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Importance of an EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) Recommendation/Reference Letter

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Importance of an EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) Recommendation/Reference Letter

The USCIS and AAO have kept pointing out that the standard of NIW (National Interest Waiver), unlike EB1-A, is a flexible one. That is, for a researcher applicant there is no requirement of minimum number of papers and citations. Based on our experience and AAO decisions, while frequent citation can certainly bolster a researcher's claim to have influenced the field, the lack of frequent citation is not a bar to eligibility where other objective evidence of the petitioner's influence exists. Similarly, merely being cited substantially does not by itself establish the petitioner's eligibility to EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) as a researcher. Original and significant contribution to the applicant's field is an essential consideration for the USCIS to decide on an NIW (National Interest Waiver) case and we found that establishing the client's contribution relies heavily on strong recommendation letters

In addition, if you have a narrow expertise or unique skill sets, you need experts in your field to discuss and explain your achievements to the immigration officers so that your case will not be denied because of low citation counts or lack of objective documentary supporting evidence.

How to Choose Good Candidates to NIW (National Interest Waiver) Reference Letters

Application for NIW (National Interest Waiver) is a long journey. During the process of helping clients of us walk through the complicated procedure, the first and one of the most important questions we encounter is "how should I choose the best reference for my recommendation letters/reference letters?"

At North America Immigration Law Group, after clients retain us for their NIW (National Interest Waiver) petitions, the first thing we do is to have a detailed discussion about the clients' case with them, suggesting the number of reference (recommendation) letters they need, and discussing the list of people who can be their references. It can take some time to go through the list but it ensures that we have a list of strong recommenders for our clients' NIW cases

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Misunderstanding about NIW (National Interest Waiver) Recommendation letters/reference letters

Many people confuse NIW (National Interest Waiver) recommendation letters/reference letters for I-140 petition with those for advance education or employment. Usually, a recommendation letter for PhD program or employment is a detailed discussion, of the personal qualities, accomplishments, and experiences that make the applicant unique and perfect for the programs or jobs to which they have applied. However, NIW (National Interest Waiver) recommendation letters for I-140 petition focus on the foreign national's influence and contribution to the field of the endeavor.

In fact, we suggest clients to obtain letters from experts with whom they have never worked, collaborated or been personally or professionally affiliated; that is, people "outside their inner circle." The inner circle includes those you have directly worked with either in academia or in business. Lawyers in our firm always remind our clients that while these inner-circle letters are often the most glowing but they are also the most suspect since they are possibly biased. The USCIS immigration officers expect a foreign national to be able to identify the outer circle of people who recognize the achievements of the applicant. This includes people/organizations that are familiar with the applicant's work or reputation but may have not met the applicant in person.

Independent Reference/Recommendation Letters are Preferred by the USCIS Immigration Officer but "Inner Circle" Bias can be Overcome by other Documentation in NIW (National Interest Waiver) petition

Some of our NIW (National Interest Waiver) clients asked what they should do if they fail to produce letters from members of the field who do not know them. In this case, other methods of demonstrating national recognition are possible. What documentation can be used to serve this purpose can be referred back to the EB-1 "extraordinary ability" standards. Petitioners should submit articles they have published in noteworthy trade publications. The AAO has also been persuaded by NIW (National Interest Waiver) petitioners who show that their work has been cited nationally/internationally. Finally, the fact that all the referees in a given petition are personally acquainted with the petitioner can be overcome by the notability of the referees. In one NIW (National Interest Waiver) case, the AAO ignored the acquaintance of the referees with the petitioner since all the referees were researchers at Johns Hopkins, one of the world's leading medical research institutions.

For clients who are not able to solicit independent recommendation letters for their NIW (National Interest Waiver) petition, we suggest our clients to obtain favorable manuscripts from the peer review process. Most scholarly journals put all articles through a peer review process before publication. Many of these journals maintain manuscripts from the peer review process. Peer review manuscripts represent the opinions of unbiased, anonymous observers of the author's research. If they comment favorably on the author's work, they are convincing evidence of the petitioner's accomplishments. In many of our recent cases, the immigration officer was persuaded by peer review manuscripts in our clients' NIW case.

What Should be Avoided Regarding your Recommendation/Reference Letters

In North America Immigration Law Group/Chen Immigration Law Associates, we draft all recommendation/reference letters for clients so our clients never need to worry about providing the drafts themselves. The following are our suggestions to people who are not using our service for their NIW (National Interest Waiver) petition.

1. Avoid Substantially Similar NIW (National Interest Waiver) Reference Letters:

Although it is almost a universal practice that NIW (National Interest Waiver) reference letters are drafted by the petitioners themselves or their lawyers for the recommenders to review and sign, the USCIS adjudicators expect the contrary. This creates a huge problem for your NIW (National Interest Waiver) petition if the recommendation/reference letters you submitted to the USCIS are substantially similar. Some AAO cases on NIW (National Interest Waiver) petitions suggest that these letters are regarded suspicious and the merits of the letters are significantly discounted.

Therefore, try your best to make letters look different, by making basic variances such as different fonts, formats or using more advanced techniques such as different writing styles, sentence structures, tones and approaches of advocacy. And it is suggested to have someone do the proof reading for you. The worst scenario is having the same grammatical error in all the recommendation/reference letters.

2. Avoid Many Average, Plain NIW (National Interest Waiver) Recommendation/Reference Letters

Remember, NIW (National Interest Waiver) petition is not a competition of who can get most recommendation/reference letters. USCIS adjudicators have limited time on each case. Too many average-quality plain recommendation/reference letters lead to RFE even denial of your NIW (National Interest Waiver) case simply because the USCIS adjudicator does not have time to find the merits of your case. Therefore, focus on the strength of each letter instead of the number of letters you can get.

3. Avoid Empty Compliments in the NIW (National Interest Waiver) Reference Letter

All comments on the NIW (National Interest Waiver) petitioner in the reference letter must be supported by objective evidence or specific examples. Simply reiterating the standard of law on NIW (National Interest Waiver) or laying out empty compliments will not bolster your chance of case approval but only make USCIS officers suspect the merits of your NIW (National Interest Waiver) case.

What Should be Included in an NIW (National Interest Waiver ) Reference/Recommendation Letter?

So exactly what should you include in your NIW (National Interest Waiver) recommendation/reference letter? Remember, the USCIS has never laid out the format of a NIW (National Interest Waiver) recommendation/reference letter. So a reference letter can be in any format. However, based on our experience of filing hundreds of NIW (National Interest Waiver) cases, AAO released cases and the USCIS memos, the following statements are essential in a good NIW (National Interest Waiver) recommendation/reference letter.

Read more about What Should be Included in an NIW (National Interest Waiver ) Reference/Recommendation Letter?

We list a couple of NIW sample recommendation letters here as examples. Please note we draft all the reference letters for our clients without using templates. These samples intend to give people a general idea what a recommendation letter for an NIW petition might look like. However, each letter may vary substantially because of the applicant's achievements and the recommenders' expertise. It is best to consult an experienced immigration law firm about your NIW (National Interest Waiver) case.

NIW (National Interest Waiver) Recommendation Letter Sample 1

NIW (National Interest Waiver) Recommendation Letter Sample 2

NIW (National Interest Waiver) Recommendation Letter Sample 3

NIW (National Interest Waiver) Recommendation Letter Sample 4