A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Every trade has its master: Horse breeder found to have extraordinary ability

There is a fast-track way to obtain the U.S. green card for those who qualified.  The Immigration and Nationality Act (the Act) provides several first-preference visa classifications (EB-1) for foreigners to apply for U.S. permanent residence quickly.  These qualified foreigners are called priority workers.  "Aliens with extraordinary ability" under Section 203(b) of the Act is one such category.  Recently, the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) of the USCIS approved an EB-1 Extraordinary Ability Alien petition for a thoroughbred horse breeder.

To qualify as an extraordinary ability alien, one must demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics by virtue of "sustained national or international acclaim" and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation.  Under the regulations, a petitioner may demonstrate such sustained national or international acclaim by means of a one-time achievement such as  a major international award.  If there is no such a one-time achievement, the petitioner may provide evidence to show that he or she meets three of the ten listed criteria such as awards, published material about the petitioner, scholarly publications, etc.  

In Matter of P-H-, an unpublished decision, the AAO found that the petitioner, a thoroughbred horse breeder meets three of the ten requirements including:

(1) Published material about the petitioner: Two of UK's horse racing dignitaries interviewed him after his horse beat the race favorite. The interview was broadcast live on Channel 4 in UK, which has millions of viewers on average. 
(2)  Participation as a judge of others work:  Petitioner evaluated thoroughbred horses for people what would like to purchase them. 
(3) Original scientific, scholarly, artistic, or athletic, or business-related contributions:  Evidence showing petitioner's contributions to the thoroughbred horse racing community through breeding several champion horses.

However, according to the regulation, it is not enough for a petitioner to meet three of the ten requirements. To qualify as an extraordinary ability priority worker, the immigration officers must also perform a "final merits determination" to decide whether an immigrant visa should be granted, pursuant to Kazarian v. USCIS, a 2010 Ninth Circuit Court decision. Essentially, USCIS evaluates each piece of evidence individually and also collectively to determine whether the totality of the documents submitted establishes sustained national or international acclaim and whether it demonstrates that the individual is among the small percentage of individuals at the top of their professional field.

Here, AAO found that horse breeder does possess extraordinary ability, noting his "history of success an achievements."   Petitioner brought his stallion from the UK to Florida in 1989 when he moved to America.  Petitioner introduced two new bloodlines to America by breeding his horse.  In doing so, he created offspring with no close genetic replications.  For his novel and successful way of breeding horses, petitioner was called an "intuitive genius" in the field.  The horses that he bred won high profile races and competitions.  Petitioner also trained the 2010 Kentucky Derby-wining horse, Super Saver.  The horses that he bred were sold for high prices.  The petitioner also evaluated the suitability for breeding of numerous horses for both individuals and established horse training facilities on different continents. His expertise is relied by peers in both Europe and America.  

Consequently, after noting that the petitioner will continue working in his area of expertise in the U.S. (another requirement), the AAO approved his EB-1 extraordinary ability alien petition.

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