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Support Letters for EB-1 and EB-2 NIW Visa Applications

Updated: Apr 3

Highlights: 

  • This post is part of ProfVal’s EB-1, EB-2, and EB-2 NIW series

  • Provides an overview of Support Letters and the role they play in the EB-1 and EB-2 visa process.

  • Support letters are often included within an EB-1 or EB-2 NIW petition.

  • A Support Letter is not the same as an Expert Opinion Letter


  • If you would like our help in drafting a support letter, get a quote on our contact page.


Authors:

Rebecca R., Account Coordinator

Zachary J., PhD. Founding Partner







What is a Support Letter?


A Support Letter (also known as a Letter of Recommendation) is a letter written by someone who can recommend your work or academic performance. In the EB visa context, a Support Letter describes your qualifications and skills and discusses the qualities and capabilities that prepare you for success in your endeavor in the United States, thus making you a good candidate for a permanent visa.


How is a Support Letter different from an Expert Opinion Letter or Independent Letter of Recommendation?


Both Support Letters and Expert Opinion Letters are important parts of the EB-1 or EB-2 NIW  visa application process, but it is important to note the different purposes they serve. While a Support Letter can also be called a Letter of Recommendation, it is not an Independent Letter of Recommendation because it comes from someone who already knows you. Put simply, the writer knows and probably likes you.


So how are Support Letters different than Expert Opinion Letters?


  • Support Letters (or Recommendation Letters) are shorter letters (typically 3-4 pages) signed by a peer or supervisor from your network (“inner circle”), providing details about their past work experience with you. 


  • An Expert Opinion Letter (EOL) from Profval.com is a longer letter (typically 15 - 25 pages) from an independent expert in your field. An EOL from ProfVal represents an in-depth and customized research-based document authored by an expert who does not know you, but who has domain knowledge relevant to your endeavor. In this way, an EOL meets USCIS requirements for an Independent Letter of Recommendation



What is the role of Support Letters in the EB-1 or EB-2 NIW visa process?


When applying for an EB-2 NIW visa, applicants must meet at least 3 of the USCIS criteria to qualify. One of these criteria is “recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations.” Support Letters are often used as evidence for this criteria.


Similarly, EB-1 visa applicants must meet at least 3 of the USCIS’ criteria to demonstrate extraordinary ability. Support Letters can be used to help provide evidence regarding your substantial contributions to your field. 


Ultimately, gathering letters of support from professionals within your inner network is an important step for visa petitions, as these letters help to illustrate your "extraordinary ability" and provide detailed, first-hand information about your skills and achievements.


The content of Support Letters is applicable throughout the visa petition, as it provides evidence of your accomplishments, talents, and skills, as well as the impact you have had in your field. Because of this, quotes from your Support Letters can be used in several of the other documents necessary for a visa petition, such as a Professional Plan or an Expert Opinion Letter. Recommenders can also be included in your Resume / CV.


How do I get Support Letters? 


The first thing to do in order to get a Support Letter is to identify individuals in your internal network who you have worked with in some capacity, and who you believe will be able to provide a positive recommendation for you. Former managers, supervisors, coworkers, professors, or mentors are typically the best people to ask, as they have established working relationships with you and can attest to your strengths as an employee, team member, or student.


Next, you will want to reach out to these individuals to see if they can provide a positive recommendation. If they can, provide them with a bit of context on your proposed endeavor in the United States. They may choose to write their letter on their own, or you can work with ProfVal to draft a letter that your contact(s) would review, update, and sign. Accepted clients can also review our free support letter guide.


A good Support Letter should discuss your working relationship, your skills as an employee, and your personal and professional character. It should also include anecdotes or specific accomplishments that you have made in your field, and the benefits these accomplishments have led to.


Once your recommenders finalize their letters and send you signed copies, you can share the letters with your attorney and include them in your visa application.


What is ProfVal's role in the EB-1 or EB-2 NIW process?


For the EB-1 and EB-2, our team regularly provides highly customized resumes, support letters, detailed immigration business / professional plans, and Expert Opinion Letters, on behalf of our  clients, either in an initial application or as part of a response to an RFE. 


An EB-1 or EB-2 Support Letter from ProfVal represents a professionally crafted letter signed by a peer or supervisor from your inner network, providing details about your past work and accomplishments. You will be responsible for finding and contacting recommenders, while ProfVal will help you to draft up to 3 customized Support Letters for your recommenders to review and sign. In particular, we will help you to create letters that align with your contacts’ understanding of your credentials while highlighting elements of the EB-1 or EB-2 visa, depending on your particular case.


Our Support Letters are carefully crafted by our U.S.-based multi-talented team, with expertise in business and professional writing, and they are specifically designed to call attention to the information USCIS agents are looking for when reviewing Support Letters. This includes the recommender's background, their experience with the petitioner, the petitioner’s accomplishments in their field, a brief summary of the petitioner’s endeavor in the U.S., and how these accomplishments / this endeavor relates to areas of National Importance. As such, they are designed to further reinforce your exceptional ability / the national merit of your endeavor. 


Our Support Letters can be used to aid in an initial application, as well as in a response to a Request for Evidence (RFE). 




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ProfVal, LLC (profval.com) is a purpose-driven, professor-founded, and ethically-grounded provider of  resumes, support letters, business / professional plans, and Expert Opinion Letters that can be used to support employment- and trainee-based visas (H-3, H-1B, L1, EB, O). ProfVal is dedicated to helping clients through services built based on an architecture of research. ProfVal is dedicated to helping our communities through our giving site, profval.org.



Sources cited:


Nothing in this article or any other article provided by ProfVal can be construed as legal advice. If a lawyer is quoted within the article, they are providing general comments about the immigration process; their comments cannot be taken as legal advice from them or the firm that they represent. Further, a quote by a lawyer does not indicate their agreement or disagreement with any content within this article. There is no affiliation between ProfVal and any other person or organization cited within this article. 

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