EB-1A Approved Despite Accomplishments Being in the Past

EB-1A Approved Despite Accomplishments Being in the Past

  • Applicant: Mr. Chopra
  • Nationality: India
  • Applying for: Extraordinary Ability
  • Case Type: EB-1A
  • Time: 6 months
  • Challenges:
    • Mr. Chopra had not competed in open water swimming for nearly a decade at the time of his application.
    • The type of application Mr. Chopra chose to submit would determine his career going forward.
    • It was initially unclear how to demonstrate that Mr. Chopra’s record-breaking swims in India would benefit the United States, as required by the application.



    Our client, Mr. Chopra, was an Indian open water swimmer who broke several world records while he was only a teenager. He was featured in the Guinness Book of World records several times. Newspaper, magazine and online articles were written about his accomplishments. He had several corporate sponsorships and was even featured in textbooks about swimming. He went on to attend top universities, including a top 10 school in the United States. If Mr. Chopra had wanted to apply for an EB-1A during this time, he would have a good chance of getting approved because the EB-1A green card application is meant for high performing individuals. Mr. Chopra decided to apply for the green card but the only problem was, he was applying for it 10 years after all of his accomplishments.

    When Mr. Chopra met with us he had just finished a master’s program. At the time of his green card application, his swimming accomplishments were ten years in the past. He was still a young man– in his twenties– but had left the world of competitive swimming behind. He had continued to swim but hadn’t broken any records in a decade. This presented a problem because the requirements for the EB-1A are that the applicants continue to be extraordinary, and provide proof of both of their continued excellence and the ongoing benefit of their talents to the United States.

    Mr. Chopra came to us for a consultation. We rarely do consultation-only cases. In this type of case, there is no guarantee that the client can execute properly. We like to control the execution to ensure that it is performed at the highest level. In this case, the client was extremely sophisticated. Mr. Chopra had ties to the Indian business community in Artesia, who had referred him to us after some work we had done for another local corporate client. He came to the meeting accompanied by his coaches and several representatives of the business community – a group of smart, capable people who were invested in his success. They were detail-oriented; they knew what they wanted and were more than capable of efficient execution. They were respectful of the boundaries of the consultation and of our time. All they needed was a little guidance. Mr. Chopra and his team had met with other attorneys but were unsatisfied with the solutions they presented. They were either told that there was no way forward or were presented with a minimal checklist of documents to submit. None of them had presented Mr. Chopra’s team with a viable strategy, which was what we offered.



    We perform this service for lots of organizations that have their attorneys, and just need advice on strategies, such as celebrities, athletes and executives. Under EB-1A, applicants are automatically granted a green card if they can prove that they have an extraordinary ability, and their ability will benefit the United States. We spent the first two hours reviewing possible options, resources, strategies, and key questions with Mr. Chopra. Should he apply using the EB-1A route, or was there another visa category that would be a better option? Should he go into business? Should we emphasize coaching?

    After weighing a multitude of options, we developed a plan. We argued that Mr. Chopra was not only an extraordinary swimmer but an extraordinary coach as well. The benefit he brought lies not only in his swimming ability but also in his mentoring of other athletes. We advised him to draw comparisons to John Wooden, a legendary basketball coach. We advised him to read all of Wooden’s books, to better reference their similarities in his application. We not only emphasized the theme of mentorship, but also how much greater he will become as he matures, and the value he will bring to U.S. athletic culture over time. Mr. Chopra went off to execute the application process on his own. At the second meeting, we reviewed the documents he planned to submit and gave him feedback on what he had come up with.



    With our help and a total of six hours of consultation, Mr. Chopra was able to secure a green card within six months. He could not be happier to start coaching for a sport he is passionate about, and could not thank Tsang & Associates enough for the help they gave him.

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