Letters of recommendation are commonly used as evidence that a foreign national should receive a national interest waiver to live and work in the United States. If you are seeking an EB-2 NIW you will likely need three to five letters of recommendation from employers, professors, colleagues, and others whom you have impressed during your career.
Because your potential recommenders are often as busy as you are, they may ask you to draft the letter yourself and provide it to them for signature and letterhead. But that then leaves you with the dilemma of how to write an EB2 NIW letter of recommendation, and you will likely look for sample LORs.
How to Begin an EB-2 NIW Letter of Recommendation
Since most foreign nationals provide USCIS with more than one letter of recommendation, each of the salutations on the EB-2 NIW LORs can vary, so that each of the 3-5 endorsements look different from each other. Some sample ways to begin a national interest waiver letter of recommendation include the following:
The second paragraph should be about the recommender
The second paragraph of an EB-2 NIW letter of recommendation will differ depending on the type of recommender. It should state the person’s name, their title, and a bit about their education. For an executive recommender, the second paragraph of a national interest waiver LOR may describe their career or any specific accomplishments that they have such as awards. An academic recommender’s letter of recommendation might list examples of notable published research or patents.
Although some sample NIW letters of recommendation may spend several pages on the kudos garnered by the recommender, spending too much time on these accomplishments can distract attention from the green card beneficiary. Although some discussion of the recommender’s education and awards can lend some credibility to the letter and show that this person’s opinion about you should carry some weight, ideally no more than two paragraphs about the recommender are likely necessary.
What are the EB2 NIW beneficiary’s, talents and qualifications?
After a few paragraphs about the signer of the NIW letter of recommendation, there can be a few sentences about how that person knows the EB-2 beneficiary. For example, they might be a work supervisor, a thesis advisor, or heard the EB2 NIW seeker speak at a conference.
Next would be several paragraphs on how the foreign national stands out from among their peers because they have specialties in the areas of X, Y, and Z. Mentions of a sampling of specific awards, memberships, published research, and citations, might also be appropriate items to include in this section of the EB-2 NIW letter of recommendation.
Substantial Merit and National Importance
Then it might be prudent to include a section on how the EB2 NIW beneficiary's work has substantial merit and national importance. Going on whitehouse.gov and congress.gov are excellent websites to find examples of national importance.
The information about substantial merit and national importance should read a natural, rather than quoted from the website. That way this section of the letter seems like more of a recommendation than a research paper.
Write a closing for the letter
The ending on an EB-2 national interest waiver letter of recommendation can be like any sample LOR. It can restate a vehement endorsement of the foreign national for a national interest waiver.
Finally, it can tell USCIS that they can feel free to contact the recommenders should any other information be needed or if there are questions. The signer of the letter should include their title and contact information.
Some EB2 NIW lawyers might draft a sample LOR
At Gallagher Domanski we offer our clients one free letter of recommendation. If you retain us to represent you for your national interest waiver petition, we will draft one letter of recommendation for you for free.
We will ask you for the name of the recommender and a link to an online profile for them, such as their LinkedIn profile. Contact us if you would like a free CV evaluation for your EB-2 NIW petition.
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The EB2 National Interest Waiver, as you might know, has three requirements which derive from Matter of Dhanasar. Many NIW seekers are highly familiar with the substantial merit, national importance, and well positioned criteria, but somehow the third prong of Dhanasar gets glossed over in their petition letter.
The third requirement listed is Dhanasar is that would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer, and thus a labor certification. It would be to your credit to show USCIS that you meet this criterion as well when you apply for an EB2 NIW green card.
Job offer/labor certification is impractical
The first portion of establishing that the USA should waive the job offer and labor certification requirement can discuss its impracticality as it applies to the NIW seeker’s career. For example, a researcher might conduct research in more than one lab, depending on where grants are available for funding.
Additionally, someone who has a unique specialization that would not be clearly described in a labor certification can use this section of the petition letter to tell that fact to USCIS. Also, a foreign national who is an entrepreneur can point out in their petition letter that they are employing themselves and will be creating jobs in the United States.
Benefit the USA despite the availability of other qualified American workers
Although it might be arguable that there is a shortage of American workers in many fields, an EB-2 NIW self-petitioner can proceed with caution and include an argument that even if there were other qualified U.S. workers available, it would still benefit the USA to grant the national interest waiver.
One way to show that a foreign national will benefit the United States despite the availability of American workers is to cited statistics on the projected growth of the career. Searching for numbers in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook at bls.gov/ooh is a marvelous way to establish potential future labor shortages in the coming decade.
Sufficiently urgent to warrant a waiver of the labor certification
Restating the national importance of the proposed endeavor in the United States can be a great way to establish the urgency of granting an EB-2 national interest waiver. Websites like whitehouse.gov and congress.gov may provide excellent examples of what is currently being discussed on the floor of Congress.
There could be an executive order that reflects the urgency of the endeavors, or perhaps President Biden mentioned the work in a speech. It may be prudent to discuss these facts in this part of the petition letter, even if it was listed in the section on substantial merit and national importance.
Talk to an immigration attorney with EB-2 NIW experience
Immigration lawyers who focus on green cards for highly skilled professionals may be able to provide you with valuable information on how you can achieve an EB-2 NIW. A capable NIW attorney in your area, or who is available remotely, may have prior clients in your field that have been successful in showing USCIS that they meet the Dhanasar criteria.
By discussing your qualifications with an EB2 NIW lawyer, you can also learn more about national interest waiver processing times and filing fees.