Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

EB1 Case Manager Training – Understanding PM-602-0005.1 – Innovation – Original Contribution of Major Significance

Innovation / Original Significant Contribution

Innovation spans across a number of categories, but in each case, we must be able to show industry-wide impact.

This is one of the more difficult categories of the EB1 and it can spread across various industries. The evidence will take so many different shapes that it would be impossible to list them all here, but the Intake Specialists will work with the client to determine if they satisfy this category and what evidence may be available. When it comes to you as the Case Manager, you will need to do some deep research to determine if we can, in fact, prove every element of this category.

This category can cover significant contributions in a number of fields including: business, science, arts, technology, etc.


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The scientific and technology contributions tend to be more straightforward and can be considered true ‘innovations’ as we may have patents that led to great technologies or the development of groundbreaking changes in the industry.

Let’s take a look at the requirements outlined by USCIS.

(1) Evidence that the alien has made original contributions in the field

(a) Information about the contribution to the field

(b) Press about the alien’s contribution to the field

(c) Evidence of crediting the alien with the significant contribution (may include patents, copyrighted material or letter’s establishing the alien’s ownership of the contribution)

(2) Evidence that the alien’s original contributions are of major significance to the field

(a) Press about the realized benefits of the alien’s contribution

(b) Letters from top officials of national organizations or agencies attesting to the significance of the contribution

(c) Evidence of implementation and widespread use of any innovation(s)

How is Innovation shown?

We worked with a client who worked on voice-to-text technology, and his name was on several patents. It is important to know that the patent isn’t enough, but because this text was being used in leading mobile devices, we were able to show that there was an impact on the industry.

Another client did not specifically have patented technology, but he was responsible for developing a new, highly accurate alcohol interlock device that was the winner of several innovation awards and being used around the world.

The first step to innovation is showing that the contribution is original to our client.

These are both scientific or technology-related, however, we see innovations and significant contributions on the business side, as well. For example, we worked with a client who was a trader on the foreign exchange market. She worked for Barclays, and in doing so she developed a new way for clients to track the foreign exchange market, and this was in use by Barclays. Now, in this case, the innovation was considered the property of Barclays, and thus only in use by the institute, but because Barclays is one of the largest banking institutions in the world, the contribution was certainly significant to the industry.

We have provided the above examples to show you how varied this category can truly be, so consider the evidence carefully. Carefully consider each section and ask yourself ‘What could we provide to satisfy this section?’ By asking yourself this, you will be better able to tell the client what you need to make sure we have the right evidence for this criterion. Below is an in-depth discussion of how to do just that.

(1) Evidence that the alien has made original contributions in the field

This first section is focused on the contribution itself and showing the contribution is original to the client; meaning, we need to outline that our client was responsible for developing the original technology, contribution, innovation, etc.

(a) Information about the contribution to the field

This is evidence about the contribution itself. What is it? Is it a new technology; a new app; a new business approach? There should be information about the contribution and what it does. Some of the evidence here may include press about the innovation; awards the innovation has won; general product details (if applicable) or any other evidence that gives us a clear example of what exactly the innovation is. Think of this as the section where you can provide background about this technology and why it is important.

(b) Press about the alien’s contribution to the field

You will find that most of the categories will ask about press of some kind, but we won’t always be able to provide. Wherever possible, find the press because this is evidence that USCIS cannot easily argue against – it’s completely objective.

In this section, we are focused on tying the contribution to the client, so this would include any press that attaches the contribution to the client. It may be press about the client and their contributions or it could be that the client has written articles about their contributions – either would work.

As with other sections think about what would work – perhaps there isn’t much press, but maybe the client won some awards for the work. This is equally as convincing as press and will show that there is recognition of the client and their contribution.

(c) Evidence of crediting the alien with the significant contribution (may include patents, copyrighted material or letter’s establishing the alien’s ownership of the contribution)

This section will specifically credit our client with the contribution. Ideally, this will be objective evidence such as a patent, press, an award, etc. This is the best evidence, but it does not always exist. In many cases, our clients will have developed specific technology for their company or current employer, and thus that organization will actually own the technology. In these situations, we can get a letter that establishes that our client is the ‘brains’ behind the invention or contribution. Whilst this evidence is sufficient, it does need to be supported by as much other documentation as possible. That other evidence could include work product, internal recognition, bonuses, etc.

This is one of the key sections of this category, and if you cannot directly connect the client to the contribution or innovation, the category will not be accepted.

(2) Evidence that the alien’s original contributions are of major significance to the field

Now that we have established that our client is responsible for the innovation or contribution we must go on to show how that contribution has had a significant impact in the field of endeavor. Having a great patent is only the first step; if that technology or innovation has not been realized and recognized in the industry, the category will not work.

(a) Press about the realized benefits of the alien’s contribution

Innovation is a great category for many clients, provided you have the right evidence.

This press section is a bit different from the section in Part 1 because in this section you are focusing on the contribution itself. This press may not specifically mention the client, but that is ok – it can be focused on the contribution and / or innovation. As long as we have properly attributed the contribution to our client, the press can be focused more on the contribution itself.

Again, this press may include scholarly articles, industry press, awards or other evidence establishing that the contribution is making an impact on the field.


(b) Letters from top officials of national organizations or agencies attesting to the significance of the contribution

There are some contributions that are part of such a small industry or market that the press is limited. In these cases, we can use letters from top officials or recognized industry experts to discuss the significance of the contribution. Please do not rely heavily on this section to make your case for the category.

USCIS has quite a bit of discretion in determining how much weight letters are provided because it is very subjective evidence. Letters should be used as supporting evidence wherever possible, and the claims made in the letters should be backed up by hard evidence.

You will see that many clients want to rely on letters to establish that they have made a significant contribution, but this category can never be satisfied based on letters alone.

If you are getting letters, they need to be from individuals who have a documented reputation in the field. Immigration will always be skeptical about the veracity of letters from experts, so the make sure the letter writer has a profile we can document to ensure that the letter carries as much weight as possible. Letters also need to be as specific as possible and provide details rather than general statements. More often that not, USCIS will question letters that make general statements. By providing details, we can give more weight to the letters.

(c) Evidence of implementation and widespread use of any innovation(s)

By the time you get to this section, hopefully you have a significant amount of evidence to show that the innovation or contribution is currently making a impact, however, this is your chance to again provide evidence to show that the innovation is currently in use. For example, with our Foreign Exchange trader, we were able to use Barclays materials to show that our client’s contribution was still in use and that other banks had developed similar technology.

We had a client who developed the precursor of You Tube, and though his technology is technically no longer in use, it set the stage for the newer technologies to flourish. We were able to show that satisfy the category as a result. As with the other section, press and awards are going to be the most objective pieces of evidence, but company materials and letters can be used here, as well.

Video Training

Sample 1

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It is especially important with this category to be creative and open-minded about what the evidence should look like. Rather than looking at the specific examples, and ask yourself what might be able to show was we are trying to prove. No innovation or contribution will be the same, nor will they always be tangibles. Work with your team members to make sure that you, your Intake Specialist and your EB1 Argument Writer are all on the same page with the evidence and how it can be provided.

Practical Exercise – Print 3 Sample Arguments

As you print these, you should keep them on hand as a reference. Not only will you see the evidence that is provided, but you will see what your argument writer will be putting together on behalf of the client.

Print the following case(s):

Sridhar Pilli

Helen Woodall

David Bruton

You will need to study each argument and the evidence presented. These cases were selected deliberately to give you a cross section of the types of clients we work with, as well as the various ways we can present evidence to satisfy a category. Obviously an oil and gas engineer will vary significantly from a creative director, and it is important that you are able to develop evidence to ensure all types of cases are successful.

Next, we will go through the Scholarly Articles category.