U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on September 12, 2023, that it is updating the USCIS Policy Manual to clarify the types of evidence the agency will evaluate to determine eligibility for extraordinary ability and outstanding professor or researcher EB-1 immigrant visa classifications.  

An extraordinary ability EB-1 immigrant visa classification is filed by a person who has extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim, and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation. 

An outstanding professor or researcher EB-1 immigrant visa classification is filed by a U.S. employer on behalf of a professor or researcher who is internationally recognized as outstanding in a specific academic area to work in a tenured or tenure-track position or a comparable research position.  

USCIS explained that the new clarifying guidance describes the evidence that meets the relevant evidentiary criteria for these petitions. Additionally, USCIS clarified the totality of the circumstances approach used by officers to evaluate the relevant evidentiary criteria, and outlined a list of positive factors that officers should consider when adjudicating these matters. While the examples of relevant evidence and factors have a focus on science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields, USCIS stated that the list of examples is non-exhaustive and applies to all extraordinary ability persons and outstanding professors or researchers.

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