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How to Write an EB-2 NIW Recommendation Letter in 2022

Posted on August 31, 2022
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By Heather Beliles, M. Ed.

Letters of recommendation are vital components of a National Interest Waiver (NIW) petition, and therefore must include specific information attesting the petitioner’s claims for why he or she is entitled to the waiver. In this post, we will show you how to write an EB-2 NIW recommendation letter.

The letters should come from experts who can give testament of the petitioner’s intrinsic merit and their exceptional ability, specifying not only the applicant’s accomplishments, but also their contribution to their field.

The writers should also include relevant qualifications to present their own opinion about the applicant, an explanation of why the applicant is working in an area of high merit, and evidence of how their work will be of essential benefit to the United States as a whole, as well as any additional supporting materials.

Applicants must submit a minimum of five reference letters, but up to seven. The reason being is that USCIS officers are most likely not experts in the applicant’s field, and they determine the applicant’s qualifications based largely on the contents of his or her recommendation letters.

EB-2 NIW Recommendation Letter Requirements

While writing a letter of recommendation, it should be recalled, the EB-2 NIW requirements are the following:

  • The applicant must be applying to a job which requires an advanced degree, and must hold such degree, or its equivalent
  • Proof that the applicant’s work in the U.S. has, or will have a substantial positive impact on health, education, economy, technology, business, etc.
  • The applicant’s qualifications are unique to the development and advancement of their work (specialized degrees, experience, skills, etc. can be considered)
  • Proof that the United States will benefit more from the applicant’s contribution, than by enforcing PERM, thereby waiving the labor certification requirement

Who Should Write NIW Recommendation Letters

  • Experts who can confirm the applicant's research contributions to the profession
  • Someone who is familiar with the applicant's work
  • Experts who can solidify the petitioner’s claim of meeting the NIW requirements
  • Additionally, experts who are not currently in the same company
  • They can be based in a different country
  • They do not necessarily have to be written by individuals who know the applicant personally, so long as their letter concentrates on the applicant’s significant contribution to their field

What to Include in a EB-2 NIW Recommendation Letter

EB-2 reference letters should include the following:

  • Introduction about the nature of the recommendation letter
  • Information about the expert/writer
    • Qualifications of the writer which substantiates his or her ability to write the recommendation
    • The writer’s role
    • The writer’s association with the applicant
    • The familiarity he or she has of the applicant's work
    • Any other supporting evidence which validates the writer’s capacity – as it relates to the petitioner’s achievements and the significance their role has been
  • Information about the applicant
    • All relevant expertise the applicant has, specifying his or her work, or research - namely their published scholarly articles as well as any relevant presentations
    • Commentary on how the applicant meets the the requirements of the NIW
    • Any evidence demonstrating the petitioner is in the position to advance within his or her proposed endeavor  
    • Materials that have been published about the petitioner
    • Any works the petitioner has previously judged
    • All relevant awards, grants, association memberships (which require outstanding achievements)
    • A description of how the petitioner’s work would benefit the country if the labor certification requirements were to be waived
  • Conclusion

It is also advised that NIW applicants have their work experience as well as their advanced degrees evaluated by a professional evaluation agency. The USCIS allows for a three-to-one ratio, meaning three years of work experience is equal to one year of college experience. 

While writers of NIW recommendation letters do not necessarily have to be immigration lawyer, it is highly recommended the petitioner seeks one so he or she can guide the petitioner and their recommender through the process. A letter of recommendation should follow immigration law and NIW requirement precedents, otherwise it may be denied by the USCIS adjudicator.

What Not to Include in an EB-2 NIW Recommendation Letter

  • The applicant’s competence in the field
  • What potentially fails to set the applicant apart from others in the field

As well as:

  • Multiple letters similar in nature
  • Similar grammatical errors

When an applicant supplies several recommendation letters appearing quite similar, it indicates to USCIS officers that the applicant most likely wrote them (or even someone else). This is especially true when there are some typographical or grammatical errors occurring in the same way across more than one letter. Such inclusions will most likely be used to deny the petition, as this does not support the applicant’s claim of meeting NIW requirements. 

If there are six recommenders, there should be six completely different recommendation letters - other than the formatting. This shows due diligence was followed on the part of the applicant by requesting such reference letters from professionals who can speak about the applicant’s sustained esteem.

Conclusion of How to Write an EB-2 NIW Recommendation Letter

The letters should be persuasive in nature, not only attesting to the past and current field contributions the petitioner has made, but also demonstrating how their work is so important and would benefit the United States, in fields such as technology, business, healthcare, economics, etc. This is why USCIS officers require at least 5-7 reference letters.

It can be said, the opinion of experts and field authorities is so highly regarded that their recommendation letters have a much greater impact on the success of the application’s NIW petition. With this in mind, the writer of the letter should also include their qualifications to judge the petitioner’s work. Conversely, letters simply from instructors, co-workers or colleagues will be met with higher scrutiny.

It is important to note, letters of recommendations from individuals who have not worked with the applicant are seen as stronger letters by USCIS officers, as this further validates the petitioner’s claims. Otherwise, letters from the applicant’s sphere of influence could be seen as biased.

It is expected that the writer is proactive in their recommendation letter process, gathering and including materials proving the applicant has either national or international acclaim.

So as to be confident the petitioner’s work satisfies the requirements of the USCIS, it is strongly advised that he or she has their work and college experience evaluated by a professional evaluation agency.

Sample of EB-2 NIW Recommendation Letter:

Fremons, Inc.

123 Abc Street Houston, 

TX 77007, USA 

www.samplesite.com

January 01, 2022

To: US Department of Homeland Security - US Citizenship and Immigration Service 

I-140, P.O. Box 660128, Dallas, TX 75266

Re: Recommendation letter for Fransisco Garamond Petition (EB-2 National Interest Waiver) 

Dear USCIS Officer,  

It is with great pleasure that I write this letter of recommendation for Mr. Frank Garamond's petition for Permanent Residency in the United States of America under the EB-2 National Interest Waiver category. 

Please allow me to first briefly introduce myself. My name is Hannah Arial, and I have recently retired from International Olgas Inc. in Houston after 21 years where I served as a corrosion/erosion engineer. I was previously at NEI as an oil and gas technology advisor. Prior to NEI, I spent 14 years with Ditus where I was the liaison for international oil in more than 15 countries. Some of the roles I had include consulting, data analysis, operations management, and technology advancement. I currently hold 1 patent and have authored more than 100 publications. I have held leadership positions, received multiple awards, and was a distinguished lecturer for more than five professional organizations. 

During the past 12 years, I have witnessed first-hand Mr. Garamond's invaluable contributions to the national and international oil and gas industry. Mr. Garamond is an engineer who specializes in the ethical advancement of sourcing and macro mining. He currently holds 42 published patents, though this number consistently increases as he develops innovative solutions. He has authored 25 peer-reviewed publications where he has presented a multitude of successful case studies where he has demonstrated the financial and ethical benefits of his work. 

I met Mr. Garamond and the team he led at OilStart Inc. when I was working at NEI. My objective was to identify forerunners whose ideas focus on the positive impact the oil and gas industry can have on the earth. The technology Mr. Garamond presented was astounding and substantial. In January 2015, we collaborated on a project which is his 27th patented tool, where my team and I funded the project. It was his idea to reduce the risk of possible future obsolescence in the spare parts assigned to certain ocean platforms, including 2NE1. Mr. Garamond was able to fashion the most innovative drill  and pipe from $1m worth of parts, thus also significantly reducing the chances for nano fractions from the entry nozzle to chamber 3. The project was and still is a huge success. It was at that time that my team and I understood his innovative spirit and how he would play an essential role in my company, but also in the USA.

Vell Offshore and ABI have been using this technology on all new drills ever since. It is critical that Mr. Garamond stays in the U.S. to oversee his current innovation as he is the inventor and investor.  His involvement is imperative and he should remain physically available inside country, otherwise efficiency and safety would be jeopardized

On a macro level, it is also crucial for the United States energy sector to continue to follow such advancements, especially at the location of entry into the sub-water earth. Mr. Garamond's unique skill set will serve the interests of the United States, and as such comes with my highest recommendations for the National Interest Waiver.

Respectfully,

Hannah Arial

Executive Director - Fremons, Inc.

123 Abc Street Houston, TX 77007, USA 

www.samplesite.com

Tel: +1-555-555-5555 Cell: +1-555-555-5555,  

Email: harial@gmail.com

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Write an EB-2 NIW Recommendation Letter (FAQs)

Why do I have to have so many eb-2 NIW recommendation letters?

Such letters of recommendations are a vital component to the applicant’s petition for an EB-2 NIW. They are essentially testimonials of the applicant’s accomplishments.  

What should be included in an NIW recommendation letter?

Including, but not limited to:

  1. Information about the writer and which qualifications they have to be able to judge the applicant’s work and experience.
  2. All relevant awards, grants, published works from the petitioner.
  3. Solid reasons for why the applicant’s work benefits the United States.
  4. All relevant materials proving such claims.

Who writes NIW recommendation letters for graduate school and PhD programs?

Oftentimes, faculty members write NIW recommendation letters for NIW applicants. They will need to write about the applicant’s personal qualities, his or her previous accomplishments, and their relevant experience demonstrating why they are unique and ideal for the program.

Should I use a template for an NIW recommendation letter?

Templates are strongly advised against. Such recommendation letters require a foundation of immigration law as well as regulations set by the USCIS. Therefore it is suggested to seek an immigration attorney for assistance if the writer is unfamiliar with the proper format.

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