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USCIS Announces New RFE Template for EB1A Alien of Extraordinary Ability Cases

On January 21st, 2011 USCIS released a new template for I-140 cases in the EB1A Alien of Extraordinary category as part of the RFE (Request for Evidence) Project introduced by Director Mayorkas in April 2010. This project is a new effort by USCIS to make the RFE process consistent across each of the Service Centers, relevant to the classification being adjudicated, and tailored to the individual case. This new template is available for public comment until February 4th, 2011 and can be viewed here

The new template has many advantages over the old system. In the past, some RFE’s have been unclear, inconsistent, and lacking specifics concerning the applicant’s case. Now, under this new format, the process is far more standardized. In addition, this new template is more helpful since it suggests specific evidence to send in to prove the elements of the case. Previous RFEs did not do this and left it up to the attorney and client to guess at what evidence USCIS was specifically looking for. Finally, the new template is helpful because it instructs the reviewing officer to specifically address the evidence sent in to prove each EB1A criterion and explain why this evidence is lacking or unacceptable. So over all these changes are good since now USCIS will use a standardized process, specifically address any problems with the submitted evidence, and suggest new evidence to be submitted.

One of the major downsides of this new RFE template is that it directly incorporates the August 18, 2010 USCIS interim memo which breaks the EB1A evaluation process up into two parts – 1) evaluating whether the applicant meets the baseline criteria for the immigration category and 2) determining whether the applicant’s evidence as a whole demonstrates the required high level of expertise for the immigration category. This interim memo has given USCIS freedom to deny a case or send an RFE even if the officer finds that at least three EB1A criterion have been met. We have noticed that this type of situation has occurred often since the release of the interim memo. Under the new RFE template, this two step approach is mandated to all USCIS officers and as a result it is likely that we will see more EB1A cases that encounter problems despite an officer’s admission that at least three points were proven.

In conclusion, the new RFE template has both advantages and disadvantages. Overall, many of the changes are welcome since they will allow the process to be more orderly and systematic. It is unclear if the new template will have other more negative effects on the RFE process. Given the difficulties of green card application and the constantly changing landscape of immigration, it is highly recommended that anyone attempting this process retain a qualified immigration attorney.

From January to December 2010, our firm received 166 EB-1 case approvals. In addition, from January to December 2009, our firm received 210 EB-1 case approvals. If you are interested in filing an EB-1 petition, please contact our experienced attorneys at for a free evaluation.

Founded in 1996, Zhang & Associates, P.C. offers legal services to clients nationwide in all aspects of U.S immigration law. We have successfully handled thousands of immigration cases.

At Zhang & Associates, P.C., our attorneys and supporting professionals are committed to providing high-quality immigration and non-immigration visa services. We specialize in NIW, EB-1, PERM, and I-485 cases. In the past fourteen years, we have successfully helped thousands of clients get green cards. If you plan to apply for a green card, please send your CV to Attorney Jerry Zhang ( for a free evaluation.

Zhang & Associates, PC.

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