Administrative Appeal Office’s (AAO) recent decisions in researchers and scientists’ petitions, and provide some efficient ways for scholars to prove this criterion.

The relevant regulations state the following on this criterion:

Evidence of the alien’s participation, either individually or on a panel, as the judge of the work of others in the same or an allied academic field.

USCIS adopts a broad view of what is included in the work of others. For the academic field, scientific papers or articles are the typical example of the work of others. Manuscripts and abstracts also count. In one decision, AAO has even recognized that serving as one of the jurors at a graduate student poster presentation qualifies as judging the work of others. Sometimes, foreign scholars may satisfy this criterion by showing his or her role played at national or international conferences. For example, AAO admitted that evaluating and then selecting abstracts for the session would likely constitute judging the work of others, whereas reviewing the abstracts to familiarize one’s self with their content, preparing topics/questions for a dialogue, and driving a discussion probably would not. In another decision, AAO found the foreign scholar’s being elected as the chairperson of the annual conference hosted by a pre-eminent organization to help organize the Climatology and Modelling section of the annual meeting constitutes judging the work of others.

To establish this category, extensive documentation is required. The most reliable kind of evidence is a letter from the journal’s editorial board, preferably on the journal’s official letterhead, verifying that the foreign scholar actually provided services of review or judging. Email messages inviting foreign scholars to review manuscripts, articles, papers or abstracts will only work if coupled with other evidence showing the review or judge actually occurred. These can include emails confirming receipt of the review, or thanking the foreign scholar for the review. Thus documents indicating the journals only requested the foreign scholars to review papers are not enough to satisfy the criterion. Neither are the agreements entered into by the foreign scholars to review papers. In summary, the foreign scholar must present evidence to show that he or she actually reviewed or judged the work of others.

Simply establishing the basic requirements of this criterion does not necessarily mean that the foreign national is a scholar with international distinction. According to AAO, peer review is routine in the scientific community, so not every researcher who performs the services of review enjoys international recognition. The foreign scholar must present evidence that sets her or himself apart from others in the field, such as completion of numerous manuscript reviews for a substantial number of distinguished journals or serving in an editorial position for a distinguished journal as a judge of the work of others.

After the petition has met sufficient evidentiary criteria under the regulations, a final merits determination will be conducted by evaluating all the evidence presented to determine whether the foreign scholar is recognized internationally as outstanding in the academic area.

At the final merits determination stage, documentation that shows the international distinction, circulation or pre-eminence of the journals whose articles the foreign scholar has reviewed or whose editorial board includes the foreign scholar will enhance the chance of approval of the petition.

AAO has repeatedly dismissed petitions where the foreign scholar had only completed a single review of the work of others. Even for those foreign scholars who had performed the review of a decent amount of papers, the quality of the journals is given more weight than the quantity of the manuscripts reviewed. Thus, foreign scholars should include such documentary evidence as journal rankings, citation metrics, or impact factor statistics showing the international reputation of the journals, in addition to the evidence of basic requirements. For those scholars who serve on the editorial board, evidence regarding the process of selecting such board members should also be included.

The End

September 17, 2016

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移民局对“其他同行的工作”的界定比较广泛。在学术界,科学文献是典型的其他同行的工作。手稿和文章摘要也算在内。 在一个上诉案中,申请人曾经担任研究生海报介绍的评委,行政上诉办公室也认可是对同行工作的评判。有时,教研学者可以通过展示他在国家级的或国际级的学术大会上担当的评审角色来满足这一举证要求。例如,如果申请人在大会承担的角色是对文章摘要先进行评估然后决定那些摘要入选大会讨论议程,这样的评审就满足了法律的要求。相反,如果申请人审阅摘要的目的仅仅是为了熟悉内容,准备对话的议题和问题,以便更好地主持讨论,这样的评审就不能满足法律的要求。



杰出教研申请在达到了规定的基本证据的数量要求后,移民局根据法律要求必须对申请做出最终优异评判(Final Merits Determination)来决定这个外国学者在学术领域是不是国际知名。

对于申请人审过稿或担任过编辑的学术期刊,在最终优异评判阶段,那些证明期刊的国际认可度,知名度,或杰出地位的证据,会大大提升获批的可能性。行政上诉办公室不只一次否决了只审过一篇稿件的申请。就是对于那些有数篇审稿证明的申请, 学术期刊的质量要比审稿的数量重要得多。因此,申请人除了递交基本的满足审稿要求的证据,还应递交证明期刊在相关学术领域的知名度,比如期刊的排名,引用指标,或影响因素统计。以烘托出期刊的知名度。对于那些在期刊担任编辑的申请人,还应该提供期刊选拔编辑的标准和程序的相关文件。



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