A common question among foreign nationals who are applying for an employment-based green card is, “How many letters of recommendation will I need?” Of course, a general response from immigration attorneys is “It depends on your case.” No two NIW cases are exactly the same, so a thorough review of your background generally gives the green card lawyer a better idea of what will build a strong petition.
There is no set number of letters of recommendation that are required by USCIS. Therefore, the content, rather than the quantity, of the letters may be more important to create a compelling national interest waiver evidence package.
Common numbers of LORs
Three to five letters can be an adequate number of letters, especially when there is other evidence to support it. An EB2 NIW petition could have as many as 8 to 11 LORs and still receive an RFE.
Yet a strong national interest waiver petition could have as few as 3 to 5 letters of recommendation and still be approved. The letters of recommendation generally do not make or break a petition that otherwise meets the Dhanasar criteria.
Showing years of employment with letters
Those EB-2 NIW beneficiaries who have ten or more years of employment may need more letters of recommendation than other candidates. Such persons may want to provide supporting evidence of their decade or more of experience to show that they are well positioned to achieve their endeavors in the United States.
Persons who have had more jobs during the past ten years may need more LORs to demonstrate this employment. For example, someone who has changed positions every other year during the last decade might need five letters to establish these responsibilities. Letter of employment can be provided by human resources or a person in a supervisory role.
What USCIS does say about letters?
In the USCIS policy manual, the service indicates that a letter may be given some weight, but they should not be the “cornerstone of a successful claim.”
It can be important to have other objective evidence to go with an EB petition as well, rather than trying to get somebody to say something in their letter that will prove what a green card candidate has done without other documents to support the statements.
Your immigration attorney might help
Green card lawyers in your area have likely reviewed hundreds of letters of recommendation. Therefore, they may have ideas for what might be included in a letter of recommendation to strengthen your national interest waiver case.