Seeking an Extraordinary Ability Visa? How Getting Published Helps

Gerri Knilans
5 min readMay 30


Marketers understand the benefits of publishing bylined articles in trade publications. But getting published in relevant journals is also critical for business professionals seeking employment visas to live and work in the United States. Immigration to America can be a long and complex process. As global interconnectivity grows, it becomes more competitive. According to Alcorn Immigration, the 2023 total annual limit for employment-based green cards is approximately 197,000. To make matters even more challenging, each category has a maximum acceptance rate based on the country of the applicant’s birth (not citizenship).

Among the more difficult work visas to obtain are employment-based visas including the EB-1A visa and O-1 visa. An EB-1A visa grants permanent residence while the O-1 visa is temporary and typically lasts one to three years. Known as an Extraordinary Ability Visa, The USCIS reserves these visas for those who have proven extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.

Applicants must convince officials that they will continue to work in their field. They also must demonstrate that their work will substantially benefit the United States. Further, they must show that they possess “achievements that have been recognized in their field of expertise.” Establishing the applicant’s expertise is a key ingredient when applying for an Extraordinary Ability Visa. One powerful way to do that includes publishing articles in relevant magazines.

Key Considerations When Publishing for an Extraordinary Ability Visa

Unless globally renowned with awards such as the Nobel Peace Prize, Pulitzer, or an Olympic medal, most extraordinary ability visa applicants need to prove their expertise and reputation through other methods. This can range from invited membership in relevant societies and associations, receiving awards or prizes for excellence in the field, or having a high salary from a distinguished employer.

One of the best and most achievable ways to establish extraordinary ability is through published articles by or about applicants and their contributions in their fields. While this may sound like a simple undertaking, there’s more to it than one might think. Here are four tips for visa-seeking individuals who’d like to have an article published.

1. Target the appropriate publications.

Pitching ideas to editors takes a committed effort that starts by understanding the publication, readers’ interests, and submission requirements. Without thoroughly knowing the media outlet, it’s impossible to develop an article that will address the magazine’s goals. It also means knowing whether the publication accepts submissions from outside contributors. While major magazines like Forbes or The New Yorker might be the first that come to mind, the likelihood of getting published in these outlets is low. Internal journalists write most of their content. In fact, according to Duotrope, The New Yorker magazine accepted only 0.14 percent of 1,447 unsolicited submissions received in 2021. On the other hand, trade magazines and industry journals can be a powerful way to connect with publications’ audiences, but knowing how to identify and approach editors is a critical first step.

2. Seek media outlets with an established reputation and credibility.

For immigration purposes, it isn’t enough to simply post blogs to your own website, social media, or an open-source platform like Medium. “These websites lack any kind of independent scrutiny to enable an EB1 green card adjudicator to objectively determine the credibility of the article,” writes immigration attorney and expert Chris Ingram. For articles to be effective, it is essential for a reputable source such as trade publications, popular magazines, or scholarly journals to publish them. The process of editorial review for these types of publications ensures other experts in the field are vetting the subject matter and writing style.

3. Commit to quality.

When it comes to developing a high-quality article, it is important to share valuable insights that are relevant to the audience. This includes accurate and well-informed content that is articulated in a way that keeps readers interested. While the temptation may be to share first-person experiences, readers are looking for actionable information that solves their day-to-day challenges. Additionally, applicants should write articles in a journalistic style that is newsworthy, engaging, free of grammatical errors, and in alignment with the outlet’s style.

4. One is rarely enough.

When establishing extraordinary ability, the frequency of publishing high-quality content is also important. While every applicant’s case is different, officials usually require several articles or other types of submissions to demonstrate extraordinary ability. To accomplish a balance of quality and quantity when it comes to published materials, variety can help. Types of media can include bylined articles, press releases, contributed blogs, exhibitions, showcases, interviews, webinars, speaking engagements, or relevant video content. According to the Law Offices of Chris Ingram, “The U.S. Citizens Immigration Services places a great deal of emphasis on the amount of press publicity an alien is able to garner.” As such, it’s important to commit to ongoing visibility and reputation management.

Extraordinary Ability Backed by Fellow Experts is a Win-Win

Just as is the case with most businesses, publication of articles and other written media is a vital asset for individuals who are seeking O-1 and EB-1 visas. That’s because it establishes that other experts back their work. Published media serves as a tangible representation of their expertise, recognition, and impact. Bylined articles and other forms of content provide compelling evidence of an individual’s extraordinary abilities, distinguish them from their peers, and bolster their case for visa approval. Moreover, a published article in various outlets contributes to a professional’s visibility, credibility, and reputation. It shows a commitment to thought leadership and industry collaboration, ultimately benefiting both the individual and their field. Aspiring visa applicants who prioritize publishing their work maximize their chances of success in securing O-1 and EB-1 visas while growing as professionals.

Originally published at on May 30, 2023.



Gerri Knilans

Marketing communications strategist. The right message. The right medium. Guaranteed.