Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

EB1 Green Cards for Indian Dancers

By Chris M. Ingram, LL.M., ESQ

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The ancient Indian dance forms of Kuchipudi, Kathak, and Bharatanatyam (and many others) tell stories through dance movements. The dancers who specialize in this art are often trained from a very young age and become beloved superstars in both India and the United States, performing at events that often host viewers in the thousands. Though many women (and a few men!) learn these dance forms and pursue them as a hobby, there are a select few performing at an elite level, and  these individuals may be eligible for the EB1 Green Card as “Aliens of Extraordinary Ability”, and  many of them have no idea such an opportunity even exists.

The Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram takes pride in developing a deep understanding of the importance of these dances at a cultural level, as well as how many talented dancers and choreographers are creating fusions between the ancient and the modern, thus reaching broader audiences. 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.

How to Get Your EB1 Green Card Approved

Because we are specialists in this area we can constantly sending cases to US Immigration for adjudication. Whilst many of our case are approved without a hitch some, according to USCIS require more work. What USCIS is doing is telling is precisely what they need to keep saying yes! Therefore we want to share this insight with you so you know what you will need to prepare in order for USCIS to say yes on your case.

#1 Priority – Get Great Published Material About Yourself

Published Materials include being featured or written about in newspapers and magazines or media outlets such as online publications that have a substantial following. USCIS is really placing a lot of value on our clients who have substantial press and here is why. High profile magazines will only showcase the best of the best, so if you’re in one of those magazines USCIS will know its 100% down to your talent and merit and nothing else.

How Many Published Articles Do I Need?

You should aim to get at least three published articles in three different publications. You can have more than three articles but we’re looking for a magazine range of at least three leading publications.

How Do I know if the Magazine is a Major Publication?

USCIS will look at the hard copy circulation figures of your chosen publication and that of at least two comparable publications. We have had success with clients who were featured in the following publications:

What About Publications from Outside India?

We have clients who have performed all over the world and gotten great press, so yes press from other countries is acceptable providing the publication is a major press outlet. I guess what we are looking to avoid are publications in the tens of thousands, we really want the publications that have circulations in the hundreds of thousands.

Summary on Published Material for EB1 Green Card Cases

If you do not have the kind of published material we’re talking about here then start thinking about how you can put  a plan together to develop this caliber of published material. Even if it will take you months to accomplish it’s ok, the goal is to win your EB1 Green Card case first time and once we’ve won your green card will be for life, so why rush it.    USCIS is telling us very loud and clear that when they see high caliber published material as outlined above they are looking to say yes to this case.


Many Indian dancers of Kuchipudi, Kathak, and Bharatanatyam have won various awards. First off we need to be clear as to what we are talking specifically. Many dancers receive awards for having reached a certain level of expertise while other dancers receive awards for having won in a competition.

In this case, USCIS is more focussed on looking at awards that have been won in competition. Moreover, the competition must be national or international in nature. Regional competition level wins are less likely to be consider favorably.  With regards issued from Gurus for having reached a certain level of expertise, these are good to have but USCIS regards them in the similar vein to an academic qualification in that academic qualifications do not carry much weight when evaluating levels of extraordinary ability. What USCIS is looking for is high levels of visibility (press) and achievement (awards) because of those skills.

Why Are Awards So Important to an EB1 Green Card Case?

Awards are vital to any EB1 Green card case, especially an Indian Dancer case because its on objective way for a USCIS officer to evaluate your success in your field. Since the USCIS officer will typically have no expertise in Indian dance he / she can simply rely on the prestige of the award as unbiased evidence of your success, abilities and acclaim.

Guidance from USCIS RE EB1 Indian Dance Cases

As outlined in Part 1 of this special report. We are specialists in doing EB1 cases for Indian Dancers and so we have our finger right on the pulse as to what USCIS will approve and will not approve. Indeed USCIS’ position will move around so nothing is absolute hard and fast, so we have to interpret as best we can what the direction of travel is for getting cases approved. So the stronger cases will have great published material and an award or two.


Will Judging Competitions Help my EB1 Green Card Case?

Absolutely, if you can get to judge a major national competition then that would be fantastic. Almost anyone can get to judge a regional competition, so you must aim for judging a national competition where there will be other high profile celebrity judges working with you.

Often times USCIS officers will give you credit by association with your peers. So the more social events you’re able to get into the better for your profile as you want to convey that narrative of being an elite dancer.

Many Indian Dancers are really amateur professionals if you will, meaning they do it for the love of it not for any money. Moreover, would love to come to America to pursue sharing this art form to many millions of people who are culturally akin to Indian Dance and to those are are interested in learning about Indian Dance.

The point we’re trying to make here is that many Indian Dancers have ‘day jobs’ that pay the bills and that take up a lot of their time. What we’re saying is that even though that will often be the case, we want to encourage all of our Indian Dancers to nevertheless work on getting involved in high profile events where ever they can so they can get press and do high profile judging as that will definitely be a game changer when it comes to winning your case.

Showcases and Exhibitions EB1 Green Cards

Yes, every Indian Dancer we’ve worked with has had plenty of stage appearances and a variety of venues, often over many years.

The guidance we’re getting from USCIS here is that they are looking for solo performances, meaning yes, the show will have many performers per se but our client must be a lead in the show and thus have solo performances. So having a collection of images where is clear our client is taking the lead or starring role is very important to the strength of the case.

How Important if the venue of the Showcase?

The size, prestige, occasion of the event is crucial. What you want to do is consider the most impressive shows you have ever done and narrow them to your top three and then only submit those.

Also, if there were any special dignitaries in attendance this also helps to frame the event as being highly prestigious.

TV Appearances 

If you have done or can do any TV appearances then this activities will boost the success of your case significantly. Getting on TV is certainly not a requirement for success but USCIS officers really do add a lot of value and weight to clients who have appeared on TV.


The influx of Indians applying for EB1 Green cards has certainly captured the attention of USCIS and so its important that you follow and meet the above requirements. 

In this special report we’ve identified the categories that USCIS positively responsive to. What this means is that if your EB1 case consisted of Published Material About You, Awards and Judging then your case would be excellent shape, good to go. However, your case could still be very strong if you had Published Material About You or Awards. Perhaps Judging or Showcase / Exhibition.

Finally, if you’re ale to build out a case with four categories then of course your case will be stronger, but remember, if your case can include the Published Material About You category and or the Awards category, then again your case will be more likely to be approved.

We hope you have found this three part series helpful as we look forward to welcoming you on board as a valued client in the near future.

Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

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,
[Cross Streets 4th and Wilshire]
Santa Monica,
California 90401
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.

Please note that nothing contained in this website or link therefrom shall be regarded as providing legal advice. Please contact us directly for legal advice specific to your situation. Thank you.

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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