EB-1A For Financial Technology Innovator

EB-1A For Financial Technology Innovator

  • Applicant: Mr. Shen*
  • Nationality: China
  • Field: Finance and Technology
  • Degree: Master’s in Software Engineering & Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science
  • Challenges:
    • RFE challenging 7 areas of EB-1A petition
    • Client required help with his visa interview, considering his limited English skills.
    • Client was not the direct recipient of some of his awards
    • RFE argued his authorships were not scholarly

     

    BACKGROUND

    Sometimes, even very strong cases can be met with difficult challenges from USCIS. This is what happened to Mr. Shen, a renowned policymaker and innovator in the field of fintech (Financial Technology). He was applying to come to the United States as an EB-1A visa, an alien of extraordinary ability. Mr. Shen was initially referred to us by a previous client. For months, he had been searching for a firm that would give him a straight answer regarding his application and the odds of approval. He wanted a firm that would give their maximum effort. In order to ensure the highest possible likelihood of the case being approved, we submitted evidence and argumentation to prove that Mr. Shen satisfied 7 of the possible 10 criteria, even though the minimum requirement for qualification is 3. The RFE explicitly stated that the USCIS had already accepted one criterion. Our job was to prove just two more. However, we didn’t want to leave anything to chance. Specifically, the RFE challenged eight criteria:

    • The Beneficiary’s Entry Would Substantially Benefit Prospectively the United States
    • Receipt of Lesser Nationally or Internationally Recognized Prizes or Awards
    • Membership in Associations
    • Original Contributions of Major Significance to the Field
    • Authorship of Scholarly Articles in the Field
    • The Applicant Performed in a Leading or Critical Role for a Distinguished Organization
    • The Beneficiary Has Commanded a High Salary or Other Significantly High Remuneration in Comparison to Others in his Field

    Mr. Shen had an extraordinary level of expertise in banking and financial technology and sought to start a consulting firm in the United States that would help American Banks transfer from their outdated banking models, into digital banking models. He was one of the early pioneers in fintech, and developed his own banking tool; a one-of-a-kind, flexible banking tool that could be molded to help virtually any bank transition to a digital banking model. While in China, his work revolutionized the banking industry and benefited millions of Chinese citizens. The first privately owned digital bank in Shanghai was established in large part because of his efforts.

     

    KEYS TO SUCCESS

    Mr. Shen’s chances of success were met with a serious challenge when the case was issued a Request for Evidence (RFE). Indeed, the RFE challenged a total of eight points in Mr. Shen’s original filing. Specifically, the RFE challenged that the beneficiary’s entry would substantially benefit prospectively the United States, that he would continue to work in his claimed area of expertise, the receipt of nationally recognized prizes, documentation of membership in associations, evidence of original contribution, evidence of authorship of scholarly articles, evidence of a having a leading or critical role for distinguished organizations, and evidence of having commanded a high salary.

    1. The Beneficiary’s Entry would Substantially Benefit Prospectively the United States

    In order to alleviate USCIS’ concerns in this area, we helped Mr. Shen draft a letter of intent that laid out his intentions in the United States and why it would substantially benefit the US. The letter we helped draft demonstrated how his digital banking methods uniquely contributed to the success of banks he has worked at and that he can similarly bring that level of technology and success to banks in the U.S. We demonstrated that more than 40% of North American banks have dedicated more than 25% of their IT budget to developing Fintech products and services, and that the largest U.S. banks are seeing results of these investments in positive consumer satisfaction.

    In his updated letter of intent that we drafted, we further helped explain our client’s intended vision of owning a consulting firm in the United States, dedicated to helping commercial banks and other financial institutions transition from their outdated, traditional banking models, to a digitized internet-based model capable of serving the customers in the age of the internet. We also described his past work history, and that he had always worked in this field. Ultimately, in order to prove this criterion our team help draft a letter from the employer, drafted a statement from the beneficiary, and performed economic research on the US banking industry and history that demonstrated that he would benefit the US economy and industry. For example, we demonstrated that he had worked on research that was centrally related to the causes of the 2008 financial crisis.

    1. Receipt of Lesser Nationally or Internationally Recognized Prizes or Awards

    For this criterion, the RFE challenged the notion that Mr. Shen’s awards were nationally or internationally recognized for excellence in his field. The Service specifically cited one award given to Mr. Shen by the city of Shanghai, and asserted that, because it was a city award, it could not garner national or international acclaim. In our response, however, we provided documentary evidence that listed Shanghai as one of the world hubs, and as a result one of the most prominent cities, in the field of fintech. Therefore, an award from such an important city from the perspective of Mr. Shen’s field must sustain national and international acclaim worldwide.

    Moreover, in their RFE, the Service Center argued that some awards were given to the banks where Mr. Shen worked, and therefore, Mr. Shen was technically not the direct recipient of the award. In response, we submitted documentation from various instances where the awarding organizations listed Mr. Shen as the “most influential individual” in winning the award, along with documentation where the awarding organizations singled out Mr. Shen and thanked him for his work in the awarded project, as well as the positive influence his works had on the Chinese banking industry.

    1. Membership in Associations

    The RFE asserted that the record did not contain sufficient documentary evidence to establish that Mr. Shen became a member of the organizations listed as a result of his achievements. In our response, we asserted that the organizations did require high achievements from their members, and submitted the bylaws of each organization, outlining the process required to become a member. The bylaws of one organization, for example, clearly detailed that a potential member needed to be nominated by one of the founding members of the organization for their outstanding work in the field.

    1. Original Contributions of Major Significance to the Field

    In our response, we submitted letters of recommendation from various executives across the Chinese banking sector detailing how Mr. Shen’s architecture had revolutionized the banking industry in China. Specifically, Mr. Shen’s extremely flexible digital banking architecture could be molded and used by virtually any bank to transition from their outdated, non-digitized banking models into digital banking models. Switching to digital banking models benefits both the bank and the clients in that it allows the bank to easily reach a larger client base while also providing extensively more banking services online.

    1. Authorship of Scholarly Articles in the Field

    The Service Center acknowledged that Mr. Shen had authored several articles, however, the RFE challenged the fact that his works appeared to be meant for China’s general population, and therefore, not scholarly in nature. In general, a scholarly article is written for learned persons in a given field. In response to the RFE, we submitted an extensive list detailing various instances where Mr. Shen’s works had been cited by other professionals in the field. The list exemplified the fact that the overwhelming majority of entities that cited Mr. Shen’s works were either professional organizations or universities, therefore proving that his work was tailored for scholarly audiences. We explained what it is that he wrote about, about how the topics required a fine degree of education and that given the complexity of the topic, it could only be seen as scholarly.

    1. The Applicant Performed in a Leading or Critical Role for a Distinguished Organization

    In their RFE, the Service Center contended that the record did not contain enough evidence to establish that Mr. Shen had played a leading role within his organization. Furthermore, the RFE challenged the notion that Mr. Shen’s employers had a distinguished reputation. To demonstrate Mr. Shen’s role, we submitted documents from his employers depicting his appointment in various executive and leadership positions, as well as documents extensively and specifically listing the various duties each of Mr. Shen’s positions entailed. In regard to the reputation of his employers, we submitted evidence showing the banks were Mr. Shen was employed were some of the oldest and most prominent in China, as well as the most technologically adept, and therefore held a distinguished recognition in the Chinese banking sector.

    1. The Beneficiary Has Commanded a High Salary or Other Significantly High Remuneration in Comparison to Others in his Field

    In their RFE, the Service Center concluded that Mr. Shen’s salary was significantly higher than the Chinese average, however, this criterion requires his salary to be significantly higher, specifically to those in his own field. In response, we submitted statistics on the salaries of various executives across Mr. Shen’s field, as well as certified salary documentation from Mr. Shen’s employer showing exactly how much he earned.

     

    OUTCOME

    Mr. Shen self-petitioned under the EB-1 category and filed the application using premium processing. He was very helpful and provided all the documents we inquired for. We completed the first filing within a month, and responded to the Request for Evidence in under a month. Mr. Shen’s application received approval within 2 weeks of responding to the Request for Evidence. Following his approval, we provided one-on-one coaching to help prepare him for his consular interview. We wanted to make sure that our hard work together would amount to a successful transition to the United States and that meant assisting him with his limited English skills and passing the oral consular interview. He passed his interview, and he is now working in the US under and EB-1A visa.

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