by Victoria Chen, Esq., J.D.
Application for EB-1 and EB-2 is a long journey. During the process of helping our clients walk through the complicated procedure, the first and one of the most important questions we encounter is “whom should I turn to for recommendation letters? “ Indeed, recommendation letters are essential in petition for employment-based immigration benefits. Given that adjusting officers are rarely experts in your field, the only way for them to determine whether you qualify for the standard set by the law (extraordinary ability, exception researcher, exceptional ability etc.) is looking at objective evidence submitted. The evidence includes but not limited to articles, publications, memos, reference letters, expert testimony, support letters, etc. A recommendation letter is among the most important of them. Many people confuse recommendation letters for I-140 petition with those for advance education. Usually, a recommendation letter for graduate school or PhD program is a detailed discussion, from a faculty member, of the personal qualities, accomplishments, and experiences that make you unique and perfect for the programs to which you’ve applied. However, recommendation letters for I-140 petition focus on your influence and contribution to the field of your endeavor. They do not necessarily come from people who know you personally or in depth.
Recommendation Letters from outside the Petitioner’s Immediate Circle of Acquaintances Carry more Weight
We have kept emphasizing the point with our clients that the USCIS takes the position that an individual with sustained national or international acclaim should be able to produce ample unsolicited materials reflecting that acclaim. Therefore, recommendation letters from independent and outside sources carry more weight because they are proof of the petitioner’s accomplishments. If a petitioner’s contributions are not praised widely outside his or her current and former circle of acquaintances, then it cannot be concluded that he or she has earned sustained national or international acclaim or is truly exceptional or outstanding. Therefore, the government will not give as much weight to letters from the petitioner’s immediate circle of colleagues submitted in support of the criterion of original contributions of major significance in the field. Moreover, objectivity is one of the factors considered by the USCIS. Letters of support from other employees of the same petitioner or organization that is currently employing the alien or seeks to employ the alien may be rejected on the basis that they lack objectivity.
Supporting letters from experts or authorities have more weight.
Generally, individuals recognized as authorities or experts in the field are given greater weight. A statement should be included in the support letter that establishes the qualifications of these individuals to judge the alien’s work. Testimonial letters from undistinguished colleagues or former college instructors have been subject to greater scrutiny than letters submitted by high-level officials of recognized major organizations.
A Recommender should be Able to Specifically Address your Accomplishments and Contribution
In addition to be an expert in the field of your endeavor, it will better if the person writing you a recommendation letter knows about your research and contribution enough to specifically address them in the recommendation letter. Therefore, although someone who has a prominent reputation in the field of your endeavor will be a better candidate than someone from your immediate circle of acquaintances, a perfect candidate will be an expert familiarizing himself/herself of your contribution.
Recommendation letters from Government Officials Helps Substantially in a National Interest Waiver Case
As suggested by the INS (now the USCIS) in its regulations, letters from government officials and agencies attesting to the national interests which will be served by the alien’s permanent residence will greatly increase the chances of success in a national interest waiver case. To sum up, keep in mind that adjusting officers have no way to understand your research and contributions given that it is not their expertise. The only way for them to determine whether you have been qualified for a certain category is by reviewing the objective evidence you submit. A recommendation letter is an important indicator of your accomplishments. Therefore you should seek someone who is not only an independent expert but also has sufficient knowledge about your accomplishments and able to address them in a recommendation letter.
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).
Our Ten Thousand I-140 Approvals Provide Unprecedented Insight into the USCIS Adjudication Trend
With 12,000 EB-1A, EB-1B and EB-2 NIW approvals, we have first hand information on the manner in which the USCIS adjudicate I-140 cases. As the USCIS has constantly changed its adjudication standards for the EB-1A, EB-1B and EB-2 NIW categories, our firm's huge database of successful cases gives you unprecedented insight to USCIS adjudication trends. We carefully analyze the data for all of our cases and apply the results of our analyses toward giving our clients up-to-date advice and adapting our strategies such that we remain on par with the ever-shifting landscape of immigration law in the U.S. With us, you will always have access to important updates, strategies, and information so that you can make the most informed decisions about your case.
We Have Helped Hundreds and Thousands of Clients with Credentials and Backgrounds Similar to Yours
With our exceedingly large number of successful petitions, no matter what credentials you have, no matter your background and field of expertise, no matter your visa status or nationality, chances are we have helped hundreds or even thousands of clients just like you. Our clients are usually impressed with how well we understand their research and work. Our insight and understanding stems from the fact that we have handled many cases with elements similar to yours already, and this helps us devise the best strategies for each individual petition.
Vast Majority of Clients Came to Us Because of Referrals
For years, our firm has attracted new clients based solely on word of mouth, recommendations, and the positive collaboration experiences shared with them by their friends and family. We take pride in our reputation and work hard to ensure that we provide a green card application experience that our clients are happy to share with their friends and colleagues. That is how our approvals grew from 600 in 2013 to more than 3,000 in 2017.
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