Petroleum Engineer with M.S. Gets NIW Green Card within 4 Months

It is often said that “scientists study things while engineers build things”.  It is the elemental difference between natural science and applied science: scientists are more likely to work for research institutions, engineers for corporations; scientists measure contributions by publications, engineers by applications; scientists usually find National Interest Waivers more attractive; engineers prefer PERM. Engineers and NIWs do not seem like the usual couple.  However, as a recent success case shows, such a mix is by no means doomed to failure. 

Eva Montoya* was a petroleum engineer with five years of experience working for a well-known U.S. oil company.  She also held a Master’s degree in petroleum engineering from an American university.  Unfortunately, it was not her company’s policy to sponsor employee permanent residency, so a NIW was her best option, since it did not require employee sponsorship.  Ms. Montoya was referred to our firm by a colleague who was very pleased with our NIW services.  At her free consultation, Jerry Zhang, attorney and founder, warned her that while her credentials were fine, a NIW might be challenging due to her lack of extensive publications and background in engineering.  However, with a lot of professional preparation and a good strategy, her case had a decent chance of approval, if she was willing to try it.  Ms. Montoya accepted the challenge and her NIW case was assigned to our attorney.

In the petition letter, our attorney structured her strategy around three main points. First, she immediately began to remedy Ms. Montoya’s six limited journal and conference proceeding publications.  After some probing, she learned that Ms. Montoya had been a keynote speaker at numerous company and professional association presentations.   She then highlighted these invited talks as strong evidence of Ms. Montoya’s impact to her field.  Secondly, to further prove her accomplishments, our attorney focused on Ms. Montoya’s successful projects in heavy oil drilling. She instructed Ms. Montoya to provide evidence of her techniques and technology being applied, thus demonstrating a broad, industry wide implementation of her work. It also demonstrated that Ms. Montoya’s work would benefit the nation as a whole.  Finally, our attorney turned her attention to the U.S. energy industry itself.  She stressed the skyrocketing prices of oil and international concentration on oil drilling.  our attorney also made sure to mention the necessity of bringing in experienced oil engineers to solve this national problem.  our attorney then reiterated Ms. Montoya’s expertise in heavy oil drillings and the number of her techniques and technologies that were implemented by numerous companies. 

As Ms. Montoya was born in a Latin American nation, there was no visa number shortage. She was thus able to concurrently file an I-140 and an I-485 petition. The petition letter and applications were finally mailed to and received by the USCIS on April 18th.  There was nothing more to do now but sit back and wait.

On August 8th, less than four months later, we received notice that Ms. Montoya’s NIW petition was approved.  The approval of her I-485 followed within days.

While there are some unofficial rules of thumb (such as outstanding scientists being better qualified for a NIW or EB-1, and PERM may fit better for engineers in the industry), every case is unique and deserves a specially tailored strategy.  The poet Robert Frost once wrote, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”  An experienced lawyer like our attorney is never afraid to take the road less traveled by.  And in Ms. Montoya’s case, it did make all the difference.     

An attorney’s expertise and experience play a critical role in an NIW green card application. Our attorneys have extensive experience in NIW applications. In the past 12 years, we have successfully handled thousands of NIW applications with an extremely high overall approval rate.

If you plan to file an NIW application, please send your CV to Attorney Jerry Zhang ( for a free evaluation.

Zhang & Associates, PC.

Houston ∙ New York ∙ Chicago ∙ Austin
Tel:1-800-230-7040, 713-771-8433

*This article is based on the state of the law as of the posting date. It is the responsibility of the reader to verify that the law has not changed by consulting an attorney, although Zhang and Associates will make every effort to ensure that our articles are updated periodically. In order to protect our client’s privacy, all identifying information has been changed.


Refer this page to a friend

For more immigration news, please click here

Adjustment of Status | Adoption | Advance Parole | Application Fees | Asylum & Removal | Business Entities | Corporate Clients | Consular Processing | Divorce | E-1 & E-2 | EAD | F-1 | Family Immigration | FAQs | Forms | Investor Visa | Immigration Glossary |
K Visa
| L Visa | Marriage | Naturalization | Non-immigrant Visas | O-1 | Processing Time | Road to Green Card | TN | Visa Bulletin

"The best way to
predict your future is
simply to create it."
- Peter Drucker.

Copyright © 1999-2005. Zhang & Associates, P.C. All Rights Reserved
New York   Houston Chicago Austin Los Angeles  
Tel: 1.800.230.7040 • E-mail: info@hooyou.comPrivacy Policy