In this article, I will discuss the most frequently asked questions for researchers considering applying for an EB-1A green card. And those are the ones related to scientific publications and number of citations.
This is because one of the 10 regulatory criteria that a petitioner can use to prove extraordinary ability is “Evidence of your authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media”.
Do you need publications for EB-1A?
The short answer is no, there is no official requirement for publications, and that includes peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations, and books or book chapters. However, if you are a scientist, this is one of the straightforward ways of satisfying one of the ten regulatory criteria that USCIS has published for the extraordinary ability classification. Each petitioner must have at least 3 of these criteria.
Because researchers and scientists typically publish their work as part of their research projects, most of them will have several publications under their belt and they should use them to their advantage during the EB-1A application process.
Publications for EB-1A: tackle two regulatory criteria
On top of the more obvious criteria of having been author of scholarly articles, one can also help establish the significance of their contributions to their field showing their publication record. This would help meet the criteria “Evidence of your original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field”.
How many publications do you need for EB-1A?
There is no fixed number of publication required for EB-1A applications. In fact, like I said above, this is not a strict requirement. In my opinion, it all comes down to the significance of your work, and even though the number of publications can help you establish that, quality trumps quality in this case!
Publications for EB-1A: Quality is more important that quantity
I get the question of how many publications should I have for EB-1. There is no direct answer for that, even when, logically, more is better because professionals (particularly researchers) establish their influence through prolific publication records.
However, I would argue that the quality of your publications is much more important, especially when it comes to your EB-1A petition. To establish the quality of your published work, you can leverage indicator metrics such as the impact factor of the journal you published in. You can get this number in different sources, including the journal’s main webpage and websites like SCImago.
In addition, you can find out what is the ranking position of a particular journal within their field. Tools like Google Scholar or SCImago help you find this information, which can be extremely valuable when discussing the quality of your work. If you have managed to publish in a journal that is high in the list of journals for your field, it means your research and contributions are likely to be high quality too!
Another way to refer to the quality of your published science is to show the number of citations each publication has received. This is a very well known method for researchers and scientists to establish their relevance in the field. I will cover this aspect in the sections below.
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How many citations do you need for EB1A?
There is no minimum number of citations required for an EB-1A petition. However, a strong citation history can help establish your authority and influence in the field. Therefore, the more citations your work has, the easier it may be for you to argue you are a person of extraordinary ability.
How can citations help you with EB-1A?
Citations can demonstrate the impact of your work in your field, which supports your claim of extraordinary ability. A strong citation record can help bolster your EB1A case, particularly for peer-reviewed publications, as a higher citation count may indicate the higher quality of your research.
How can you demonstrate the number of citations in your I-140 application?
You can include a screenshot of your Google Scholar profile, which displays your publications and the number of citations. Alternatively, you can use other platforms like ResearchGate that have the same or similar functionality. It is important to include at least one of these as Exhibit in your I-140 package and refer to it in your cover letter.
The number of citations varies by field
It’s important to note that citation patterns vary across fields. For example, research in Biochemistry, Genetics, and Molecular Biology typically receives more citations than work in Arts and Humanities. Therefore, it’s essential to evaluate your citation record in the context of your specific field and let the USCIS officer know about this reality. This is because you need to be judged within your field and not compared to every other scientist in general.
Citation counts are higher late in the professional career
It is well known that as one progresses in the research career, the citation count increases because it is a cumulative indicator. If you are young and in your early professional years, it is important you note this in your cover letter. A good way to then establish the relevance of your number of citations is to compare the number of citations of your papers to those in the same journal published on the same years. There are websites that can help you find this information, including SCImago.
What can you do if you do not have publications or citations?
Depending on your situation, different solutions may be available:
If you’re not a researcher, publications may not be relevant to your field. Or you could think about book chapters or other type of publications beyond scientific papers. This article primarily targets researchers. There are still nine regulatory criteria you may use to get at least 3 in order to qualify as person of Extraordinary Abilities.
If you are a researcher with few or no publications, but you’re early in your career or work outside academia, spend time evaluating how you can produce manuscripts to submit to peer-review journal so in the coming months you can count with some papers for your EB-1A. Additionally, you can focus on other type of evidence to hit other criteria, such as membership in reputable organizations, serving as a reviewer for journals, or having received awards.
If you work in a private organization where publishing is not an option due to intellectual property concerns, use letters of recommendation to describe your contributions and achievements so you can establish the significance of your work and therefore can meet the regulatory criteria “Evidence of your original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field” even without publications.
While publications or citations are not a requirement for a successful EB-1A green card application, a strong record in these areas can significantly help researchers demonstrate their extraordinary ability. However, if you do not have an extensive publication or citation record, you can still build a compelling case using alternative types of evidence, such as recommendation letters, awards, patents, or a well-developed research plan. Remember, the key is to showcase your extraordinary ability and impact within your field, regardless of the type of evidence us.