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Ombudsman Recommendations to Improve the Quality in Extraordinary Ability and Other Employment-based Adjudications

Our nation's immigration laws recognize the importance of attracting individuals of extraordinary ability from around the world to the United States to continue their work in the arts, athletics, business, education, healthcare, and sciences. On December 22, 2010, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a policy memorandum that applies a Ninth Circuit decision, Poghos Kazarian v. US Citizenship and Immigration Services, to certain employment-based petitions filed for individuals with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and exceptional ability professionals. Stakeholders report that adjudications under this policy memorandum have been inconsistent. The Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman makes these recommendations to improve predictability and transparency in adjudications of extraordinary ability and other employment-based petitions.

Read the Full Recommendation (PDF, 12 pages - 240 KB)


The Ombudsman recommends that USCIS:

  1. Conduct formal rulemaking to clarify the regulatory standard, and if desired, explicitly incorporate a final merits determination into the regulations; and
  2. In the interim, provide public guidance on the application of a final merits determination; and
  3. In the interim, provide ISOs with additional guidance and training on the proper application of preponderance of the evidence standard when adjudicating EB-1-1, EB-1-2, and EB-2 petitions.
Last Published Date: August 27, 2015

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