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EB1 Law Review AAO – December 23 2011 – Evaluation of Significance of the Membership

EB1 Law Review by Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram 

Evaluation of the Significance of the Membership

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AAO Decision December, 23 2011 – Invited Membership: Evaluation of the Significance of the Membership, et .al (p5-9)


Source Case

Membership: Evaluation of the Significance of the Membership – 
(December, 23 2011 p8-9)

Evidence of Eligibility: 8 C.F.R. 204.5(h) (3)

(ii) Documentation of the alien’s membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought, which require outstanding achievements of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts in their disciplines or fields;



In this case the Petitioner was a General Member of an honor society in her field. Though local officials judged the Petitioner, the AAO pointed out that the association requirements had a higher level than that of the Petitioner (General Member), that being of an Honorary Membership – which did require additional approval of the association’s executive council – thus being significantly more prestigious than that of a the lower General membership class. Therefore, the AAO determined that she had not demonstrated that her level of membership required outstanding achievements.

In this case the AAO breaks down the elements that need to be satisfied in order to satisfy this category.

1: The Petitioner must demonstrate the association requires outstanding achievement as an essential condition for admission to membership.

2: More important than the membership’s overall reputation is the membership requirements.

3: Noteworthy contributions do not necessarily translate to outstanding achievement.

4: The Petitioner must be judged by recognized national or international experts in her field. In this instance, the Petitioner was judged by local officials, which the AAO deemed insufficient evidence.

5: Academic performance, measured by such criteria as grade point average, is not a specific prior achievement that establishes the alien’s ability to benefit the national interest.

6: That the plain language of the regulation requires membership associations in the plural.


AAO Decision

The AAO noted that even if the Petitioner had demonstrated that the membership required outstanding achievements, the plain language of the criterion requires membership in associations in the plural.

*Cases Cited

Maramjaya v. USCIS, Civ. Act. No 06-2158 Inc v. Chertoff, 2006 WL 3491005



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