• ProfVal

EB-1 and EB-2 NIW Petitions: the Importance of Immigration Attorneys and Firms


Zachary Johnson, PhD

Matthew Gardener


Introduction

ProfVal’s team will complete hundreds of Expert Opinion Letters (EOL) for EB-1 and EB-2 NIW visa petitions this year for persons of extraordinary (EB-1) or exceptional (EB-2) ability. Our clients have received approvals in industries as varied as aviation, business, entertainment, hospitality, engineering, law, medical areas, and more.


Our clients’ successes strengthen the U.S., which some may be surprised to learn was the original goal in creating the EB-1 and EB-2 visa categories. This goal, however, is based upon petitioners meeting certain requirements. For ProfVal, this means that we seek to only accept clients who we believe meet the requirements of these visas.


This is important for various reasons: first, we seek to support the goals of the EB-1 and EB-2 NIW visas via work that helps qualified petitioners; second, we take no satisfaction in profiting from failure. In support of this goal, clients may go through various rounds of screening.


For clients, this means that all clients must attest that they are represented by an immigration attorney, case worker, or other qualified legal expert who will review all of their documents. On our end, we often review clients’ credentials prior to payment and always review client documentation prior to the experts’ review. Moreover, as part of our expert onboarding agreement, our experts understand our policy in that they should only complete work on EOLs that they fully agree with. Experts may receive partial or full payment after the rejection of an EOL.


Understanding the EB-1 and EB-2 visas

The EB-1 is for persons of extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and some multinational executives. Depending on their profession, an EB-1 visa petitioner must demonstrate a history of leadership, publications, high salary, national awards, or other significant contributions to their field.


Some EB-1 visas are self-sponsored, meaning an applicant does not need to secure a job with a U.S. entity before applying. Recipients of internationally recognized prizes such as Oscars, Pulitzers, Nobel prizes, or other internationally recognized awards often apply via the EB-1. Read more about our EB-1 services.


The EB-2 is for persons of exceptional ability or with advanced degrees. Most of ProfVal’s clients are applying for an EB-2 NIW. In an EB-2 NIW, applicants can be granted a national interest waiver (NIW), allowing them to self-sponsor their visa, if their contributions to the U.S. are deemed to have a significant benefit for the United States. Our clients typically hold a bachelors or graduate degree, have 10+ years of experience, and qualify based on other EB-2 criteria (i.e., salary, certifications, licensure, support letters from colleagues, or other criteria such as EB-1 criteria). Read more about our EB-2 NIW services here.


Employment-based visas are highly sought-after as they provide experienced professionals a direct route to U.S. citizenship. Being granted these visas takes a well-organized application and a thorough understanding of the documentation required for the appropriate category. An immigration attorney with experience navigating the visa process can be a crucial resource, whether collecting the appropriate documents to self-sponsor or completing the labor certification process (PERM) required for employer sponsorship.[1]


Why is an immigration attorney important for the EB-1 and EB-2 NIW?


The employment-based visa process is a popular route for trained professions to immigrate to the U.S. Self-petitioners may be surprised that seemingly minor or inadvertent omissions can lead to delays, Requests For Evidence (RFE), or even denials.


Immigration attorneys can also help complete forms, work with employers, or clarify details of your case during your USCIS interview.[2] They serve as your counsel throughout the entire immigration process, which is much more complex than many petitioners realize.


At a broad level, an immigration attorney can help you more effectively petition for a visa—increasing your chances at approval.[3] A competent immigration attorney will develop a legal strategy based on his or her legal expertise and experience, along with your background. Many attorneys will anticipate a Request for Evidence (RFE) and create a multi-stage strategy.


If you receive an RFE, which is very likely for EB-1 and EB-2 NIW visas, an immigration attorney can help you reply with all required information. Petitioners without attorneys will often share irrelevant information or information that unintentionally harms their chances, or leads to greater complexity in their case.


“An immigration lawyer who has specialized legal knowledge and can answer the request in a concise and informative way can prove to be very helpful in completing the RFE appropriately.”[4] A timely, complete, and legally-sound RFE response will decrease your chances of denial.

Conclusion

An immigration attorney will help you choose the best visa path for you and avoid delays along the way, particularly if you intend to self-sponsor. By organizing your application with an immigration attorney ahead of time, ProfVal can more efficiently and effectively complete any required documents such as Expert Opinion Letters or business and professional plans.


ProfVal does not offer legal advice, but ProfVal can provide a free referral to an immigration attorney with prior EB-1 and/or EB-2 NIW successes.



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[1] https://www.battanalpert.com/business-based-immigration/employment-based-immigrant-petitions/ [2] https://cilawgroup.com/news/2019/06/28/should-i-bring-an-attorney-with-me-to-the-uscis-interview/ [3] https://www.colombohurdlaw.com/employment-green-cards/eb-2-national-interest-waiver-niw/ [4] https://www.lyttlelaw.com/request-for-evidence-rfe.html

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