USCIS Update

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has updated its Policy Manual with clearer guidelines pertaining to the EB-1 immigrant visa classifications – the Extraordinary Ability (E11) and Outstanding Professor or Researcher (E12) categories. Especially noteworthy is the emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. This update aims to aid petitioners in effectively showcasing their eligibility through appropriate evidence submission.

Key Clarifications in the Update

  1. Elaborate Evidence Criteria: The policy guidance not only enumerates specific types of evidence that the USCIS may assess but also offers clear examples of the same. This eliminates ambiguities and gives applicants a clearer roadmap for successful application processes.
  2. STEM Fields in the Limelight: The guidance shines a spotlight on STEM fields, underscoring the importance of advancements and achievements in these areas. The clarified examples of evidence pertinent to STEM professionals can be invaluable to those in these specialized fields seeking to validate their unique skills and contributions.
  3. Comparable Evidence – What Does It Mean? Not all achievements fit into a predefined category. Recognizing this, the USCIS elaborates on what can be deemed “comparable evidence.” This feature is particularly beneficial for those with unconventional accomplishments that may not traditionally fit into prescribed criteria but are no less significant.
  4. Considerations During Evidence Evaluation: An important addition is the provision of a set of considerations that the USCIS may use when evaluating submitted evidence. This transparent approach allows applicants to tailor their submissions more strategically, understanding how their evidence might be perceived and evaluated.

Benefits of the Update

Beyond the specifics, this USCIS update offers broader benefits:

  • Transparency: The detailed guidance ensures that both petitioners and legal professionals have a transparent view of what is expected in the application process.
  • Improved Application Quality: With a clearer understanding of evidence requirements, applicants can curate a more compelling and relevant set of documents to bolster their case.
  • Streamlined Process: Clarity often translates to efficiency. By knowing what’s required, petitioners can potentially expedite their application review process.


For immigration lawyers, individuals, and institutions based in places like Buffalo, NY, and beyond, the updated USCIS policy guidance is a step forward in making the EB-1 immigrant visa application process more comprehensible. Especially for those in STEM fields, this clarified guidance provides an enhanced framework to highlight their achievements and make a compelling case for their extraordinary contributions.

Read the Full Update from USCIS

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