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EB1A - Evaluating Your Participation as a Judge of the Work of Others

Evidence that you have been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel

The purpose of this post is to provide tools that help you evaluate whether you could make an argument that you satisfy the 4th of the 10 EB-1A criteria, that you have been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel.

Many candidates use this bullet when arguing they meet the criteria required by the EB-1 criteria. Judging the work of others in your field is a great way to boost your EB-1 profile. A strong argument for this bullet can show USCIS adjudicators that you are extraordinary because you have been invited to review the work of your peers. The great news is getting opportunities to judge others is relatively easy compared to accomplishing the standards required by many of the other bullets. If you have not judged or been invited to judge anything to date, think creatively of ways you can find these opportunities (especially opportunities with other judges who are impressive).

For example, it is relatively easy for you to:

  • Ask a journal to be a reviewer of articles/manuscripts/abstracts

  • Help conduct job interviews

  • Help conduct project reviews

  • Reach out to someone to become a judge at competitions that give out awards

  • Reach out to judge a Hackathon or Pitch Deck

  • Find opportunities to conduct review at a conference or symposium

  • Conduct review of subordinates

  • Look for opportunities to conduct assessments

  • Find opportunity to review significant work of others such as software, algorithms, technology, papers, research, or other

  • Participate on a PhD dissertation committee

  • Serving on an editorial board

  • Look for opportunities to review conference presentations/papers/posters

  • Ask to judge artistic showcases

  • Participate as a member of a music festival jury

Don’t be afraid to ask for more prestigious judging opportunities as well. It never hurts to ask for an opportunity.

As these are just a few examples of ways you can build your resume for the “judge the work of others” bullet from the EB-1A criteria, carefully consider what opportunities are available to you.

Do note, USCIS will question the quality of your participation as a judge of the work of others. Be prepared for your case to be questioned in the following ways:

  • Was your opportunity to judge the work of others related to your field of expertise?

  • Why were you selected as a judge?

  • Was the opportunity to judge prestigious?

  • Was the opportunity to judge given because of your extraordinary accomplishments?

  • What kind of press coverage did the event you judged receive?

  • What is the impact score of the journal you reviewed for?

  • Where are the participants in the competition geographically located?

Preparing evidence in advance to answer these questions is vital to a good “judge of the work of others” argument. Ultimately, you have to at least provide evidence that you were invited to judge and that you completed the task. Here are some examples of evidence you can prepare to answer these questions:

  • Flier from competition you judged

  • Information about competition you judged

  • Invitation for you to judge

  • Pictures of you at the competition, reviewing the participants, handing out awards, etc.

  • Invitation or thank you email or letter for your participation as a judge

  • Other documentation that you completed review

  • Press coverage of you as a judge

  • Press coverage of the competition

  • Evidence of the criteria used to judge

  • Evidence of a journals impact score

  • Evidence of selection criteria of judges

  • Participant details

  • Score sheets

  • Information about other judges

  • Information about the prizes or awards

  • Support letter

    • Discussing what was judged

    • How it was judged

    • The impact of your review

    • The number of competitors

    • How many days you participated

    • Number of competitors you reviewed

    • Details about the competition

    • Selection criteria of judges

    • Prestige of competition

One issue potentially is the number of reviews someone performs for a journal. If using peer review as evidence, evidence that you are continually performing review is stronger than evidence that you performed 2 or 3 reviews and haven’t continued to act as a peer reviewer. Don’t take this to mean 2 or 3 peer reviews is bad evidence. If your 2 or 3 reviews are in a good journal (Nature, Science, etc.) then they may be enough. However, peer review is relatively easy to seek out. I typically advise clients to get out of the single digit reviews and have had clients do this consistently in a couple of months.

In the “judge of the work of others” argument 1 to 3 opportunities may be enough. For example, if you are invited to judge a top competition in your field, that alone may be enough. More is better, but prestige and coverage are also important components of this criteria.

Other things to think about:

  • The event you judge should be in your field or related to your field. There must be a link to your specialization and the event you judge.

  • Who you judge matters! Professionals, peers, others of extraordinary ability that you judge will carry more weight than amateurs.

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.

Please note, USCIS has oftentimes been more critical of review that is conducted as a normal part of your job or that you have been a part of not because of your extraordinary ability.

Please remember, USCIS adjudicators complete a 2-part review in evaluating these petitions. If an officer believes you satisfied 3 out of the 10 criteria, the applications 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.

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.

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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