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How Many Citations Are Needed for an EB-1 Visa? 

Posted on January 19, 2023
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By Heather Beliles, M. Ed.

Some employment-based, first-preference visa applicants can get an EB-1 visa approval with ten or less citations. However, approvals truly depend on the relevancy, nature of the profession, and the contribution the professional would have in the United States.

So, how many citations are needed for an EB-1 visa really?

Applicants in some professions see approvals based on only a few citations, while others see denials though they have 200. 

If an applicant has a lower citation number but can demonstrate how they have more than the average number of citations than others in his or her field, this low number may not be as relevant.

EB-1 Visa Categories

The EB-1 category of immigration is reserved for the following people:

  • Permanent Workers 
  • Extraordinary Ability/Outstanding Professors, Assistant Professors, or Researchers
  • Multinational Executives or Managers
  • Physicians

The USCIS employment-based website says the evidence that an EB-1 visa applicant is an outstanding professor or researcher is documented by satisfying at least two of the following criteria:

  1. Evidence of receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement
  2. Evidence of membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievements
  3. Evidence of published material in professional publications written by others about the noncitizen's work in the academic field
  4. Evidence of participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field
  5. Evidence of original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field
  6. Evidence of authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field

The evidence must otherwise be comparable if the above criteria do not apply.

EB-1 Publications and Recognition

  • Journal papers with peer review
  • Conference papers
  • Submitted evidence
  • Business related contributions
  • Contributions of major significance
  • Internationally recognized prizes
  • Recognized national awards
  • Commercial success
  • Present in an international conference
  • Patents
  • Invited as a speaker at an international conference
  • Received numerous awards in school or at their university
  • Have reviewed his or her peers’ work
  • Awards for academic accomplishment in their university
  • Members of particular societies or organizations
  • Has a high number of reference letters
  • Author of the most publications
  • Pulitzer prize recipient
  • Oscar recipient
  • Olympic Medal
  • Presented at United States national meetings
  • Other international acclaim
  • Other significantly high remuneration

EB-1 Citations

Citations by others, of the EB-1 applicant’s work in their field, are generally required when the applicant seeks an EB-1 visa or EB-1 green card. For many foreign nationals, this means their published materials are in any of the following:

  • Professional publications
  • Major trade publications
  • Newspapers
  • Other major media 

And/or original contributions with major significance in their field in the following:

  • Scientific
  • Medical science
  • Scholarly articles
  • Business-related

In short, having a higher amount of citations demonstrates perfectly how instrumental the applicant’s work is. Having said this, it is more common for research papers of doctors or PhD students to have their research published than it is for professionals in business and technology. They may not even have any.

Foreign nationals demonstrate major significance in their field by being leaders, forerunners, and by having international recognition. Their work, research project or research experience plays such a critical role in society that their contributions and journal publications are published in professional journals. Having such a distinguished reputation is what sets EB-1 applicants apart. However, if the applicant is in a particular field, the USCIS may not require citations at all.

Oftentimes there are people who have won nationally and internationally recognized awards, or who have been in a critical role for particular organizations but lack the research papers, and hence the corresponding citations. This aligns with the fact that the citation required by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) truly depends on the occupational category.

Of course, there are quite a few EB-1 visa categories, but it should be noted that applicants from China and India who seek an EB-1A visa, should consider filing their National Interest Waiver petition (NIW) as soon as possible. Doing so ensures an earlier priority date, which brings more hope that their citation requirement will be lower than if the applicant were to wait.

FAQs For How Many Citations Are Needed for an EB-1 Visa?

How many citations are required for my EB-1 application?

It depends on the field of expertise.

Am I required to have published research papers and citations when applying for an EB-1?

Citations may not be required as evidence, depending on the field of contribution.

Do I have to have a big one-time achievement to be granted an EB-1 visa?

No. Not all EB-1 recipients have awards like a Pulitzer prize, Oscar, Olympic Medal, etc.

Conclusion about How Many Citations Are Needed for an EB-1? 

There are countless success stories from applicants who have been granted an EB-1 with fewer than 50 citations of their work. Conversely, there are unfortunately EB-1 visa petitioners with upwards of 200-300+ citations who receive a visa denial.

EB-1 visa applicants’ work with a sustained national interest can easily have citation counts of one or two hundred, though it depends largely on the area of expertise. It is more common for doctors, doctoral students, and assistant professors to have their works published than it is for business and technology professionals. The fact is, some professions may not be required to have citations when applying for an EB-1 visa.

It is more important that the foreign national is a permanent worker, a professor with extraordinary or outstanding ability, an assistant professor, a researcher, a multinational executive or manager, or a physician who has or will have a critical role in the United States.

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