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EB1 Law Review AAO – December 23 2011 – Invited Membership vs. Memberships

EB1 Law Review by Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram 

Invited Membership vs. Memberships 

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AAO Decision December, 23 2011 – Invited Membership vs. Memberships, et .al (p8-9)


Source Case

Invited Membership vs. Memberships – (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;


December 23 2011 – Invited Membership vs. Memberships, et .al (p 8 – 9)


The Petitioner at the time of filing was employed as an "Information Systems Analyst 2",  submitted evidence regarding her membership in an association.

While the AAO discussed its reasons why this association did not meet the criteria, it went on to discuss when regulations are worded in the plural. This discussion was also referenced in the discussion regarding the leading and critical role category.

AAO Discussion:

1: In regard to the Membership category, the plain language requires “membership in associations” in the plural. This use of plural is consistent with the requirements for extensive evidence.

2: Not all of the criteria are worded in the plural, and Judging (iv) and High Salary (ix) only require service in a single instance.

3: When a regulatory criterion wishes to include the singular within the plural, as it does so in Memberships (ii), the AAO can infer that the plural in the criteria has meaning.

4: Federal Courts have upheld USCIS’ ability to interpret significance from whether the singular or plural is used in regulations (Maramjaya v. USCIS, Civ. Act. No 06-2158; Inc v. Chertoff, 2006 WL 3491005)


USCIS is given the authority by the Federal Courts to interpret the significance of whether a singular or plural is used in regulations. Though certain regulations do not require multiple instances to satisfy the category, if the plural is mixed with the singular, AAO will give meaning to the plural in the criteria.

*Cases Cited

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


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