NIW Denial Overturned by AAO (Administrative Appeal Office)

2019-02-04, BY wegreened

We submitted an NIW petition to the Texas Service Center, which was denied following a Request for Evidence (RFE). However, we appealed the decision with the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). AAO reopened the case and issued NIW approval.


NIW Petition


Our client is a researcher specializing in cyber security research. At the time of case filing, this client’s numerous professional accomplishments included 15 publications, 4 technical reports, and 69 citations. We further supported our client’s petition with evidence describing the nature of our client’s field of expertise and strong professional testimonials attesting to the importance of our client’s work. One expert, for example, affirmed: “As cyber and network attacks represent some of the most severe and prevalent forms of crime in the United States, halting [Client’s] research would be devastating to the cyber security industry and to the United States as a whole.”


Request for Evidence (RFE) and Denial by the USCIS  


Following case filing, the Officer in TSC (Texas Service Center) issued an RFE and we prepared a comprehensive response, but  the same officer issued a denial notice on the case. 


Upon review of the denial, we discovered that the denial decision hinged on five problematic claims: (1) an assertion that postdoctoral researchers cannot be “influential leaders in their field”; (2) a misinterpretation of the client’s citation record in relation to the NIW precedent decision; (3) a misinterpretation and simplification of our client’s field; (4) poor use of evidence to describe the utility of our client’s research, and (5) a denial that our client’s work would create jobs, fulfill an urgent national need, or render a labor certification impractical.


We concluded that not only had the officer clearly mischaracterized our client’s work, but they had also rendered a wholly superficial reading of the petition materials, thereby leading him to misapply the standards set by the NIW precedent decisions in their evaluation of the case. 




Although we often suggest refiling as opposed to appeal, we firmly believed that our client had a strong case for their original denial to be overturned. We therefore prepared an appeal response that systematically disputed the claims outlined in the denial decision, thereby proving that if all the evidence were considered and interpreted properly, it would be clear that our client’s case meets the NIW requirements and should be approved. We strongly refuted the adjudicator’s mischaracterization of our client’s field and demonstrated his standing in comparison with the evidence required to a sustained appeal under the precedent Dhanasar decision.


Convinced by our arguments, the AAO found there was sufficient evidence to re-open the case and subsequently approve it. Due to our hard work and effective legal strategies, we were able to assist our client toward a successful NIW appeal and approval despite being faced with an officer who misrepresented much of our client’s experience and the nature of his field.

AAO Decision

See more AAO overturning our NIW denials issued by the USCIS

The key to our success is the way in which we present supporting evidence and provide the highest quality petition letters. With over 37,000 I-140 EB-1 ( EB-1A Alien of Extraordinary Ability; EB-1B Outstanding Researcher or Professor), EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) and O-1 approvals, our firm has acquired substantial information about USCIS decisions, which gives us significant advantage over firms that only handle a small number of cases.

Based on more than one thousand approvals and our close track of USCIS internal memoranda, AAO decisions, and judicial review decisions, we have unique insight into the USCIS adjudication trends. Not only do we apply this insight into our approaches to our clients' cases, but we also carefully review all RFEs (Requests for Evidence), NOIDs (Notices of Intent to Deny), approvals, and denials issued on our cases so that we can further increase our understanding of USCIS strategies and decision-making processes. With the insight, we are able to advise our clients on the best ways to proceed with their petitions.

While other petitioners and attorneys may still use templates to draft recommendation letters or petition letters, our clients' recommendation letters and petition letters are tailored to their individual credentials to best persuade a USCIS officer that our clients meet the requirements of the category they are applying under and therefore their petitions deserve to be approved. To provide the best EB-1 and EB-2 NIW services, our law firm only selects attorneys who have received their professional Juris Doctor degrees from the top law schools in the U.S. and who have garnered rigorous analytical skills through years of experience.