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EB1A - Evaluating Your Authorship of Scholarly Articles

Evidence of your authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media

The purpose of this post is to provide tools that help you evaluate whether you could make an argument that you satisfy the 6th of the 10 EB-1A criteria, that you have evidence of your authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media.

In discussing authorship, I want to begin by discussing one of the most common authorship topics of conversation, citations. Many people possess the wrong or right impression that citations will make or break their EB-1 application. When a candidate reaches out to me and asks, “how many citations do I need to qualify for an EB-1A petition?” I usually provide one of the most common lawyer answers out there “it depends.” In all seriousness, it really does depend on your other accomplishments, your field of expertise, the accomplishments of others in your field, etc. What I do know is that PhD students have their research published more commonly than professionals in business and technology who may not have articles published at all. Thus, PhD students, or individuals who are members of a field that typically is represented by extraordinary individuals possessing a PhD are more likely to need publications and citations to show they are qualified for the EB-1’s strict criteria.

If citations are a major part of your EB-1 application then more is better, but there are other factors to consider as well. For example, what is the impact factor of the journals you have published in (as you know, for a lot of fields, a publication in Science, Nature, or similar is worth more than 10 publications in other low ranking journals)? Who has cited your work? Where are the individuals citing your work geographically located? How did your article impact the industry? Are others using your publications to make new discoveries, develop new theories, or make a lot of money? There are countless stories of people successfully making an EB-1 application without over 100 citations or without any citations at all. Remember, you need to meet at least 3 of the 10 criteria, and evidence of your authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media is only 1 of the possible criteria. There are 9 other options out there that can be used to show you are extraordinary regardless of your authorship contributions.

USCIS adjudicators are looking for credible, impactful, and beneficial publications. They are aware that some journals or media sources will publish almost anything. They are also aware of the ability to self publish. Thus, having publications that have been through the peer review process is a good way to show that your work has been analyzed by respected qualified peers that tested the final merits of your article. A lot of USCIS adjudicators will regard your articles as being highly influential and of high merit in your field as compared to articles that don’t go through peer review.

Some fields publish in media that don't go through a peer review process. This can also be okay as long as you can show that they were impactful to your field in some other way. For example, a podcast you create may be considered highly impactful if you can show it is utilized by the top experts in your field and that it has impacted professionals across the United States or the world. Similarly, a column in TechCrunch, the New York Times, or similar media could be considered as authorship.

In questioning the quality of your authorship of scholarly articles, USCIS officer’s may ask questions such as the following:

  • Was the article published in a professional or major trade publications or other major media?

  • What is the impact factor of the journal?

  • How significant was the publication?

  • What were your contributions to the publication?

    • Were you the first author? Second author? High contributor?

  • Who is citing your work?

  • Where are the researchers from who are utilizing your articles?

  • Is your work being used by others?

  • Has your work been widely read by others?

  • Have your articles been used to make money?

  • Did you discover something new, advance a theory or technology, or contribute in another way?

What evidence can be used to show the officer reviewing your case you are extraordinary, convincing them they should approve your case? There is a wide range of evidence that could work to show USCIS your authorship contributions are extraordinary. Here are some examples (maybe too many) of evidence you can prepare:

  • Press coverage regarding your Authorship

  • Google Scholar profile

  • ResearchGate profile

  • Impact Factor for relevant publications

  • Other articles citing to your work

  • Information regarding where people are located who cite your articles

  • Support letters from colleagues, other researchers, government officials describing:

    • How they used one of your papers in the creation of a product, to publish something, to make money, etc.

    • Real world applications your work

    • Why your article is of major significance

    • How they collaborated with you in writing the paper

    • An explanation of how they benefit from your work and will continue using your contributions

    • Or similar

  • Widespread public commentary about your article

  • Evidence of your work being implemented by others

  • Downloads or usage statistics

  • Transcripts of recorded media

  • Translations

  • Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) journal ranking

  • Prizes or awards received because of your published research

  • Presentations in an international conference on your article

  • Evidence of visitor traffic to your podcast

  • Ranking lists

  • Magazine

  • Newspaper

  • Book

    • Title page

    • Page with your information

    • Table of contents

    • Publication date

    • At least the first page of chapters you wrote

  • A listing showing your article or book as required reading for a course

  • Awards received as a result of your authorship

  • Your published articles themself

    • You can provide just a portion of the article if it is extremely long, just make sure and include the pages that list:

      • You as author;

      • The title of the article; and,

      • The journal in which it was published.

  • Evidence establishing the publications you publish in are professional publications, trade publications, or other major media.

  • Circulation information

  • Other information regarding the importance of your authorship

In some cases, only a few items would be needed for a good application. In other cases, you will find you need to provide more information to create a clear picture of your accomplishments. Each EB-1A applicant is unique and deserves a unique approach to their individual application. For now, it is useful for you to consider what evidence you should be gathering for your authorship evidence.

USCIS adjudicators are not going to understand what you have written about so it is vital that you provide evidence clearly explaining what you have done and how it impacted your field. Please note, if you are not the first author on a paper this isn’t a bad thing. USCIS is aware that well written and researched articles are often published because of the contributions of a group of individuals. You may just have to provide additional information regarding your individual contributions to the paper.

A few additional authorship tips:

  • Warning!!! If you have a Google Scholar profile and don’t include it in your EB-1 application you run the risk of triggering an RFE. This is a fact. If you are a researcher with publications the USCIS adjudicator is highly likely to look at your Google profile. Don’t make this mistake in building your EB-1 application.

  • International citation evidence is very helpful while “self-citations” are not very helpful.

  • Citations from major, well-known, international and national organizations like the Center for Disease Control, World Health Organization, Department of Defense, The Red Cross, the World Bank, or similar add prestige to a publication. This can be especially beneficial if a letter from one of these agencies regarding your contributions is included in your petition.

  • Peer letters stating the importance of papers you have written and how they impact their work is helpful (especially if your peer is well known in the industry).

  • Self-published work, thesis papers, locally published papers, articles published that are not related to your field of expertise, and similar may not qualify your work for this bullet. They may help or hurt your application so be careful when including items that may not show your extraordinary ability.

  • A declining publication rate may be seen as a lack of acclaim by adjudicators.

  • Articles written for peers have greater weight than articles published for the general public.

  • Media with international circulation is extremely helpful for journal articles.

  • You may want to hire a publicist who can help you develop articles and get you published in the best media for your field of expertise. A publicist can help you find the right publications to write articles for; identify ideas and opportunities; make sure you are published; and help you write original content.

Remember, in making an EB-1 argument you have to show you meet the criteria and then USCIS will also decide if what you accomplished is extraordinary enough for the EB-1 benefit during their final merits determination. If an officer believes you satisfied 3 or more of the 10 criteria, the application must then be judged to decide whether you are extraordinary. In practice, this means that what worked for your friend might not work for you and sometimes what didn’t work for a friend might work for you. I constantly hear people say that they were told by a friend that their achievement wouldn’t work because it didn’t work in their case. Sometimes, it is just a matter of getting your case before the right adjudicator on the right day or presenting your arguments in a new or creative way.

Because of the second level of review (final merits determination) determining if you are extraordinary using Kazarian standards, there is a higher percentage of RFEs, NOIDs, and denials in this category. The reality is, USCIS has an extremely high standard for EB-1 visas. Good luck preparing your EB-1 cases!

Our firm won’t charge you just for reaching out! We are offering free consultations through the end of January for aspiring EB-1 and NIW candidates. If you would like your qualifications evaluated (to see if you qualify or to get ideas on what you can do to improve your EB-1 or NIW resume) please contact our firm at with answers to the following questions:

  1. What is your area of expertise (in 2-5 words)?

  2. What nationally or internationally recognized awards in your field of endeavor have you received?

  3. What memberships in associations in your field do you possess that require outstanding achievements from members?

  4. Have you or your work been featured as published material in trade publications or other major media? If so, who published your work?

  5. Have you judged the work of others (i.e. peer review of journal articles, judge at competition, dissertation committee member, peer review for government funding program)? If so, how many times?

  6. Has your work been used by someone to make money (commercialized)? If so, explain:

  7. Have you obtained any patents or similar achievements because of your research? If so, explain:

  8. Link to Google Scholar (if not available, researchgate could work):

  9. Current Wage:

  10. Have you been employed in critical capacity? If so, where and in what capacity?

For more information see prior posts about EB-1 criteria:

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