Reference Letters for NIW (National Interest Waiver) and EB-1 (Aliens of Extraordinary Ability and Outstanding Professor/Researcher)

Reference letters are important since they serve as crucial evidence for the meeting the necessary criteria. They can be used to demonstrate or confirm the significance of the alien’s work and the recognition of their achievements.

The alien should choose letter writers who are experts in the alien’s field or in a similar field. Unlike typical reference letters, for employment based immigration petitions, it is best to find independent letter writers who do not know the alien personally and have not worked with him/her. This is because USCIS views independent letter writers as having less of a personal stake in having the petition approved. It is also helpful to find letter writers who can demonstrate that the work has had an influence on other researchers in the field.

Petitions should have at least several reference letters, which include a short biography of the letter writer’s credentials, discussion of the alien’s work and why it is significant. A good reference letter should overall demonstrate the alien’s ability. The letter writer should clearly state that the letter is independent if it is. It is important to back up claims with evidence in letters. It is also necessary to emphasize what the alien has already accomplished, as opposed to describing work as promising or perhaps being significant in the future.

Reference letters can be used to demonstrate achievement/influence in an area where the alien’s credentials are not as strong.