New Precedent Sought for EB-1 Category Foreign Workers

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is requesting that a decision made in Matter of K-S- Y be set as a precedent and be adopted by USCIS regarding EB-1 category foreign workers. The Petitioner in that matter was a judo expert seeking classification as an individual of "extraordinary ability." This classification is available to foreign nationals who can demonstrate extraordinary ability through sustained national or international acclaim and whose achievements have been recognized in their field through extensive documentation.

The Director, Texas Service Center, denied the petition, saying Petitioner had not satisfied the initial evidence requirements which necessitates either (1) evidence of a one-time major achievement, or (2) evidence that meets at least three of ten regulatory criteria. A Petitioner must also show that he is coming to the United States to continue work in the areas of extraordinary ability. Though he demonstrated extraordinary ability as a judo athlete, the Petitioner in his Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) listed his proposed employment as a judo coach.

This case provided important policy guidelines regarding a fact that is common in sports and entertainment industries: when an individual of extraordinary ability is transitioning from one phase of their career to another. The decision affirmed that the definition of "area of expertise" may include the field as a whole rather than merely a specific occupation within the field. The AAO (Administrative Appeals Office) further recognizes that though this decision addresses transition from athlete to coach, "other career transition scenarios might warrant a similar analysis (e.g. athlete-to- broadcaster or musician-to- instructor.)" Hoorah for the AAO.