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  • ProfVal

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

Updated: Jan 17


Zachary Johnson, PhD

Matthew Gardener

 

This post is part of ProfVal’s series on the EB class of visas. Nothing posted here or anywhere on ProfVal.com is legal advice. ProfVal, LLC offers services to support EB-1 and EB-2 NIWpetitions, which include: Professional Plans & Business Plans, EB-1 Expert Opinion Letters, EB-2 NIW Expert Opinion Letters, and academic transcript equivalence evaluations (3rd party service).

 

Introduction

ProfVal’s team will work with hundreds of petitioners who are applying for EB-1 and EB-2 NIW visa petitions this year. To support their petitions, our team will provide a variety of services including:


  • Resumes crafted to align with EB-1 and EB-2 criteria

  • Assistance with drafting support letters

  • The development of professional or business plans

  • Expert Opinion Letters


Through this work, our team and the experts we work with has contributed to visa approvals in industries as varied as aviation, business, entertainment, hospitality, engineering, law, medical areas, and more. We believe that approvals of qualified persons help to strengthen the United States and contribute to our mission of promoting equality of opportunity. 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, promoting equality of opportunity is central to our mission; second, we want to profit from your success, not your challenges; third, a rigorous acceptance process means that we believe our clients are more likely to succeed. Thus, we require the following two acceptance criteria of potential clients:


  • Clients must meet our internal acceptance criteria: Our team may review clients’ credentials prior to payment and will always carefully review client documentation prior to the experts’ review. We will halt work on projects if our team or an expert determines that a client does not meet the requirements of the visa are petitioning for.

  • Clients must have legal representation: We require clients to attest that they are represented by an immigration attorney, case worker, or other qualified legal expert affiliated with an immigration law firm.


You might wonder why we would ever reject paying clients. Beyond our mission, professional goals, and ethical views, EB-1 and EB-2 visa petitions are complex processes with legal implications. Only attorneys can provide legal advice -- and we believe you need it.


*As a reminder, no one at ProfVal can offer legal advice.


The Complexity of 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. 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?

At a baseline, an immigration attorney is bound the rules of the bar to which they are admitted -- the bar is the organization that grants an attorney the legal right to practice law. Attorneys admitted to the bar must generally meet requirements based on their degree, passing a professional responsibility exam, have taken and passed a course or course in legal ethics, and pass a character and fitness examination related to their moral character.


Beyond initial acceptance, an attorney can be "disbarred", which means that they can lose their license to practice law based on incompetence or moral failings. Put simply, your representation by a qualified attorney provides a level of protection for you from negligence, a lack of legal knowledge, moral failings, or even fraud.


At ProfVal, we want to work with clients positioned to succeed and representation by an attorney provides immediate evidence showing that a petitioner meets the core requirements for their visa. Further, 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 and provide the legal arguments that are necessary for your case. 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 can 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.


As a reminder, no one at ProfVal can offer legal advice, but ProfVal can provide a free referral to an outside 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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