Judge Paul Engelmayer

Citizenship and Immigration Services approved Iranian table tennis player Noroozi’s petition for an “extraordinary ability” visa in 2009. While his case was pending, the Ninth Circuit in Kazarian v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services held CIS’s extraordinary ability visa processing flawed. After implementing a two-step Kazarian approach, CIS revoked Noroozi’s visa for meeting only one criterion in 8 CFR §204.5(h)(3). It denied his 2011 second visa petition. Using the Kazarian framework, it found he met only two criteria and failed its final merits determination. Distinguishing Glara Fashion v. Holder, district court granted the government judgment in Noroozi’s action challenging the denial. CIS’s finding that Noroozi did not meet §204.5(h)(3)’s “critical role” and “published material” criteria were based on substantial evidence and within CIS’s discretion. Nor did CIS abuse its discretion in concluding that, despite his ranking and his placement in the 2008 Olympic table tennis competition, Noroozi’s table tennis proficiency fell short of making him “one of that small percentage who have risen to the very top of the field of endeavor” as required by §204.5(h)(2).