Guidelines for EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW): Supporting Expert Opinion Letters

Written by Ekaterina Powell

Our office has extensive experience working on EB-2 National Interest Waiver petitions for scientists and researchers in a variety of academic fields. Many clients come to us after their NIW petitions have already been denied as a result of their first attempts to file the petitions without qualified attorney guidance.

Unfortunately, often times after careful review of the petitions it becomes clear that the scientist is qualified for NIW but the petition was done in such a way that it did not properly highlight the scientist’s accomplishments and did not articulate how the scientist meets the criteria for NIW petition.

The cornerstone of all NIW petitions is Expert Opinion Letters that explain the scientist’s specific accomplishments to a USCIS adjudicator. If opinion letters come from recognized experts in the field, are strongly worded and provide specific insight into the scientist’s achievements in the field, they are given a lot of weight by USCIS examiners and can determine the outcome of a case.

IMPORTANCE OF OPINION LETTERS FROM INDEPENDENT EXPERTS

Because USCIS needs to establish that the petitioner has made a significant impact on his or her field of endeavor as a whole, it is not enough if all letters in support of the NIW petition come from the petitioner’s collaborators or supervisors. It is important to prove that the petitioner has earned the reputation in the field and is thus known for his/her accomplishments.

Letters from independent sources normally come from recognized experts in the field who have few ties to the petitioner but who are able to provide specific information about the petitioner’s past work and discuss the potential future benefits of the petitioner’s work. For example, these independent letters can be from experts in the field who came to know the petitioner through his/her reputation in the field, through conferences or scientific meetings, or who have used or relied upon the petitioner’s findings.

LIST OF DOES AND DON’TS TO CONSIDER WHEN COLLECTING EXPERT OPINION LETTERS

If you have any questions or wish to receive a free initial consultation to analyze whether you qualify for National Interest Waiver application, feel free to contact our office.