EB-1 Case for Career Transition

Matter of K-S-Y: From Player to Coach

The AAO decided the Matter of K-S-Y in March of this year, finding in favor of the beneficiary judo coach. The judo coach was able to petition as an Alien of Extraordinary Ability (EB-1), based upon his expertise as a judo athlete. Alien of Extraordinary Ability is a pathway to Permanent Residence and does not tie the individual to a specific employer. The court decided that “area of expertise” may include the field in its entirety and not just one specific occupation within the general field.

The case specifically concerned a judo athlete making the transition from athlete to coach. Many coaches in sports begin as players and later make the transition when they retire as an athlete to a coaching position. The court recognized that athlete to coach is not the only career transition that may occur within an area of expertise, pointing to athlete to broadcaster and musician to instructor as other possibilities.

The EB-1 category is created for a petitioner to apply as an individual of “extraordinary ability.” This is a high standard to meet. The petitioner could not merely rely being an excellent judo athlete in his performance days. He had also taken many steps to establish himself as a coach. There are currently calls for USCIS to adopt this case as a precedential decision.

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