The petitioner has the burden of proof to provide sufficient evidence for a National Interest Waiver application.
The following documents may be submitted for a NIW based green card petition:
- A Form I-140, Petition for Immigrant Worker
- A Department of Labor Form ETA 7089
- Documents supporting that the beneficiary is an “Advanced Degree Professional” or an “Alien of Exceptional Ability“.
- A strong petition letter drafted by an experienced immigration attorney.
- Letters of recommendation from prominent members or experts in your field such as substantial, recognized national or international organizations, institutes, or government agencies.
Letters could also be from top level management of prospective companies using the alien’s work and current and former employers. Letters should be from persons who have not personally worked with the alien but are still aware of his/her achievements as this gives more weight than letters from people who know the alien well. The letters should clearly state how they became familiar with the alien’s work.
Such letters should discuss the alien’s abilities and accomplishments as well as the alien’s work importance to the national interest. It should state that the alien has made a significant contribution to the field and has achieved a degree of recognition. Even though it is not mandatory to get a strong letter of recommendation from your current employer, you should get such a letter if they are willing to provide one.
Even though there are no required minimum number or maximum number of such letters, five to seven letters would be good enough. The stronger the letter is, the better it would be as a lot of weightage is given to such letters.
These letters must be placed directly beneath the Form I-140. That will eliminate the examiner’s time spent wading through academics articles, field surveys, general reports, etc. which often add minimal weight to bolster the claim for the alien’s specific achievements are of national interest. This would reduce the need for a request for further evidence (RFE).
The USCIS will examine such letters and review the credentials of the individuals who write such letters to determine whether they are qualified to make such evaluations.
Along with the letters, on a separate piece of paper, submit a list of persons providing you with recommendation letters, including their names, titles, and employers. Also, include newspaper articles describing the professional reputation of persons preparing your references.
- Affidavits from well-known, established and influential people or organizations.
e.g., Affidavits from leading scientists, representatives, and from organizations associated with the type of research to be pursued would be helpful for an application being submitted for a scientist.
- Documentation of past achievements, proof that the alien has already created jobs, created an increase in exports, turned around a business, or other economic improvements.
- Documentation of any past record that substantiates projections of future benefits to the national interest of the U.S. You must establish, in some capacity, your ability to serve the national interest to a substantially greater extent than the majority of your colleagues. You must demonstrate to some degree, your influence on your field of employment as a whole.
- If submitting the petition through an employer, a letter from the employer stating their support for the petition.
- Satisfactory demonstration that the national interest would be adversely affected if a labor certification were required. Evidence that it would be contrary to national interest to deprive the prospective employer of the services of the alien by making the position available to the U.S. workers that is being sought by the alien.
The purpose of a labor certification is to protect the jobs and job opportunities of U.S. workers having the same minimum qualifications as the alien seeking employment in the national interest. The petitioner (either an alien himself/herself or the employer) must establish that the alien will serve the national interest to a substantially greater degree than would an available U.S. worker having the same minimum qualifications.
- Do NOT submit the evidence of labor shortage in NIW beneficiary’s professional as it is excluded from waiving the job offer and labor certification requirement for NIW petition.
- Evidence of at least two years of experience in the area in which the alien will benefit the U.S. The USCIS looks at this very closely to determine whether the alien has a serious commitment to the activity that promotes the national interest.
- Evidence of the alien’s significant role in the undertaking. The alien must not simply have been a minor constituent who took part.
- Evidence that the benefits of the alien’s proposed employment will be in a national scope. Even though the alien’s employment may be limited to a particular geographic area, it must establish a benefit to more than one particular region of the country. Moreover, there should be little or no adverse impact on the interests of other regions of the country.
- Evidence that the alien’s employment is in an area of substantial intrinsic merit and important to the national interests of the U.S.
- If the alien holds a patent or are responsible for an innovation, the alien must demonstrate that the innovation serves in the national interest. Otherwise, do not submit any documentation as it would be irrelevant.
- All publications, publication citations, abstracts, invitations to conferences, if any.
Your chances of a NIW approval are not solely determined by your resume and background. All components of the petition must be looked at for determining the chances of approval.
- Details of the funding for your research projects or grants, if any.
- Requests for reprints of your publications, if any.
- Evidence of awards or honors received, if any.
- Comments on your published work by critics/journal referees, if any.
- Evidence of membership in professional associations, if any.
Submitting the above mentioned documents only allows the case to be reviewed, and there is no guarantee that the petition will be successfully approved. Also, benefits of employment should be immediately apparent to the national interests of the U.S.
Recently, the USCIS has been requesting evidence for “how the beneficiary is the head of the project or a critical member”. The RFEs specify that this may be proved by “funding documents from the government agency or major scientific organization showing where the beneficiary is listed as the principal investigator”. It is reasonable to assume that the person filing the NIW petition plays a critical role, requiring the person to be the head or principal investigator is beyond what should be expected of an NIW alien as such status is rarely given to anyone who is not a U.S. citizen or green card holder.
Some RFEs require you to submit the proof that the alien has received “critical acclaim” which is not a requirement of a NIW and cannot be the sole means for showing the significance of an alien’s abilities and responsibilities. “Critical acclaim” is required for someone who wishes to qualify under the EB-1 category of “Aliens of Extraordinary Ability” while a NIW petition is related to the EB-2 petition.
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