USCIS denied the petition of a renowned Korean Judo athlete seeking a “green card” as a result of his extraordinary abilities to coach other athletes. However, the court overturned the USCIS’ decision. The court decided that in certain cases the athlete’s area of expertise could properly encompass both athletic competition and coaching other athletes.
The court found that coaching is within an athlete’s area of expertise if the individual’s national or international athletic acclaim was recent and he or she sustained that acclaim upon transition to coaching at a national level. The totality of the evidence, in this case, showed that the athlete had recent athletic acclaim and progression of education, experience and licensing that positioned the athlete to continue in his area of expertise as a judo coach.
This is a very important decision for highly accomplished athletes seeking to obtain a “green card” under the EB-1A extraordinary worker petition. To read the decision, go to Matter of K-S-Y-, ID# 14269 (AAO Mar. 9, 2016).