What should be Included in a Recommendation Letter in EB1-A, EB1-B or NIW application?

by WeGreened 03/05/2011

In my previous article, I discussed whom you should turn to for a recommendation letter for your I-140 Immigrant Worker Petition. In this article, I will lay out what should be included in a recommendation letter.

Qualifications of the Recommender

A recommendation letter needs to include the description of the drafter. An introduction of the employer should be made if a job has been offered. If the drafter comments on the foreign person's achievements or research, a statement should be included in the support letter that establishes the qualifications of these individuals to judge the applicant's work.

Helpful Testimonials from Experts Should Set Apart the Applicant from Other Persons in the Field

Expert testimonials of your accomplishments are crucial to your petition. However, keep in mind that expert testimonials should bolster the argument that you meet the standard set by law, i.e., that you are one of those few who have risen to the top of the field or you possess exceptional ability as a researcher or qualify for national interest waiver. Evidence that merely establishes your competence or which fails to set you apart from other persons in the field does not support your case because it carries little weight and may actually be used to deny the petition.

Substantive Information

A good recommendation letter should point out the high level of unique expertise the applicant possesses. If it is a recommendation 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 priority workers, a recommendation 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 is one of these few individuals. In addition, recommendation letters that briefly discuss the petitioner's activities and described him or her as a knowledgeable individual, but lack specific information regarding how the petitioner's contributions had significantly and consistently influenced the field are insufficient.

For example, in establishing a foreign national's extraordinary ability for EB-1 purposes, the recommender must pay close attention to the criteria specified in the regulations; the recommender may cite to the types of evidence listed in the regulations. The mere cite to public policy is not a substitute for documentation of extraordinary ability. In addition, the government has made it clear that merely submitting types of documentation from the categories listed in the regulations is insufficient; the evidence must ultimately establish that the beneficiary is a foreign national of extraordinary ability. Considering the importance of recommendation letters, it is worth the time and efforts for an applicant to seek perfect recommenders and discuss the content of the recommendation letter with them to boost your chance of approval.

About NIW (National Interest Waiver) Recommendation Letter

Strong reference letters are key to a successful NIW case. Our firm has realized the significant role reference letters play in the success of an NIW approval and we therefore draft reference letters for our clients to individualize each letter without extra charge. We are of the opinion that drafting a good reference letter requires a good understanding of the immigration law and USCIS regulations and these cannot be replaced by templates.

Filing an NIW petition is a significant step and should not be taken lightly. Don't file an NIW petition just to "Give it a shot!" Due to the recent prolonged processing time, reckless filing will substantially delay the time you receive a green card. Moreover, although the law does not preclude the possibility of repeated filing under the same category, if you file anther NIW petition after the rejected one without having significant improvement of your credentials, your case will very likely be rejected again.