Case Study: Appeal Sustained and Petition Approved by AAO on a NIW petition for an Alien Who had less than 30 independent citations


The petitioner seeks employment as a research associate at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center (NJMRC). The petitioner asserts that an exemption from the requirement of a job offer, and thus of a labor certification, is in the national interest of the United States. The director found that the petitioner qualifies for classification as a member of the professions holding an advanced degree but that the petitioner had not established that an exemption from the requirement of a job offer would be in the national interest of the United States.

USCIS Decision:

The director denied the petition, stating that the record lacks independent
confirmation that the petitioner’s research has been especially important or
influential within his field. The director asserted that the petitioner’s citation
record is minimal, suggesting that the petitioner’s many published articles have
had minimal impact on other researchers. The director also questioned whether the
petitioner had been a key researcher on his various projects.  The petitioner has submitted documentation showing how frequently three of his articles have been cited. One was cited once, which was a self-citation; a second article was cited three times; and a third has 11 citations, including two self-citations, for an aggregate total of 12 independent citations.

AAO Decision:

The new citation materials submitted on appeal show 34 citations of the petitioner’s work, five of which are self-citations. This total includes the 15 citations previously documented. This evidence, pertaining to work that the petitioner had done before the petition was filed, indicates that the petitioner’s research has had significant and growing influence. The director had observed that the petitioner was the second-named author, rather than the first-named author, for most of the cited articles. The petitioner’s collaborators have explained the nature and extent of the petitioner’s contributions to these articles and the projects that gave rise to them. The full scope of witness letters extends beyond these collaborators, and further confirms that one need not have worked with the petitioner to recognize the importance of his past contributions.

Upon careful consideration of the available evidence, on balance the materials in the record are favorable toward the petitioner’s claim of eligibility for a national interest waiver. The record offers independent evidence of the significance of the petitioner’s work, in the form of witness letters and increasing citation of the petitioner’s published work. The record supports the claim that the petitioner’s efforts have yielded important new information regarding a genetic basis of cancer.

from Chen Immigration Law Associates


North America Immigration Law Group (Chen Immigration Law Associates) is a U.S. immigration law firm dedicated to representing corporations, research institutions, and individuals from all 50 U.S. states regarding I-140 immigration petitions. We specialize in employment-based immigration petition and have a proven record of high success rate for the categories of: EB2-NIW (National Interest Waiver), EB1-A (Alien of Extraordinary Ability) and EB1-B (Outstanding Researcher/Professor).

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