Case of Kazarian v. USCIS (596 F.3d 1115) - Arvian Immigration Law Firm
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Case of Kazarian v. USCIS (596 F.3d 1115)

Considering the conditions for EB-1A, USCIS studies in 2 stages. This is based on the judgment of the court in the case Kazarian v. USCIS (596 F.3d 1115), this trial dramatically modified the approach in the review of the evidence of the petition on EB-1A.

Pogos Kazarian, a native and citizen of Armenia, filed a petition on 31 January 2003 to get an EB-1A for foreigners with remarkable skills, alleging that he possessed such abilities in the field of physics-theoretics and specializes in non-Einstein’s theory of gravity. Kazarian got a degree in theoretical physics from Yerevan State University. 

In support of his petition, Kazarian offered a range of evidence that was used to defend the entitlement to receive EB-1 status:

1) Evidence of receipt of smaller nationally or internationally recognised awards or awards for outstanding achievements (medal for graduation from secondary school with distinction from the Ministry of Education of Armenia; letter from the Dean of the Faculty of Physics of the University of Armenia stating that the applicant “was awarded the Decan’s Honorary Diploma for Outstanding Achievements in Study for 5 years (from 1989 to 1994)”).

2) Documentary confirmation of the membership of a foreigner in associations related to a particular field, which require that their members have outstanding achievements, and this is judged by experts recognised by national or international experts in the field (application for accession to the American Chemical Society; application for membership in the American Association for the Promotion of the Development of Science; membership to the New York Academy of Sciences).

3) Materials published about the foreigner in professional or major industry publications or other major media relating to the work of the foreigner in the field for which classification is sought (a “Young Talents from America” article published in the Armenian journal “Luis”; an article about the applicant’s immigration problems published in an unknown newspaper; a television interview about his professional activities of the Armenia National Network).

4) Proof of the participation of a foreigner as a judge of the work of other persons in the same or related field of specification for which classification is requested (a letter from Professor Chubarian, head of the Department of Theoretical Physics of the European University of Applied Sciences, stating that the applicant was engaged in teaching activities and reviewing graduate works).

5) Evidence of the original scientific, artistic, sports or business contribution of a foreigner of great importance in this field (letters from prominent scientists of the California Institute of Technology from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory; letters from colleagues from the Public College of Glendale; letters of staff of the University of California who knew the applicant during his stay there).

6) Proof of the authority of a foreigner in scientific articles in this field, in professional or large industry publications or other major media (published articles of petitioners in various journals on physics; self-publishing book “Concepts in physics: classical mechanics” with reviews of colleagues from the Public College of Glendale).

And also other forms of evidence that were less relevant to the petition.

In August 2005, the USCIS denied the petition noting that the documentation given by it did not match the requirements for the EB-1A category. USCIS determined that Kazarian did not present enough proof to substantiate his outstanding ability.

Kazarian challenged the refusal to the Administrative Appeal Office (AAO), however the AAO denied the appeal, saying that Kazarian did not meet any of the evidentiary standards set out in the applicable visa rules of “extraordinary abilities.” 

Case of Kazarian v. USCIS was examined by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 2010.

The Court of Appeal determined that the USCIS wrongly applied the requirements in the case of Kazarian. The Court pointed out that a two-stage analysis should be conducted to evaluate “special abilities and the necessity to take into account all submitted material and data, including expert views and recognitions in the area.

Judgment of the Court in the case Kazarian v. USCIS has created key precedents for defining standards of extraordinary skills in the EB-1A category. The Court accepted that immigration services should take into account a wide range of information and expert opinions, and not be bound to specific criteria.

USCIS should apply a two-stage process to determine exceptional ability. This means that the applicant must first demonstrate that he fits the fundamental qualifications for this category, and then present extra proof confirming his remarkable ability.

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