EB1 Success With Indian Cultural Performers
Cultural dances such as Kuchipudi, Kathak, and Bharatanatyam are highly respected and beloved art and dance forms originating from India. While many engage in these dance forms recreationally, there a select few who have attained a high level of success and recognition and are actually eligible for the EB1 Green Card as “Aliens of Extraordinary Ability” and the many of them have no idea such an opportunity even exists.
At the Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram, we work with dancers/performers on a regular basis and we are committed to being successful in securing EB1 Green Cards for as many as possible. Whilst US Immigration Officers may be, at first, unfamiliar with these and other Indian dance forms, by working closely with our clients we are often able to educate them and persuade them that these candidates are worthy of the EB1 Green Card.
Winning EB1 Green cards for our clients is far from easy and sometimes there are set backs, but with a lot of sheer determination and hard work we can ultimately win. One of the keys to success is making sure we have a good supply of examples of the clients’ work.
With this influx of cases and approvals, we have received many inquiries regarding the types of evidence and experience it takes to achieve an EB1 Green Card approval. In response to these requests, we have designed this short overview to assist you in making a self-assessment for your case. Once you are ready to take that step towards the EB1 Green Card, contact our offices and we will be happy to assess your case and discuss moving forward.
In order to file a successful EB1 Application, US Immigration requires all EB1 Applicants to satisfy three of ten categories they have enumerated. While these categories range over different types of achievements, we have typically utilized the following categories in our casework. However, if having reviewed all ten of the categories you feel you can satisfy other categories, please of course let us know.
- Published Materials;
- Exhibitions and Showcases;
- Leading or Critical Role.
Published materials include being featured or written about in newspapers and magazines or media outlets such as online publications that have a substantial following. Of our cultural dancers, both Neelima and Jayalakshmi (Jay) utilized this category to their advantage.
Jay was featured on the cover of Kumudham magazine, with an extensive article on her work as a Bharatanatyam dancer. Kumudham is a widely circulated women’s magazine in Chennai and all over India, and with extensive research we were able to illustrate to US Immigration that Kumudham magazine was indeed a major publication. Again, we have a lot of educating to do as it is unlikely that US Immigration will have previously heard of the magazine, let alone the dance form before.
In addition to the Kumudham magazine article, Jay was also featured in Virakesari ENewspaper. The Virakesari online publication feature consisted of a full length article with multiple shots of Jay performing. Virakesari has a circulation of over 2.5 million readers. Very few publications in America have a circulation in the millions.
Neelima, was featured in 3 major newspapers in India, all regarding her performances and Kuchipudi performing skills. These included “The Hindu”, “Eenadu,” and “The New Indian Express.” Each of these articles were in widely circulated and are well-known publications in India so all we had to do is compile an excellent background profile on each publication to bring the US Immigration official up to speed.
In both of these cases, our clients were able to provide us with extensive documentation of each of their publications. With such documentation on hand, our team was able to display their achievements and conduct the necessary research to comply with the stringent US Immigration requirements.
So here is your assignment – start gathering as many articles about yourself as you can. They may be in a variety of magazines or newspapers, and we can review them. If you do not currently have any articles about you in any publications, then this is an option that you should greatly consider pursuing media exposure and pursue it with everything you have. Remember what is at stake here – an EB1 Green Card that could enable you and your family to relocate to the US for life. Not bad, right?
Many successful dancers have had the opportunity of judging other up-and-coming dancers in the same form of dance for which they are known. Since Judging is one of the qualifying categories, we are able to use this in the EB1 Green card case. Both Jay and Kiran had experience serving as a judges, in which they utilized their years of training and experience to select the top performers.
Both Jay and Kiran provided photos, brochures, and invitation/thank you letters for each instance in which they served as a judge. As a judge, Jay evaluated classical and folk dance groups in an American Festival Dance Competition. Kiran on the other hand, worked with a recognizable Indian association in America and judged individuals in her field of expertise. Kiran was also able to provide recognition from media outlets regarding the success of the competition for which she participated as a judge.
Judging is a category that many EB1 cultural dancers and general EB1 applicants utilize in their petition.
So here is your assignment – If you’ve ever been a judge as outlined above, then great – gather up as much evidence as you can about the event. Was the event featured in any publications, are there any posters or flyers you can grab that promoted the event at the time. If you have never judged a competition before, then this is your second assignment. Good luck!
Exhibitions and Showcases
For our cultural performers, evidence of their Exhibitions/Showcases is a category they often have numerous examples of on hand. However, immigration has grown to be unpredictable in their recognition of this category for our cultural performers. That being said, we have received approvals for cases in which this category was utilized. Moving forward we hope to utilize evidence of these showcases as a 4th category, serving as a back-up.
Kiran’s exhibitions/showcases were impressive. About a year before we filed her EB1 application, she performed at the esteemed Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Coupled with photographs from her performance, promotional materials from the Kennedy Center’s website and brochures from the event were also submitted. In addition, Kiran also performed with her students at an International Kathak Festival at the University of Chicago, another event that received high praise and attention from the press.
Jay participated in the televised Indian version of “Dancing With the Stars,” – “Jodi No. 1.” Not only was she a participant in the first season, Jay was asked to return to appear and feature in promotional materials for seasons 4 and 5. Jay also had four other major performances or TV recognition to accompany her EB1 application.
Neelima had multiple exhibitions/showcases in the United States and in India. Some of these performances also received recognition from the press, which we were able to utilize to convey the high esteem of her performances.
Immigration law is constantly changing and adapting, and as such, we will evaluate your exhibitions/showcases to determine what role they will play in your EB1 Petition.
Your assignment – You guessed it; get busy gathering evidence of your past performances – find everything you can. The more prestigious the performance is in terms of location, crowd and buzz, the better. If you do not have such evidence then, – you know what to do. We cannot wait to see what you are able to come up with.
Leading or Critical Role
A Leading or Critical Role for a cultural dancer can consist of choreographing winning dances, or choreographing any dance that has been highly acclaimed or playing a role in an organization of high esteem, or a critical role on a project.
Both Neelima and Kiran utilized their qualifications and experience to play key roles in their respective organizations and affiliations. Neelima served as a Creative Director with an esteemed film director. As Creative Director, she utilized her understanding of the art form to really ensure that it was properly and authentically represented in the film to audiences in the U.S.
As Artistic Director of the Anila Sinha Foundation, Kiran’s efforts propelled the foundation to expand to other locations in the United States. Kiran’s students were successful in completing multiple years of training in Kathak dance and received post-baccalaureate degrees in Kathak. In addition, Kiran served twice as the Artistic Director and Organizer for the International Kathak Festival in Chicago.
Your Assignment – Think about how you have, over the years, played a role in helping others in this field excel. Its very common for leading dancers to have supported other organizations in a very meaningful manner, so take a look at this category. The more distinguished the organization, the better it is for your case. If you have not played a critical or leading role before, then let this be your mission and goal moving forward.
Our Success is Based on Your Success
If you have had a distinguished career in dance, even as an amateur, we can help you secure your own EB1 Green card. As outlined in the beginning, these cases are difficult to put together and win. However, success is definitely a team effort. The more evidence you can gather the better. Our team will guide and coach you on how to get the very best evidence. We have the legal expertise to craft your case into a work of art in and of itself, so that when US Immigration gets done reading your petition they will be inspired to approve your case and eager to attend a dance festival or concert to enjoy the experience themselves.
We hope you have enjoyed this article and we also hope that we’ve inspired you to consider your talent as a dancer/performer as a possible pathway to grabbing an EB1 green card.
We look forward to hearing from you and helping you very soon.
US Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram
Chris M. Ingram LL.M., ESQ – Immigration Attorney
Admitted in New York.
Practice Specializing in US Immigration Law
401 Wilshire Boulevard, 12th Floor,
Tel: 310 496 4292
Everyday the Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram provides a comprehensive range of US Immigration expertise. We also provide a free consultation for our prospective clients.
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Specializing in the E2 Visa, EB1 Green Card, L-1A Visa and O1 Visa and K1 Visa Marriage-Based Immigration. Attorney Chris M. Ingram is dedicated to providing the very best in US Immigration legal representation. Enjoy our website.
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