100% Success Rate for niws for both 2017 and 2018
EB1A Approval for Plant Biologist (January 2019):
Even if a person’s credentials should be good enough for an EB1A approval, a lot depends on how that information is presented to the USCIS. In this case, our client, a plant biologist, had previously received a denial while working with another law firm. Our client knew his credentials justified the claim that he is an individual of extraordinary ability, but after receiving a denial elsewhere, he was ensure what to do. Fortunately, it was at this point that he reached out to us and after speaking with him and reviewing his credentials, we could clearly see that he was well qualified, and we therefore happily agreed to work with him to file a new EB1A petition despite his previous denial because we could clearly see that his “story” simply wasn’t told in the right light.
While his previous materials were helpful, we did notice a few areas we thought could be improved to better highlight his credentials. For example, his previous EB1A petition had claimed his field as molecular biology & genetics. However, after discussions with the client and studying his case more in depth, we determined together that plant biology would likely be a better field to claim since it was more specific. This in turn allowed us to show that his more specific field was generally a lower citation field, which is more difficult to show for the broader field of molecular biology & genetics. In addition, the RFE the client had previously received challenged the claim that he had made original contributions of major significance to his field. We could see this was patently untrue as our client had made a number of notable contributions to his field, so we sought to find a better way to convince the USCIS of this fact. We ultimately decided on a more holistic approach that discussed not only the client’s specific contributions themselves but also their impact, which we showed by describing notable citations to his work, the widespread dissemination of his findings, the extensive funding he had received, and the recognition of his work by leading organization in his field. Furthermore, we asked the client to draft a letter of future intentions to submit along with his case. In our experience, submitting such a letter is helpful because it helps explain in detail how the client intends to continue advancing his field in the future. Altogether, our more well-rounded presentation of the client’s contributions to date, their impact on his field, and his plans to continue his research work in the United States resulted in success for this client, and his new EB1A petition was approved in only 40 days even without premium processing.
“I can hardly believe my EB1A case was approved in 40 days without premium processing! I can’t thank Ellis Porter enough. Jonathan and the HSI team were always realistic yet still optimistic, and they made the entire process simple and stress free. Before coming to EllisPorter, I had previously filed an EB1A elsewhere but ultimately, it was denied. So I came to John to see what could be done to refile the EB1A instead with EllisPorter and what ways were available to enhance my second petition. Jonathan assured me there were plenty of things we could do and that crafting the case to focus on my specific strengths would likely lead to an EB1A approval, and he was right. I am happy to recommend Ellis Porter not only because they helped get my case approved, but also because they were great to work with and clearly had experience filing thorough, personalized EB1A petitions.”
NIW Approval for Public Health Researcher (December 2018):
One advantage of our NIW service is that our crafted approach to preparing a petition enables a petitioner’s qualitative accomplishments to truly stand out as exceptional. This month’s featured approval is a perfect example of why an individualized approach to a case is absolutely crucial to the outcome. We had the privilege of working with a public health researcher who has contributed extensively to devising public health programs put in place by national government institutions. Not only has her research been invaluable to preventing the spread of communicable diseases, but her work has also been vital to informing public policy initiatives around the world. As vital as this client’s research has been to public health initiatives in the U.S and abroad, this impact is not directly reflected by her citation record alone which was on the lower end.
Our attorneys were able to show that this individual has not only made a substantial impact on public health research, but has been equally if not more impactful on the successful implementation of public health initiatives in the United States and abroad. By detailing her contributions to well-known government agencies, we were able to prove to the adjudicating officer that this client’s research has been vital to her field and that she would be a vital asset to future public health initiatives in the United States. Due to the intricacy of this client’s case, we ensured a constant line of communication was available to our client either through calls or emails. Ultimately, our client was able to secure NIW approval within just a few months.
“Due to the complex and nontraditional nature of my research, I needed an attorney who would be able to communicate clearly and effectively with me in order to build a strong case. In my mind, the HSI team is nothing short of exceptional. Though I explored a few other immigration attorneys before hiring John and his team, I believe I made a wise decision choosing Ellis Porter to prepare my case, and the success of my petition speaks to the quality of their service.” – Ms. M.L.
EB1A Approval (Special Feature):
Never Fear the RFE When You Got A Good Case
One of the many benefits of retaining the High Skilled Immigration team at Ellis Porter is our attorneys’ collective experience in responding to hundreds of Requests for Evidence, or RFEs. Despite preparing a strong case, sometimes an RFE is issued by a tough officer. This is especially true in the EB1A context but having an experienced attorney in your corner can make all the difference between an approval and a denial. This is exactly what happened to one particular client who altogether had a strong case.
Our client filed an EB1A petition in the field of computer science with over 500 citations. Though our client submitted a great deal of documentation emphasizing the influence of their work in the field, the USCIS officer reviewing their case argued that the evidence provided was insufficient in two ways: 1) there was not enough documentation demonstrating the petitioner would continue work in their field, and 2) there was no documentation provided in the original petition showing original contributions of major significance had been made. It was clear to our experienced attorneys upon reviewing this RFE that the petitioner’s case had been poorly reviewed by USCIS, since we included evidence satisfying both of these two areas in the original petition. Nevertheless, we provided a comprehensive RFE rebuttal strategy to our client that thoroughly incorporated documentation submitted with the original petition, as well as new evidence to help show the officer why he or she was clearly incorrect in their way of thinking. Not only were we able to set our client’s mind at ease by providing a thorough RFE response strategy based on our experience, but he was able to receive answers to his questions about his RFE directly from our attorneys in 24 business hours or less throughout the entire process. We are happy to say that our client’s case was approved in less than two weeks after his RFE response was submitted.
“Receiving an RFE is scary. The legal-ese of the RFE notice makes it hard to figure out what USCIS is really asking for. After spending weeks preparing my case, the last thing I wanted to receive was a request for more evidence from USCIS, especially considering that we already included the evidence they asked for in my petition. Despite this setback, John’s experience made me feel confident in responding to this officer’s concerns and took most of the stress out of the entire RFE response process. He and the entire HSI team were fast, easy to contact, and receptive to my questions and thoughts throughout the RFE response process. Though receiving an RFE is not ideal, if I had to go through the process again, I wouldn’t think twice about retaining John to handle my case.”
Featured Approval (November 2018):
NIW Approval for Automotive Researcher with Industry Experience
It’s important to acknowledge that every case is unique, so having an experienced attorney who knows what aspects of your background to highlight or avoid discussing can make all the difference between an approval or rejection. With regard to this case, the client is an automotive scientist who had a modest publication and citation record at the time of filing. However, it was clear to us that his industry experience also confirmed his expertise in his field. With this in mind, we crafted a more holistic legal strategy for this client, emphasizing not only his academic credentials but also his extensive work for the automotive industry. Specifically, we not only submitted evidence of his publications and citation record, but also a variety of more qualitative evidence. For example, this client provided a statement explaining his specific plans to continue working within his field, which laid out in detail how his prior achievements have prepared him to continue to pursue his ongoing and future research projects. In addition, we also showed the client’s expertise by discussing his peer review work and submitting recommendation letters praising his research from other experts in his field. By working closely with this client to understand his specific strengths, we were able to craft a personalized legal strategy that led to case approval.
“It was a pleasure working with Jonathan and the high-skilled immigration team at Ellis Porter. It was easy to get in touch with Jonathan whenever I had any questions, and he always responded to my concerns promptly and in detail. It was clear to me that he had a good understanding of my work and its importance, and I believe that this understanding and his knowledge of immigration law are what led to the success of my petition. Working with EP took a weight off my mind because I knew the attorneys there are very experienced with the NIW petition, and this experience was clear to me as I worked with them. I gladly recommend Ellis Porter to anyone considering filing the NIW petition.”
NIW 6 Citations Approval (Special Feature):
One thing we have learned time and again is that citations are only one factor for a USCIS officer to consider when adjudicating an NIW petition. While citations can show that your work has influenced your field, there are many other ways that this can be shown if you have an attorney who knows what to look for. For example, in this case, the client engineered the creation of new materials of interest to a number of players in the defensive industry in both the US and abroad. This work was funded by a variety of institutions. Since his work provided sensitive information about ways to improve the safety of military personnel, he could not always publish and disseminate his findings. Due to this fact, this unpublished but important work was unable to receive citations even though it provided key information essential to improving the safety of US military personnel. Therefore, since we could not reference citations as evidence of the impact of this work, we instead focused on providing other evidence, such as evidence of the funding this work received and letters from experts familiar with the projects confirming their importance to the field and to the United States.
Moreover, while this client only had one publication that received citations, we were still able to make good use of this fact by pointing out that this publication was very highly cited for its year of publication in the client’s broader field of engineering. In addition, we also provided evidence of the exceptional prestige of a journal that accepted his work for publication, which we argued confirms that other leaders in his field find his work of relevance and worthy of dissemination to his field as a whole. As further evidence of this client’s leading status in his field, we also included documentation that expert editors had independently contacted the client to conduct peer review work, which clearly shows that his peers value his opinion and expertise in his area of study.
Overall, we submitted a variety of different kinds of evidence to the USCIS to show that this client’s work has laid the foundation for further developments in his area of study and that it is of such value that it would benefit the United States to approve his NIW petition. By working with the client to develop a narrative that clearly explained the value of his work to the United States’ military and economy, in addition to submitting a wide variety of qualitative evidence confirming the impact and importance of this work to ongoing studies in this area, we were able to present this client’s case to the USCIS in such a way that he received an NIW approval with no RFE in only 3 months’ time.
“I wasn’t sure I was qualified for an NIW when I contacted the High Skilled Immigration attorneys at Ellis Porter because I only had 6 citations, but I knew my work was important for the United States. Having completed work for defense organizations and a private company, I had contributed to important projects that gave me significant experience, but I worried that my publication and citation record might still be a problem. After speaking with Jonathan, he explained to me that we could use other evidence to help me qualify for the NIW. Working together, we determined that I had a number of qualifications that were helpful for the NIW petition, like the funding of my work and the recommendation letters from experts who were happy to support my petition. I am grateful that he took the time to understand my unique situation. With his help, my case was approved in less than three months, which means I am able to continue my work that benefits the American military and industry. Thank you Jonathan and Ellis Porter!”
Featured Approval (October 2018):
NIW Approved With Qualitative Evidence
This month’s featured approval is an NIW case in the field of analytical chemistry. This researcher extended her analytical chemistry towards important innovations in medicine and epidemiology. Though the intrinsic value of our client’s work was very clear to us at the onset, we ensured that the significance of her field to the interests of United States was emphasized at length through objective statements in the legal brief. Our client already had both a strong record of accomplishments and significant accomplishments, however we chose to emphasize these in greater detail. This was achieved throughout the legal brief by collecting strong quantitative documentation that outlined how our client retains a position as an important figure of her field. The notable journals her work was published in, record of her impressive citations, and detailed recommendation letters elucidating her accomplishments ultimately helped our client receive NIW approval from USCIS. In fact, one of our client’s favorite aspects of our service is the ease and accessibility of communication with her attorney. We strongly believe that this collaborative method of communication is yet another important factor leading to a fast approval without an RFE.
"In light of the uncertainty of the future of immigration laws, my top requirements for my attorney include extensive experience and up-to-date knowledge of immigration policy. The attorneys at Ellis Porter embody both of these qualities. Jonathan thoroughly explained the NIW procedure and requirements to me. His extensive experience in filing cases with similar qualities to my own credentials was also very reassuring throughout the case preparation process. Jonathan was always very easy to get a hold of either through email or phone. If I had to go through the NIW process again, I wouldn’t hesitate to hire the High Skilled Immigration team at Ellis Porter to handle my case!”
Featured Approval (September 2018):
EB1A Approved With Qualitative Evidence
One facet of our expertise we are most proud of is our ability to craft petitions that highlight the qualitative attributes of our clients’ accomplishments. Our EB1A strategy goes beyond only highlighting impressive citation metrics for our clients: we emphasize other qualitative attributes in order to demonstrate the significance of our clients to USCIS. We believe that this is a hallmark of high-quality EB1A services.
For our September case highlight, our client is an accomplished chemist that had several laudable accomplishments beyond citation metrics alone. We crafted this individual’s EB1A case with the intention of focusing not only on their citations, but also on how their work was frequently published in the leading publication venues in the chemistry field, as well as the selection of their work for continued research by a world-renown research institution and media coverage by several reputable media outlets. By carefully cultivating a petition focusing on both the citation metrics and qualitative attributes in tandem, we prepared a case that clearly underscores the substantial influence our client has made on chemistry research in the U.S. and abroad.
Many of our clients also recognize that working closely with an attorney is an important part in developing a coherent legal strategy and ultimately preparing a strong petition. That’s why we understand the importance of being accessible to our clients and responding to their questions and concerns in a short time-frame. Our client was able to get in touch with his attorney in 24 business hours or less to discuss the appropriate legal strategy in-depth with his attorney or ask questions about their case. Having legal representation by your side is invaluable as you navigate the EB1A process, and that is why we prioritize communication with our clients.
"A priority for me when choosing a lawyer for my EB1A was making sure the important aspects of my accomplishments and career would be highlighted in a way that strengthens my case, with the goal of ultimately be viewed favorably by USCIS for an approval. Working with the High Skilled Immigration group at Ellis Porter, it quickly became apparent to me that my attorney was well-versed in skillfully preparing a petition that highlights all of my impressive attributes without diminishing the impact of my citations. Over the course of my case preparation, the attention to detail paid by Jonathan and all of the legal staff at Ellis Porter confirmed my original impression as well was my ability to speak to him personally on multiple occasions to discuss our case strategy and evidence in-depth: Ellis Porter prioritizes quality by tailoring my case to suit ME. Many thanks to Jonathan and the Ellis Porter staff for such meticulous preparation of my case. I will be sure to recommend their services to my friends based on my positive experience."
Featured Approval (Special):
NIW Approved For Pharmaceutical Researcher
Our special featured approval for this month is an EB-2 NIW client in the field of pharmaceuticals. Our client received their doctorate in pharmacy and intends to continue working in pharmaceutical and drug delivery research. This individual hadcompleted important research surrounding new drug formulations for cancer and disease mitigation. Their background in pharmaceuticals combined with the numerous accomplishments and recognition received on behalf of their work made it clear to us that this individual is an established researcher in pharmaceuticals. Though the inherent importance of drug development research to the United States should be obvious, we supplied the adjudicating officer with a breadth of additional resources proving that pharmaceuticals is an industry of benefit to the United States, with the intention of avoiding a potential RFE. Throughout the NIW preparation process, we collaborated intensively with our client through phone calls and emails. In fact, we believe that this collaborative approach led to an approval.
As many of our clients can recognize, understanding the legal jargon and process involved in preparing an NIW petition can be a very challenging task. This particular client sought clarification from their attorney about the NIW process and exactly what was needed from them in order to prepare the strongest possible petition. Collecting evidence that could be helpful for an NIW case can be difficult to determine alone, so we make sure to prioritize communication with our clients in order to make this process as smooth as possible. It was a pleasure addressing questions and discussing legal strategy in-depth with this particular client through phone calls and email, and we are pleased that this collaboration ultimately led to an approved NIW without a request for evidence.
"Learning about the NIW process was an intimidating experience. For me, there was so much ambiguity as to what I was required to prepare and how to send my documents to USCIS that these challenges seemed almost insurmountable. When I first spoke with Jonathan and the High Skilled Immigration group at Ellis Porter, I was very impressed by their extensive knowledge and experience with NIW petitions. Even more important, Jonathan was easy for me to contact with any questions I had about my case strategy and other immigration questions. Not only did he do a remarkable job of preparing my case, but he also provided me with reassurance throughout the process. With so much uncertainty and rumors spread in online immigration forums, it was encouraging to receive first-hand legal advice from someone who knows the ins-and-outs of the employment-based immigration system. I would also add that Jonathan was extremely patient, calm, kind, organized, ready to respond, analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems,
reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations, honest and ethical, careful about detail, maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior. Thanks in no small part to Jonathan and Ellis Porter, I was able to get my NIW approved!"
Featured Approval (August 2018):
NIW Approved With 0 Citations
As lesson we constantly strive to teach is that while citations can be helpful, they aren’t necessary by any stretch of the imagination for a NIW. Many people believe one must have a certain number of citations to qualify under the NIW. However, nothing in the regulations or statues require citations or even mention the term. Rather, one simply needs to show essentially why they are special or unique, why their work is important and how they stand out from the crowd in general. This month’s highlight is of a researcher who has spent decades in the field doing critical work. However, the nature of his work has been such that he has not published that often. He had been told many times by others that citations mattered and he didn’t have a good case. In fact, he had an excellent case; it just wasn’t being looked at appropriately. By playing up critical aspects of his work history, getting letters from leaders in his field from around the world, and really developing his petition to fit his own individual background, this researcher was approved without even being issued a RFE. The lesson once again is that while citations can help a case, they don’t make a case and good qualitative development of one’s background and the use of their work by others in the field in detail is often essential for success.
"Having a non-traditional NIW case, I needed a firm that could really make my petition about me and my experience. EllisPorter was exactly what I needed. Working with John was great. From the beginning, he paid extremely close attention to “my story” so we could develop our case from the bottom-up. He really took the time and care to build my entire case specifically around who I was as a professional. As a result, I was confident that my case was truly a story “about me”. I am definitely referring my colleagues to John given the great experience I had. Thanks to EllisPorter and John in particular for the wonderful work and getting my NIW approved!"
Featured Approval (July 2018):
EB1A Approved With Our Expedited Processing Service
Our expedited processing service is offered to individuals with exceptionally high credentials in which we are able to file their case within a matter of weeks. For this month’s highlight, we are relaying the story of a successful EB1A. This client had roughly ~180 citations to their work, the vast majority independent in nature. However, where we found the truly quality in their case was our ability to play up and develop the massive qualitative portion of her case. While many people think citations are essential for the EB1A, what they don’t often realize is how critical expounding upon and playing up the details of the utilization of one’s work is for a successful EB1A. So while this individual had an average number of citations for an EB1A, what really made her case ‘extraordinary’ was the evidence we were able to marshal regarding the unique ways their work was being utilized by others in the field. By illustrating exactly how important their work was outside of citations alone, this case was approved under the highest category possible. The lesson: citations can help but if you really want to make your case excellent, you need to ensure that all aspects of your case are truly being developed to their fullest potential.
"Thanks to John and the EllisPorter team for handling my EB1A case for me. Given all the uncertainly around EB1As recently, it was definitely an intimidating endeavor to embark on. However, speaking with John regarding my case, talking through the specific elements of my background he believed we could highlight and the manner in which we crafted my entire case around the strong suites of my background really gave me the confidence to know that we were playing up my situation as best as possible. And in fact, my case was approved, in no small part due to this attention to the individual details of my background. I would also like to point out the speed with which my petition was prepared, which was much faster than I expected. Thanks again to EP and their personalized approach for helping me get my EB1A approved."
Featured Approval (June 2018):
O-1 Approved Less Than 5 Weeks After Retaining Our Services
Our featured approval for June 2018 is a quickly prepared O-1 petition.
USCIS generally recommends filing O-1 petitions at least 45 days in advance. Unfortunately, this is not always viable when new job opportunities require immediate start dates. We recently had a client come to us after spending a great deal of time with a different law firm to prepare his immigration petition, but it became clear to him that it would be impossible for them to file his O-1 quickly since no legal work had been completed as of the time of retaining our services.
In less than 5 weeks, we were able to prepare his recommendation letters, legal brief, petition package, AND receive approval of his O-1 petition for his start date which was 32 days from the date we were retained. This particular client had an impressive background in Computer Science for an O-1 petition, but since his new position was with a start-up company, we took special care in preparing the petition and presenting evidence that we thought would best avoid receiving an RFE that would slow down the adjudication process. While most of our petitions genuinely take 4-6 weeks to prepare, we made sure to take into account the particular circumstances of this client and ensure that we did everything possible to file quickly without sacrificing the quality of our work.
Featured Approval (May 2018):
EB-2 NIW Approval for Ph.D. Student in Biochemistry (No RFE)
Our featured approval for May 2018 is an EB-2 NIW client within the field of biochemistry. This particular individual received their Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry less than 5 years ago and they immediately moved on to pursue a Ph.D. within the same field.
Under the EB-2 NIW category, there are two important aspects that must be proven: 1) The individual has an advanced degree or its equivalent in their field OR they are an individual with exceptional ability, and 2) they satisfy all three elements on the NIW test.
Upon contacting us for an evaluation, we discussed their goals and preferences, and it was clear that receiving a green card sooner rather than later was important. Therefore, we came to the conclusion that we should file their EB-2 NIW prior to them having an advanced degree, even though proving exceptional ability requires more extensive arguments and evidence given that the first aspect of the petition cannot simply be proven with a transcript.
To prove exceptional ability, we needed to satisfy at least 3 of the 6 criteria, so we submitted evidence of: (1) his bachelor’s degree, (2) his memberships in his field of expertise, and (3) recognition for his achievements and significant contributions to his field by his peers. We clearly articulated the three criteria we were claiming prior to moving on to discuss how he meets the NIW test, so that the officer could follow the legal brief in a comprehensive and coherent survey of his credentials.
We then argued how different aspects of his profile made him eligible for a waiver of the job offer and labor certification requirements in order to garner an EB-2 NIW approval. Even though he planned to continue his Ph.D. studies upon approval, we focused on the long-term plans he had and how he was well positioned to achieve his career goals. While ~30 citations overall at the time of filing is not a low number by any means, we ensured that those citations were given proper weight by showing how the two papers that had received citations were highly cited compared to other papers published in the field during the same years.
Additionally, we made sure that the officer was aware that citations to one’s work should not be the only consideration. We highlighted the grant funding that supported his work, the tools he created to address certain limitations in biochemistry, and we provided letters for individuals whom have used this work to further their own in order to furnish a clearer picture of exactly what impact his work has had and what impact his future work should be expected to continue having.
Ultimately, this EB-2 NIW petition was approved without an RFE after nearly 4 months of processing. Filing the petition under the exceptional ability basis instead of waiting for completion of his Ph.D. saved this individual valuable time, and they are now on their path to receiving their green card which will make his future employment search and grant applications easier to obtain in a timely fashion, in addition to making his future travel much simpler than requiring an F-1 visa stamp for entry.
Featured Approval (April 2018):
EB-1A Approval for Political Scientist (No RFE)
There are two main reasons why we prepare individualized petitions based on a client’s background instead of forcing their credentials into a predetermined template: 1) It gives us the best chance of approval and reduces the chances of unnecessary delay due to an RFE or NOID, and 2) It is what the client deserves as we are being trusted with their significant decision to pursue a permanent life in the United States. We have centered our practice around the ability for the client and attorney to work closely and directly with one another, as we do not feel that a case managed like a factory assembly line with different staff working on various aspects allows for this individualized approach.
We had the honor of working with a leading political scientist whose work has largely centered on European politics research and analysis. This individual has published many papers, served as a reviewer for journals, and had plenty of citations to their work; however, presenting the case based on these aspects alone would have the potential of an officer making an unfair comparison of their profile to other highly cited fields, such as molecular biology or chemistry. We could immediately tell that their background and experience placed them as an established political scientist, so we looked at ways in which we could highlight their unique profile.
Outside of their scholarly publications, this individual has had a substantial influence on European politics. We were able to show how their roles shaped policy by being called upon by high-level government officials and entities for analysis, recommendations, and the creation of discussion and learning platforms. While we could have easily referred to their citation count as evidence of their original contributions of major significance, this would not have given the officer the whole picture of why they were extraordinary. By describing the importance of their contributions to well-respected organizations and government entities, in conjunction with showing the prestige of those entities, we were able to present a case with recommendation letters supporting their standing as a leading figure in their field.
Another hurdle we needed to make sure was addressed was how their work will be beneficial to the United States. Working outside of the United States on European politics, it is not immediately clear as to how their continued work on these matters would related to United States policy. We preemptively supplied the adjudicating officer with information regarding the importance of European politics and how they affect the United States in hopes of avoiding an RFE asking for further clarification.
Ultimately, our client was a pleasure to work with and understood our strategy though a series of Skype calls, emails, and messages in our secure client portal. This collaborative approach is what led to an EB-1A approval in 8 days from the premium processing unit.
Featured Approval (March 2018):
EB-1B Approval for Computer Scientist (No RFE)
This month our team received an approval under the Outstanding Professor or Researcher category for an accomplished computer scientist who had developed a minimally invasive colorectal cancer screening technology. Despite having an impressive list of peer-reviewed publications that had been cited more than 100 times, successfully petitioning for a computer scientist under this category posed certain challenges.
Much like the EB-1A category, the EB-1B regulations provide specific ways in which a beneficiary may demonstrate his or her accomplishments in the given field. Unlike the EB-1A, however, the EB-1B must be employer-sponsored and has additional threshold requirements that must be met regarding the underlying position. For example, the employment offer under this category must be for a research position. Regardless of the overall strength of the beneficiary’s credentials, the EB-1B cannot be approved if this threshold requirement is not met. Demonstrating that an underlying job offer is for a research position is often easier said than done. USCIS may request an official job description from an employer handbook or other personnel materials. This causes an issue when, out of convenience, employers have classified an employee under a pre-existing job description that may not fully reflect his or her duties.
Although the beneficiary in this case was heavily involved in cancer research, the beneficiary had a PhD in Computer Science and his official job description focused primarily on his computer programming and software development responsibilities. Anticipating that USCIS may be critical with regards to whether this position met the threshold requirement, our experienced team carefully selected the most appropriate supporting evidence to not only demonstrate the individual’s computer science expertise but also highlight his essential research duties. We worked closely with the employer to draft an employment letter that accurately described his research responsibilities. The petition was approved with premium processing without a request for additional evidence, and needless to say, our client was thrilled with the outcome!
Featured Approval (Feb. 2018):
EB-1B Approval for Medical Physicist after Receiving a NOID from a Difficult Officer at NSC
We were recently presented with an EB-1B case that had received a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) from an officer at the Nebraska Service Center with a reputation for denying strong cases. The client had typically strong credentials for a researcher, with peer review experience, several first-authored papers in highly ranked journals, and over 100 citations. However, while the officer determined that she satisfied three of the regulatory criteria, the NOID was issued because the evidence allegedly did not show that she was internationally recognized as outstanding. Based on our previous experience with the adjudicating officer, we knew that peer review, publications, and citations alone were unlikely to be sufficient, so we decided to focus our response on other evidence that might be more persuasive to this particular officer.
Our client is a medical physicist, but it was her work in a medical specialty that doesn’t usually employ physicists that made her unique. In fact, she is the only physicist working in such a department in any institution in the US. We therefore began by emphasizing how she is a pioneer in combining two fields and has become recognized as the leading expert in the area. We highlighted letters of recommendation confirming this, but we knew that letters alone were unlikely to convince the officer. Thus, we made sure to corroborate these letters with objective, documentary evidence. This evidence included contracts with major pharmaceutical companies and international hospitals that specifically requested our client’s expertise on various projects. Our client was also serving as a chair for a committee of a distinguished professional organization, and had organized an entire conference on her subject of expertise.
After submitting the response to the NOID, our client’s petition was approved in under a week. Because we were familiar with the officer who was adjudicating our client’s case, we knew the types of evidence that were and were not likely to lead to an approval. We were therefore able to frame our response appropriately and obtain an approval even after USCIS indicated they intended to deny the petition. Sometimes, it’s not your credentials but how they are presented that is most important, and that’s when an experienced attorney can be the difference between an approval and a denial.
Featured Approval (Jan. 2018):
NIW Approval for Medical Physicist with 6 Citations
As we’ve talked about in our blog posts on the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW), citations remain one of the best indicators of the chances for success under this category for researchers and scientists. Simply put, a researcher with a high number of citations is likely to have a strong NIW case with a high chance for approval. But we understand that there may be good reasons for having a lower citation record, like working in a field where one’s work is more influential in the real world than in academia, and we therefore know that it is important for a comprehensive NIW evaluation to consider more than just the number of citations. Such is the case for our most recent approval.
Our client is working as a medical physicist treating patients and conducting research. While his PhD satisfied the advanced degree requirement, and his research on the efficacy of different cancer treatments satisfied the substantial merit and national importance prongs, the weakness in his case came from his low citation record. To give him a good chance for approval, it was important to highlight how his work was successful and impactful outside of academia. As a clinical researcher, this is only natural: his work is more useful for clinicians seeking to provide better treatment to their patients than it is to other researchers in his field, but this is perhaps even more important work since it impacts real people and their health. We were able to highlight this through detailed letters of recommendation from a variety of respected professionals in the field, including one who had been influenced in their own treatment of patients.
Overall, through a customized strategy that focused on our client’s individual strengths, we were able to show that he was well experienced, had conducted successful research that had attracted the interest of others, and had made substantial progress on important research in the field of medical physics. His petition was quickly approved by USCIS in under 3 months because we were able to show that he was well positioned to advance the area of medical physics, and that it was beneficial to the U.S. to waive the job offer and labor certification requirements. By taking the time to think about his unique credentials and how best to present them, we were able to help our client achieve his goal of being approved for a National Interest Waiver.
Featured Approval (Dec. 2017):
EB-1A Approval for Physicist After Unreasonable RFE
An unfortunate fact of life when dealing with USCIS is that sometimes the immigration officer reviewing your case just gets it wrong. It can be frustrating to put lots of time and effort into preparing a strong petition only to receive a template Request for Evidence (RFE) or, even worse, an RFE that gets the law wrong. After all, any time an RFE is issued the potential for the case to be denied becomes very real, so responding to the RFE becomes critically important. But immigration officers are people too, and they can make mistakes. When this happens, an experienced attorney can be invaluable in helping correct the officer and receive an approval.
This is what happened to a recent client of ours. A physics research and entrepreneur, his credentials were quite strong: he had served as a Chief Editor of a major international conference, had published articles and book chapters that had been cited over 800 times, had invented technology that had been patented, and had developed nationally-adopted standards for measuring agricultural products. Nevertheless, he received an RFE from an officer who appeared to not understand the EB1A requirements or some basic scientific concepts. Most notably, the RFE challenged the originality of our client’s work because “his contributions appear to be primarily based on established technologies.” Indeed, much of our client’s career had involved taking existing technologies and modifying them to be used in novel applications. The RFE also challenged the “Authorship of Scholarly Articles” criterion, suggesting that our client’s publications did not set him apart from others in his field due to their lack of originality.
We adopted a strategy of politely and clearly explaining why the RFE was mistaken about these issues. We began by explaining that in science, originality does not only mean inventing a new technology. Rather, originality can mean building on the work of others to find new uses for old technology or providing new insight into a problem. We explained how our client’s work was original and supported this explanation with evidence that journals typically do not publish unoriginal research and that patents are not issued to technology that is not novel. We also used a precedent court decision to explain to the officer that USCIS is required to evaluate only the plain language of each criterion and may not impose new requirements.
Our strategy proved successful, as the case was approved less than 2 weeks after we responded to the RFE. While the unreasonable nature of the RFE made it challenging, our attorneys have personally responded to over 1,000 RFEs in their career and knew that a clear, well-reasoned response could still help the case be approved. Receiving an RFE can be a very unpleasant experience, but it doesn’t have to lead to a denial. With the help of an experienced attorney, even cases that receive tough RFEs can be approved.
Featured Approval (Nov. 2017):
EB-1A Approval for Pastry Chef
All too often we get leads who have been evaluated by other firms and are subsequently rejected by them because these firms work on a factory-floor like premise: either your case fits into a preexisting template or you don’t qualify. Yet, there is nothing about the EB-1A petition category that requires one to have citations to published work or to have a certain threshold of citations in order to qualify. Sure, having hundreds upon hundreds of citations in a STEM related field is great and makes things easy when you don’t want to actually craft a case to cater to the individual qualities of someone, but it also fails to recognize that many, many people who don't necessarily have hundreds of citations (or any!) could qualify if their case was actually just developed in the right way.
Our client in this case was one such client. This client has made a career out of being a pastry chef. And as one might guess, pastry chefs don’t tend to publish their work, receive citations or do peer-reviews. As a result, our client was rejected by several other law firms before coming to us saying he didn't qualify. During our evaluation of his case, we took a hard look at his background and found that if his case was simply developed in the right fashion, we could employ some lesser used criteria to apply under to get him approved under the EB-1A standard. As a result, we developed a highly personalized case strategy and began collecting the appropriate evidence to claim the following regulatory categories:
Our client actually had not just a close case, but a really good case. All he needed was a lawyer who knew what to ask for, where to look, and how best to play up his key talents and attributes. The end result was an EB-1A approved within 15 calendar days.
Moral of the story? Working with an attorney that is not simply looking to fit you into a preexisting pigeon hole was the difference for our client between giving up on his dreams of immigrating to the U.S. and finding his way within a matter of weeks to an approved EB-1A.