What Are the Requirements for the EB-1 Visa (Alien of Extraordinary Ability/Outstanding Researcher or Professor) or National Interest Waiver Petition? 

Many people do not apply for the EB-1 or National Interest Waiver (NIW) green card because they are not sure that they meet the requirements for these categories. It is true that these categories are generally reserved for the “best and the brightest,” but on the other hand, it’s not required that you have earned a Nobel Prize to qualify. While each of these categories has different criteria (check it out here), each category requires similar types of documentation. To make your filing as successful and smooth as possible, you will need to include the following documents as appropriate for your case:

  1. Award certificates (nationally or internationally known – not travel grants or university awards)
    1. Information about the award including criteria for judging, size of applicant pool, and general information about the types of people who judge who will receive the award
  2. Professional membership certificates or acceptance letters (for associations that require outstanding achievement to join)
    1. Background information about the association or society
    2. Criteria for membership
  3. Published material about you in professional or major trade publications
    1. Background information about trade publication or professional publication
    2. Impact factor of publishing journal, if applicable
    3. This can include websites, journals, magazines, newspapers, etc.
  4. Documentation that you have judged the work of others
    1. Emails or letters inviting you to review articles submitted for publication
    2. Documentation that you have chaired or co-chaired conference sessions
    3. Documentation that you are editor or co-editor of a journal
    4. Documentation that you have served on the PhD or master’s thesis committee for graduate students (emails, letters, etc)
  5. Evidence of original scientific, scholarly, artistic or business-related contributions of major significance
    1. Research summary including detailed explanation of practical significance of the work
    2. Updated CV or resume
    3. Letters of recommendation (please coordinate with Sumner Immigration Law on this)
    4. Citation indices
    5. Emails or other correspondence requesting copies of your article, or inquiring about your work or your methods
    6. Presentation/scientific conference abstract documenting your presentations at national/international conferences
  6. Copy of articles published – cover page of the journal and at least the first page of the article
  7. Documentation of book chapters/books published – cover page and first page of chapter
  8. Copy of degrees and transcripts (marksheets), with English translation if appropriate
  9. If applying in category of outstanding researcher/professor: letter of experience attesting to at least 3 years of experience, and documentation of permanent job offer or tenure-track position (if you are applying as an alien of extraordinary ability or NIW, we do not need these letters)

Best Practices for a Successful EB-1 or NIW Filing

As you can imagine, there is more to preparing a successful EB-1 or NIW visa application than simply putting this documentation in an envelope. Here are some best practices for the documentation submitted, based on our experience:

  • The quality of the evidence submitted is far more important than the quantity of evidence submitted.
  • The petition must be well organized, and clearly explain and document what your contribution is, and why it is important to the overall field. While it’s okay to mention potential future benefits, it is much more important to specifically outline your past accomplishments. A few questions to consider:
    • How is your work different from that of others in the field?
    • Why is your work important?
    • Who is using your work already? For what purposes?
  • The difference between having a petition approved and having it denied often lies in how the available evidence is presented and organized. Clear, succinct explanations are often required, not only to explain the technical details of the work, but of the importance of the venue in which the work is presented in that particular industry. For example, we have submitted successful petitions for mathematicians in which the client had fewer publications than we typically see for an NIW petition. We explained to USCIS that this is because unlike other fields such as biomedical research, research in the mathematical field takes much longer on average, sometimes years. This results in fewer publications, even for a highly productive researcher, and therefore also fewer citations to their work. This does not diminish the value of their work or their contributions to the field, but just puts it in context for USCIS.

Your Immigration Team: Dedicated to a Streamlined, Successful Process

At Sumner Immigration Law, we understand that the professionals who qualify for the EB-1 and NIW classifications face multiple demands on their time including balancing research, travel, writing, institutional obligations, and last but not least, family responsibilities. We respect this, and therefore work closely with the client to streamline the process as much as possible by:

  • Providing detailed document checklists at the beginning of each new case, to avoid last minute requests for missing documents.
  • Leveraging state-of-the-art online case management, giving clients instant access to forms, and allowing them to check the status of a case even while in preparation stage 24/7.
  • Automating the case preparation process as much as possible using online questionnaires to avoid requesting duplicative information and allowing us, your immigration team, to focus on answering questions and addressing issues that are unique to your case.
  • Maintaining a caseload that allows us to be highly responsive to client emails and calls, and allows for direct access to your attorney and experienced staff.

Contact Sumner Immigration Law today for a free analysis of your potential EB-1 or NIW case! Send your resume or CV to attorney Emily Sumner at info@sumnerimmigration.com