Clarity and Strength in Immigration Law

Three keys to successful letters of recommendation for fast-track petitions (EB-1/NIW)!

Key # 1: Make sure you have the “right” number of letters for your petition

There is no set number of letters of recommendation that is required in the regulations. The specific number used in any given case will depend in part on the quality and amount of other evidence available. In some cases, more letters may be required to more fully explain your qualifications and contributions. In other cases, the documentation may speak for itself, and you may need fewer letters. While having a sufficient number of letters is important, the quality of the letters is also important, as well as who writes them. Having most of the letters from people in your immediate circle of contacts (supervisors, colleagues at your institution, etc) will not be as effective as having letters of recommendation from a wide type of sources. Both too few letter and too many letters can hurt your petiton.

Key # 2: Have a balanced mix of referee sources (referees are the people who write the letters)

Generally, we include a letter of recommendation from your supervisor, your PhD supervisor (if applicable), a few current colleagues within and outside of your institution, current and past collaborators, colleagues you have met at conferences or who know you from your publications or presentations, and colleagues from government agencies and/or from industry. Make sure you have a good “mix” of letters, as this is important for a successful petition. 

Key # 3: Make sure the letters include clear, detailed information about your work

Generally, the letters open with an introductory paragraph, including background information about the person writing the letter, and information about how the person knows you. This is to establish their credibility. This is generally followed by a summary of your own background and qualifications, and then followed by an outline of your contributions in the field. Most importantly, the letter must include detailed information about the significance of your work, meaning why it is important in the field.

Need help with your letters of recommendation for your EB-1 or NIW filing? Contact Sumner Immigration Law today to allieve your stress and expedite your petition preparation atesumner@sumnerimmigration.com.