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

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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.

1. An introduction of the recommender/reference, including their achievements and qualifications to commend on your work.

A paragraph or at least several sentences in the NIW (National Interest Waiver) reference letter should be contributed to a summary of the recommender/referrer's achievements. Specifically, you should list the name, position held by the recommender, his/her accomplishments in the field of endeavor, his/her qualifications to comment on your work. These statements will be helpful to establish their authority to highlight your achievements and make the letter more convincing.

2. A brief summary about how the NIW (National Interest Waiver) recommender/reference came to know you.

The statement about how the recommender/reference knows you gives the USCIS officer an idea about your relationships. If the reference/recommendation letter comes from an independent recommender, this part is even more important because the way the recommender/reference knows about you is another proof of your international or national recognition.

The following are some examples of this type of statement in your NIW (National Interest Waiver) reference letter:

  • "I came to know about [the petitioner] through his magnificent contributions to pharmaceutical science, which has appeared in a leading scientific journal."
  • "Because of [the petitioner's] distinguished achievements during his Ph.D. study, I invited him to join my laboratory so that he could apply his wealthy knowledge and unique expertise of membrane protein structure and function to our studies of ion channel proteins that are involved in nervous system disorders."
  • "Although I am not within [the petitioner's] circle of colleagues or acquaintances, I am well aware of [the petitioner's] research because of our mutual research interest in neuronal channel proteins. I have reviewed his documents and invited him to give an oral presentation of his seminal research work to my colleagues and lab members in my department. I was very impressed by the research works he has performed within the last few years. He has demonstrated unique expertise and exceptional accomplishments in his breakthrough research."
  • "I have never worked with [the petitioner], and in fact I do not know him personally. My evaluation is based on his outstanding professional contributions to the field of biochemistry/biophysics in the subdiscipline that I have been specializing in. I am well-acquainted with his research because of our joint research interestin membrane proteins involved in biological energy transducing processes. I have carefully read all his research papers because of their importance to our research field, and I have cited some of his manuscripts in my own publications."
  • "Although I have no personal ties to [the petitioner], I am quite familiar with his research interest and works and scientific expertise. I first became acquainted with [the petitioner's] research during an international conference while he was still a Ph.D. student at Purdue University."
  • "I served as an Associates Editor [for] the peer-reviewed journal Crop Science for six years. During 2005 I managed the review of an article by [the petitioner]. Given the unique nature of the article, I requested three rather than the typical two reviews. It was my opinion that the article presented pioneering research that was of the highest quality. The three reviewers all felt the manuscript should be published. "
  • "I met [the petitioner] in the summer of 2001 when I visited Professor XXX's lab at the University of Pittsburgh. During my 6 weeks of stay there, [the petitioner] and I worked together on the research project of two-dimensional thermal convection. It was during that time that I noticed his special understanding and broad knowledge in physics, especially in the area of fluid turbulence."

3. Discussion of your research in detail in the NIW (National Interest Waiver) Recommendation/Reference Letter

A good NIW (National Interest Waiver) recommendation/reference letter should discuss your research in great detail. As previously discussed, a good recommendation/reference letter should not be full of empty compliments; advocacy of a NIW (National Interest Waiver) case is only convincing when they are accompanied with the discussion of your research.

In addition, the content in recommendation/reference letters will be used in your NIW (National Interest Waiver) petition letter. As a result, a favorable discussion of your research and accomplishments will also make your NIW (National Interest Waiver) petition letter more convincing when it quotes the words in recommendation/reference letters. Let's look at some examples of discussion of the NIW (National Interest Waiver) petitioner's work:

  • "[The petitioner] has created a series of experiments to characterize the nature of convection and flow in thin liquid films. He has been an important collaborator in a combined experimental and theoretical project on thin film flows that involves myself and professor XXX of the Technion in Israel. Overall, he has carried out outstanding research, both in quality and quantity."
  • "[The petitioner] has made groundbreaking findings in controlled drug delivery systems called polymeric nanocarriers to combat breast cancer. [The petitioner's] development of several unique strategies has led to new applications in controlled drug delivery systems. In addition, his research demonstrated that his system is effective in protecting healthy human cells against tumor cells. His work has shown that certain chemical features of his drug delivery system are able to specifically target tumor cells."
  • "[The petitioner's] work focuses on the delivery of anti-cancer agents using novel designs of polymer carriers. When these polymers are hydrated, they can circulate in the blood for periods of up to about 24 hours. Another important advantage of this polymer is that the linkage can be designed to control where and when the drug is released by tumor cells. It also allows the use of much higher dose[s] of these anti-cancer drugs. [The petitioner] had demonstrated that up to 10 fold of polymer-drug conjugate material could be given in a single dose to a mouse without any toxicity."
  • "[The petitioner] has discovered that his drug delivery system has potent chemotherapeutic activity against cutaneous breast carcinoma, melanoma and leukemia cells. This work is ground breaking because it provides a totally new system for anti-cancer intervention, and will no doubt lead to new considerations for preventive and therapeutic strategies."
  • "[The petitioner's] current project, focusing on BK channels, has provided intriguing and important insights as to how phosphorylation and alternative splicing of BK channels regulates excitability of neurons. He has made the surprising discovery that brain BK channels are extensively phosphorylated and alternatively spliced. Such findings are important to understanding the fundamental mechanisms underlying molecular regulation of electrical excitability, and are also critically helpful for the development of novel therapeutic approaches for mental and neurological disorders."
  • "[The petitioner] has made many very valuable contributions to our group's research at Duke. Working with Dr.XXX and Dr.XXX, [the petitioner] has constructed and carried out experiments describing the complex dynamics of liquid mixtures subjected to thermal heating. [The petitioner's] laboratory studies were absolutely crucial in validating predictions made by theoretical models."

4. Strong advocacy that sets you apart from others in the same field, the standard of NIW (National Interest Waiver) adjudication, and give specific examples

Expert testimonials of your accomplishments are crucial to your NIW (National Interest Waiver) petition. However, keep in mind that expert testimonials should bolster the argument that you meet the standard set by law on NIW (National Interest Waiver) petition, i.e., that you qualify for national interest waiver because the field of your research has intrinsic merits, benefits of your work being national in scope and your accomplishments are substantially above others in the same field. Evidence that merely establishes your competence or which fails to set you apart from other persons in the field does not support your NIW (National Interest Waiver) case because it carries little weight and may actually be used to deny the petition.

If the recommender has personally relied upon the alien beneficiary's work to further their own work, they should have a detailed discussion about how the influence is achieved. If the recommender is aware of the alien's reputation in the field or know about the extent of the impact of alien has achieved in the field, they should give specific examples in the letter.

The following examples serve well the purpose of setting you apart from others in your NIW (National Interest Waiver) case:

  • "[The petitioner's] work establishes an excellent method for deprotection of the N-Boc group, a methodology useful for synthesis of many biologically active compounds and peptides. Discovering a useful new method in organic chemistry is a significant achievement."
  • "[The petitioner] is an outstanding and exceptionally skilled scientist whose groundbreaking research work is of vital importance to our country's biomedical research efforts and improvement of public health in national scope. His accomplishments to date have far exceeded those of the vast majority of his peers as evidenced by his productive publications in premier scientific journals and frequent citations of hisvworks by other researchers...."
  • "[The petitioner] has achieved great distinction and has made many breakthroughs in his elegant research."
  • "As a young scientist, [the petitioner] has achieved spectacular accomplishments in the research field of membrane protein structure and function."
  • "[The petitioner's] manuscript was the first and most important paper in this kind of research in Crop Science and it makes significant contributions to studies of traits of agricultural importance."
  • "[The petitioner] made significant scientific contributions to the field of two-dimensional turbulence where new non-invasive techniques were implemented with a great potential for future research. Important results were also obtained by [the petitioner] in the field of polymer-turbulence interactions where polymer stretching imparts a drastic effect on quenching turbulence. He also obtained new, important and unexpected results regarding the exponential tail for the decaying two-dimensional turbulence. These results shed a new light on the physics of final stage of a vortex liquid."
  • "During [the petitioner's] PhD studies, he made outstanding contributions. He succeeded in using soap film to investigate for the first time in the world two dimensional thermal turbulence. He reported new series of data on velocity distributions that challenged theorists. He discovered the coexistence of Boganio and Kolmogorov scaling laws and performed for the first time in the world simultaneous measurements of thermal and mechanical powers in a turbulent system. . . ."
  • "His work was very significant because he developed new experimental pathways for the study of two-dimensional turbulence in complex situations, a phenomenon of particular relevance in the evolution of the climate. His work will provide extremely valuable guidance for the elaboration of complex numerical codes aiming at modeling the climate."

5. Substantive information should be Included in the NIW (National Interest Waiver) Reference Letter

A good NIW (National Interest Waiver) recommendation/reference letter should point out the high level of unique expertise the applicant possesses via making specific examples. AAO decisions on NIW (National Interest Waiver) have pointed out the USCIS will regard the recommenders' words groundless if no specific examples are given.

If it is a NIW (National Interest Waiver) recommendation/reference letter from an employer or professor of the applicant, it should specify the work the foreign national is responsible for and the requirements of the job. Although a job offer is not required for an NIW (National Interest Waiver) petition, a recommendation/reference letter from an employer can cite to such a position to establish that very few individuals can fill the offered position (i.e., only top individuals in the field or those with exceptional ability can perform the duties required for the position) and the alien applicant is one of these few individuals.

As previously discussed, a good NIW (National Interest Waiver) reference letter should avoid empty compliments but include substantial information backing up the compliments. Recommendation/reference letters that briefly discuss the alien beneficiary's activities and described him or her as a knowledgeable individual, but lack specific information regarding how the their contributions had significantly and consistently influenced the field are insufficient.

Let's see some good examples of substantive information provided in NIW (National Interest Waiver) reference letters:

  • "[The petitioner] submitted printouts from citation databases and copies of citing articles and book chapters, establishing 73 citations of his work. About 90% of these citations are independent rather than self-citations by the petitioner or his co-authors."
  • "[The petitioner's] research has been well received and lauded in the fields of membrane structure and function and membrane bioenergetics, as evidenced by more than 100 citations of his papers by other researchers in these fields."
  • "[The petitioner] has made a highly distinctive and invaluable contribution to a research field that is vital to human health and the development of sustainable and renewable energy resources."
  • "[Surely, the amazing number of times (100) his publications have been cited by other scientists in the last few years reinforces my personal opinion that [the petitioner] is a prominent young scientist of extraordinary scientific capabilities and outstanding accomplishments."
  • "[The petitioner] joined my research group in September, 2006. I hand-selected him out of 12 high-qualified applicants for his impressive and strong educational and research experience and skills in traditional plant breeding, molecular biology and statistics. "
  • "[The petitioner] is a key scientist in my corn breeding and genetics laboratory. He is responsible for discovering drought and heat tolerance genes, identifying new physiological traits contributing to drought tolerance, and developing molecular breeding tools for genetic improvement of stress tolerance. The accomplishment of this project would significantly contribute to the crop production under water stressed environments."
  • "[The petitioner] played a critical role in my research projects. During his time in my laboratory, he published a total of four peer-reviewed papers and has already submitted a paper for publication from his post-doctoral research. [The petitioner's] papers attracted international interests. I am sure that these results will become cited worldwide in the next few years. [The petitioner] discovered quantitative trait loci [QTL] for soybean resistance to soybean cyst nematode (SCN), the first major pest in soybean. His discoveries enhanced our understanding in development of SCN-resistant cultivars."
  • "Although I do not know [the petitioner] personally, I am familiar with his research since he worked in a field closely related to my own. There is only a relatively small number of researchers working in the specific area of thermal convection. Because of this, their papers get cited only by a small number of people, and large numbers of citations should not be expected. The relatively small number of citations does not in any way imply a low level of importance of the work, and the real contributions to scientific knowledge must be measured by other means."

This introduction of reference letter drafting is intended to give people seeking or in the process of filing NIW (National Interest Waiver) petition a general idea about NIW reference letter. If you need assistance on recommendation letter drafting, please don't hesitate to contact us. We highly specialize in NIW (National Interest Waiver) petition and provide the most comprehensive and high-quality service on NIW (National Interest Waiver) application.

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