Mr. Skokos is, by all accounts, an accomplished security consultant. But the Department of Homeland Security doubts he is at the very pinnacle of his profession, so accomplished the world over that Mr. Skokos, a Canadian citizen who lives in Las Vegas, merits a special visa to live permanently in the United States. Nobody disputes that Nikolaos Skokos is adept at what he does, which is keeping unruly crowds away from Celine Dion, the super star singer.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which normally sits in San Francisco but held a special session in Phoenix. After hearing arguments in the Skokos case, a three-judge panel took the issue under advisement.
There are numerous ways foreigners can petition to live in the United States, including random visa lotteries and asylum applications citing a risk of grave harm back home. Mr. Skokos is seeking to stay through a relatively small program that allows “aliens of extraordinary ability” — whether they are scientists, artists, athletes or even security consultants — to become permanent residents.
The EB1-EA green card is for aliens of extraordinary ability engaged in the arts, sciences, business, education or athletics. No job offer or labor certification is required. An EB1-EA petition may be filed simultaneously with another green card application. One petition may be approved faster than the other and can offer additional protection if one petition should be denied while another is approved.
In order to qualify for the EB1-EA, the applicant must have won a Nobel Prize OR show documentation in three of the following areas:
* Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence;
* Membership in associations in the field that demand outstanding achievement of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts;
* Published material about the alien in professional or major trade publications;
* Evidence that the alien is a judge of the work of others in the field;
* Evidence of the alien’s original contributions of major significance to the field;
* Authorship of scholarly articles;
* Display of the alien’s work at artistic exhibitions or showcases;
* Evidence the alien has performed in a leading or critical role for organizations that have a distinguished reputation;
* Evidence that the alien commands a high salary in relation to others in the field; or
* Evidence of commercial success in the performing arts.
For whom is an EB1-EA Green Card appropriate?
Foreign nationals who have received national or international acclaim for outstanding achievements in Arts, Sciences, Education, Business or Athletics and their immediate family members.
What are the requirements for obtaining an EB1-EA Green Card?
Extraordinary ability means a level of expertise indicating that the individual is one of that small percentage who has risen to the top of his or her field of endeavor. To be considered as an alien with extraordinary ability, the alien must have sustained national or international acclaim in the field of science, art, education, business or athletics, which must be recognized in the form of extensive documentation. The alien must be seeking to enter the United States to continue work in the field, and the entry of such alien must substantially benefit prospectively the United States.
Although no offer of employment (including labor certification)Â is required, for aliens with extraordinary ability the alien must include with the petition convincing evidence that he or she is coming to continue work in the area of expertise.
Mr. Skokos said he was a security consultant to the stars, a top-notch professional trusted to keep V.I.P.s like Ms. Dion out of harm’s way. “The quality of Skokos’ service and expertise in the field of celebrity security is so superior that it constitutes an original contribution of major significance in the field,” his lawyers argued in court filings that likened him to a famous athlete who breaks records.
I think is a tough one to decide. This is very unusual for an EB1 case, but with the sufficient evidence to meet that standard he may well be able to win this on Appeal. It seems that his lawyer is focusin on the background of the client as opposed to Mr. Soko’s and that could be a problem. We had several unusual EB1 cases that were approved, but of course every case is different and every case is reviewed by a different officer. Good Luck!!