Success Stories: EB1A Approved for Researcher in the Field of Nanotechnology after Our Appeal to AAO (Administrative Appeal Office)


Client’s Testimonial:

“I am very lucky to have you help me go thru all these difficulties. I cannot say enough to thank you for all your help!

On November 9th, 2018, we received another EB-1A (Alien of Extraordinary Ability) approval for a Researcher in the Field of Nanotechnology (Approval Notice).

General Field: Nanotechnology

Position at the Time of Case Filing: Researcher

Country of Origin: China

State of Residence at the Time of Filing: California

Approval Notice Date: November 9th, 2018

Processing Time: 10 months, 26 days

Case Summary:

We submitted an EB-1A petition to the Nebraska Service Center (NSC), which was denied on March 26, 2018 following a Request for Evidence (RFE). However, due to numerous problems associated with the denial decision, we appealed the decision with Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). AAO reopened the case and issued an EB-1A approval on November 9, 2018.

EB-1A Petition

Currently a U.S.-based researcher, our client is studying the synthesis and physical properties of carbon nano-materials. In this client’s original EB-1A filing, we claimed three of ten regulatory EB-1 criteria: (1) original contributions of major significance, (2) authorship of scholarly articles, and (3) judge of the work of others. We submitted evidence of our client’s accomplishments, including 35 authored articles, 851 citations, and 37 instances of peer review. We further supplemented this with media coverage and scientific articles demonstrating the influence of our client’s work, evidence of how our client’s articles amassed citations in the highest percentiles of the field, and four letters of recommendation from experts throughout the world to provide additional details about our client’s work and its irrefutable impact on the field.

Request for Evidence (RFE) and Denial

Following case filing, the USCIS issued an RFE on our client’s case challenging our client’s qualifications under the criterion of “original contributions of major significance.” Specifically, the officer asserted that a history of publication was not a reliable measure of success under this criterion, but that a strong citation record was; however, according to the officer, our client’s citation record was not sufficient to satisfy this criterion. Because of our client’s strong credentials at the time and the nature of the RFE, we believed that the chances of case approval remained high, and our experienced RFE teams therefore prepared to address the officer’s concerns and provide additional examples of the impact our client has made.

Despite the strength of the petition, the USCIS issued a denial notice on the case. Upon review of the denial, our attorneys confirmed that the adjudicating officer had acknowledged that our client met the plain language requirements of all the EB-1 criteria claimed but still determined that our client did not qualify for EB-1A in the Final Merits Determination stage of the evaluation. Here, the officer noted that while our client’s accomplishments were significant, they did not establish our client’s position at the top of their field since the officer found that some scientists in our client’s field had “garnered citations numbered in the thousands.”

As we have observed with many case decisions being issued by NSC officers, where such language is common, we concluded that the officer had inappropriately applied a standard of comparison in the case adjudication and had set an unattainable threshold cut off for EB-1A approval that was not strictly specified or in line with the EB-1A category.


We firmly believed that our client had a strong case that merited case approval. We therefore prepared an appeal response that systematically disputed the claims outlined in the denial decision, including the “thousands of citations” demand, thereby demonstrating that if the law was applied correctly during case adjudication, it would be clear that our client’s case meets the EB-1A requirements and should be approved.

Convinced by our arguments, the AAO found there was sufficient evidence to re-open the case and subsequently approve it. Due to our hard work and effective legal strategies, we were able to assist our client toward a successful EB-1A appeal and approval despite being faced with an officer who set exceptionally high standards and thresholds to warrant case approval.

North America Immigration Law Group (Chen Immigration Law Associates) is a U.S. immigration law firm dedicated to representing corporations, research institutions, and individuals from all 50 U.S. states regarding I-140 immigration petitions. We specialize in employment-based immigration petition and have a proven record of high success rate for the categories of: EB2-NIW (National Interest Waiver), EB1-A (Alien of Extraordinary Ability), EB1-B (Outstanding Researcher/Professor) and O-1 (Alien of Extraordinary Ability).

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