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Business case: Business coach from Belarus received an EB-1A visa

— Mikhail, thank you for agreeing to answer a few questions. Could you briefly describe your field of professional activity and in which direction you submitted the petition?

— Yes, of course. I am an entrepreneur and a business coach. I am mainly engaged in HR and personnel development. I have owned a successful business in the field of business education for more than 20 years.

— Tell us a little about how you learned about this immigration program and why you decided to follow this particular path?

— It was all trivial and simple. I have been thinking about immigration for many years. I was looking for ways to move to Europe or the USA. I also considered investment opportunities and even studied at a university. But the events of the fall of 2020 in Belarus and your Facebook ads came together in one moment, and I started reading and trying the terms of the EB-1A program on myself. At first, it seemed like it wasn't my story at all, but the more information I got, the clearer and clearer the picture emerged. Then I called you, we talked for probably two hours, went over my situation in detail, and ended up with a clear plan to immigrate to the U.S.

—Yes, I remember that call very well. Tell us a little about this plan. What did you include in it?

— At the very beginning, I had only speeches at major events, where I reported on my methods of personnel assessment and development, and several magazine articles, mostly describing not even my professional qualities, but the results of my firm's successful work with different companies. Some of them didn't even mention my name, but only the name of my company. I had also written a book on my area of expertise, which was republished several times, but it was not enough to close the criterion for scientific publications.
In the process of studying the materials, it became clear that the body of evidence was insufficient, and more was needed.
I turned my work in every possible direction, hoping that something would have a chance. First, I found scholarly journals and several co-authors at the university where I graduated. Together we wrote four, in my opinion, quite strong scientific articles on my methods. We published them both in Belarusian journals and in an international one, but in the end, we did not manage to meet the deadlines. Secondly, participation in competitions. Here I immediately made a mistake, despite your warnings. I applied for a business competition, even though I had decided on my immigration petition to go by education, as a business coach. It was the word "business" that confused me. I lost a lot of time because of it, I got the long-awaited award as Entrepreneur of the Year, but it was ultimately rejected. Third, I tried to offer myself as a reviewer of scientific articles in the same journals where the articles were written. That's where I was refused. Fourth, on your advice, I began to work on strengthening the criterion of publications in the broad media.

— This question, by the way, worries a lot of people. How did you communicate with journalists?

— I worked my way through my entire contact list and identified about a dozen strong journalists from my entourage. I offered to have lunch with each of them. At lunch, I stated my needs, and together we found ways and topics to publish. I ended up with about five published interviews in major newspapers and magazines, for which I did not pay a ruble. All of the interviews were about me and described my professional merits exactly as I needed them for my petition.
In addition, I tried to collect documentation for the criterion of a high salary, but since I was the owner and paid my own salary, I decided in the end not to declare this criterion. Well, also I had no problem with the critical role. My company occupies a leading position in the market of consulting services in Belarus, and I am its frontman, as in a rock band.

— I also remember you were considering joining an association.

— Yes, there was such an idea, but after reviewing the conditions of membership of most Belarusian associations in business and education, none of them suited the main criterion - selection on a professional basis. Everywhere else it was simple - pay the money and come in.

— So your case was based on 4 criteria: media publications, scientific publications, contribution to the industry, and critical position held?

— No, five. There was also a very authoritative prize in the area of entrepreneurship. But subsequently, it was not accepted. But later it was not accepted.

— How did you find out about this?

— I sent my case in April for premium processing. After 10 days, I received a request from USCIS, from which it followed that three out of five were not accepted. Only the leading role and scientific articles were counted. At that moment, my hands dropped. I was confident in my case and did not even admit the thought that I could get a refusal. And here it is.
But it was not a time to relax, and everything that was going on in Belarus that winter really stimulated me to get busy answering that request.

"You don't need to be a superstar here. It is enough to be a professional in your field and do it well."

— What exactly didn't suit USCIS in your petition?

— It's very simple. As for the media, it was necessary to prove that all my interviews were not paid for and were published in widely distributed publications. We easily closed this point with references from the editorial office, where they provided the necessary information in detail. The contribution to the industry was the most incomprehensible. It was necessary not only to show the importance of my work for the industry as a whole but also to describe what exactly my contribution was. First, I added a few more letters of recommendation, where this information was outlined. Secondly, we took a letter from the publishing house where my book was published with information about circulation and geographical distribution. The fact that book has survived four editions and has had a significant impact on the field of HR, not only in the former Soviet Union but also in foreign countries. I took a certificate on the number of citations of the book, and I think that together it well confirmed not only the criterion of scientific publication but also my contribution to the industry.

But there was a problem with winning the competition. The competition theme did not fall under the concept of "education" at all, and I could not confirm it with documentation.
In the end, as you said, I only had four criteria, but they were well-proven.
At the end of April, I sent my response to the RFE to the US, and in mid-May, just a couple of weeks later, I was approved.

— Once again I congratulate you on this important step. It's really worth a lot. Well, the last, traditional question. If you could go back to October 2020, what advice would you give yourself before starting work on your petition?

— The only advice is not to be afraid to act. Well, in general, in immigration, as in business, you need to set yourself a goal and go rhythmically, day after day, to achieve it. Nothing complicated. You don't need to be a superstar here. It is enough to be a professional in your field and do it well.

— Thank you, Mikhail, for such a wonderful review of our work. This is important not only for the participants of the program but also for ourselves. Your example motivates everyone to get up every day and go to work. Thank you for the interview, good luck with the move, and goodbye!

— Goodbye!

Immigration program: EB-1A (extraordinary ability green card)
Specialization: Education - business coach.
5 criteria: Awards, Media, Scientific articles, Contribution to the industry, Critical role in the company + job offer in the USA = 572 pages.
Premium Processing submission to the Texas Center.
Start of work on the case: October 2020
Sending a petition to USCIS: April 09, 2021
RFE: April 19, 2021
Response to RFE: April 30, 2021
USCS Petition Approval: May 16, 2021
The case is registered in NVC: June 2021
Signing of the DS-260 Form: January 2022
IOM Medical Commission: April 2022
Interview at the Embassy (Warsaw): April 2022
Visa issued: May 2022
Entry to the USA: May 2022
Green card delivered by USPS: June 2022
TOTAL: 50 weeks