Los Angeles, CA asked in Immigration Law for Massachusetts

Q: Would starting a new master's program right after PhD impact my chance of filing for the EB1-A visa?


I hope the message finds you well. I am an international graduate student and I recently defended my PhD dissertation (STEM field). I intend to file for EB1A visa; I think I've met 3 out of the 10 criteria. Then there's that second part from USCIS that reads "... as well as evidence showing that you will be continuing to work in the area of your expertise."

I intend to pursue a dual career path of research and psychological counseling and I just enrolled in a counseling program at another university.

My question is: How would starting another Master's program in psychological counseling impact my chance of filing for this visa (while in the master’s program)? My interpretation is that I need to continue to "work in the area of my expertise" which is research; so going for a post-doc would seem to increase the chance of getting this visa. But I would really like to hear about your opinion on this.

Thank you very much for your time.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Samuil Buschkin
Samuil Buschkin
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Union, NJ

A: The definition of extraordinary ability is a level of expertise indicating that the individual is one of that small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor. You prove extraordinary ability by showing “sustained national or international acclaim” and that your “achievements have been recognized in the field of expertise.” You prove sustained national or international acclaim and that your achievements have been recognized in your field of expertise by submitting evidence of a one-time achievement or by meeting 3 of the 10 evidentiary criteria listed above. Letters of endorsement from experts in your industry are highly important to your EB1A visa application.

These letters should not be the primary evidence used to show that you have extraordinary ability. Letters of endorsement from experts in the field are very helpful to explain the importance of your accomplishments and contributions to the field. You should begin to think about who you can reach out to for letters of endorsement very early on in the planning of your EB1A visa application.

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