NIW Approved for Engineer with M.S. & no Journal Paper

Several days ago, we received an email from Mr. Kim, one of our NIW clients. Mr. Kim has both the Master and the Bachelor degrees of Science from an eastern university. He is now working as an engineer in an oil and gas company.

In his email to Attorney Zhang, Mr. Kim expressed his “huge gratitude and appreciation” to our attorneys who worked on Mr. Kim’s NIW case, and the case was just approved. Mr. Kim told us in his email that he was actually very cautious and skeptical during the whole application process, since he only has a Master degree and coauthors of only two conference publications. Mr. Kim said he had no confidence on his credetials at all. He was really pleasantly surprised because his application was approved in only three and a half months, without request for additional evience. Mr. Kim recalled an interesting scenario, when Attorney Zhang responded to his first inquiry email within about 30 seconds after he sent it out. He thought that was an automated email reply, because he couldn’t believe someone could manage to read his email and responded thouroughly in such a short time. Mr. Kim said he was very happy with the service he got from Zhang & Associates.  Since that day, he was always greeted with the same level of responsiveness and service. At the end of his email, he thanked our “marvelous work” and wished he could proceed with the same success in his I-485 application.

While this is not the first email with kind words that we have received, we were excited and happy that our work has helped Mr. Kim get his immigration petition approved since Mr. Kim’s NIW application was really challenging. Moreover, the whole story of our interaction with Mr. Kim was really interesting.

In order to qualify for an NIW, the applicant must demonstrate the following:

  • He/she seeks work in an area of substantial intrinsic merit; and
  • The candidate's proposed work will benefit the nation as a whole; and
  • National interest would be adversely affected if a Labor Certification were required for the alien.

To meet these requirments, the NIW applicants always submit many documents to prove their academic achievements and work contributions. And commonly, the documents always include:

  • A strong petition letter drafted by an experienced immigration attorney;
  • An advanced degree of the applicant;
  • All the publications of the applicant published in a journal or a conference;
  • Awards and other supporting materials;
  • Letters of recommendation from experts in the field.

For the case of Mr. Kim, although he only has a Master degree and is the coauthor of two conference papers without journal publications, our attorney believed he still could have a try to make an immigration petition through NIW, if he could get at least six strong and convictive recommendation letters. In addition, a strong and professional petition letter was extremely important in his case to convice the immigration officer that he was qualified for an NIW green card.

The whole process of application was very quick and effective. It only took 6 months from the first time Dr. Kim contacted us by email to the approval of his case. It’s interesting and maybe helpful for you to understand our service process to see the work log recorded by our Oracle CRM system (to learn more details about our CRM system, please refer to another article “How Oracle CRM at Z&A Benefits Our Clients” at our website):

July 17, 2006:

09:14pm:  Mr. Kim sent an email to Attorney Jerry Zhang at for a free evaluation of an EB-3 immigration petition and attached his resume in the e-mail.

09:15 pm:  Attorney Zhang replied this email instantly and suggested Mr. Kim “I think that NIW is a viable option for you if you may get six recommendation letters to support the claims.”

The reasons that Attorney Zhang suggested Mr. Kim to go an EB-2(NIW) application instead of an EB-3 were 1) EB-2 has no backlog for Mr. Kim and therefore, it serves the best interest of Mr. Kim to get his green card quicker; 2) Although Mr. Kim only has a Master degree and co-authored two conference papers, he works in the oil and gas industry, which is a paramount section of the US economy. 3) We have an experience of many successful NIW cases for professionals (including engineers) in the oil and gas industry.

09:24pm:   Because Attorney Zhang’s e-mail reply came very quickly, Mr. Kim was surprised and thought it might be an automated email reply. So, he sent back an email to question why Attorney Zhang could carefully consider his CV and reply in only one minute. He was very cautious.

It is reasonable for Mr. Kim to have the doubt and surprice to get the response within one minute, especially at night. However, it is a common practice for the attorneys at Zhang & Associates to work in the evenings or weekends for the clients all over the country, including replying emails or writing reference letters. In addition, in the past 10 years, Zhang & Associates have handled thousands of NIW or EB1 cases for professionals. The experience enabled Attorney Zhang to reply a potential client’s email quickly.

09:33pm:   Attorney Zhang answered the email “With a lot of experiences of working on NIW cases for many professional, I have a good grasp of a person’s credentials including his occupation, education, experiences and achievements. I have seen many resumes of petroleum engineers or ocean engineers. Moreover, I read and write very fast. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Good night.”

09:38pm: Mr. Kim replied in his email saying he would contact us shortly.

July 25, 2006

04:02pm:  Mr. Kim sent an email to Attorney Zhang to inform us that he had received verbal agreements for the NIW letters of recommendation from 6 people so far, and he was still waiting for possible two more positive answers. He wanted to start working the letter contents instantly, because timing was very precious for him. He decided to retain Zhang & Associates to file his application.

07:03 pm:  Attorney Zhang emailed Mr. Kim and outlined the services we would provide to Mr. Kim if he retains the firm: “My firm's work include 1) provide you with some samples of recommendation letters and an outline on how to draft effective recommendation letters; 2) modify and polish your drafts of recommendation letters after you have the drafts; 3) draft the petition letter to the USCIS and e-mail it to you for your review and input; 4) prepare all the forms and provide consulting to you; and 5) file your case and contact the USCIS if necessary.

To retain my firm, you will need to sign a contract with my firm and pay the initial attorney's fees. For a copy of my firm's NIW contract, please kindly click

10:06pm:  Mr. Kim told us in his e-mail that he had read and signed the contract and would send it to our office next day.    

July 26, 2006

05:15 am: Attorney Zhang answered the email: “Thank you for your decision to retain my firm. I think that six letters are sufficient and good enough. We are looking forward to working on your case from you.”

06:59am:  Mr. Kim replied the email promptly too, saying he was ready to start working on the letters whenever we sent the draft to him.

07:53am:  Attorney Zhang wrote back: “Sure. Please kindly mail your agreement and check to my firm. We are looking forward to working on your case and striving for a success”

08:00am:  Mr. Kim wrote back to inform us the agreement would be sent to our office within two days.

02:41pm:  Attorney Zhang created a task on the firm’s CRM system: “Contact Mr. Kim on July 31 if we have not received his agreement and check.”

July 28, 2006:

10:50am: We received the agreement and a check from Mr. Kim. His potential client record was converted to a case record. One of our experienced attorneys was assigned with the case and contacted Mr. Kim on the same day.

July 31, 2006:

We received the client records and questionnaires from Mr. Kim.
We filled out the forms, including U.S Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) form I-140 and the Department of Labor form ETA-750B.

August 01, 2006

11:34am: The legal assistant sent the prepared forms to Mr. Kim for his review and signatures.

August 09, 2006

We received the recommendation letters prepared. The Attorney revised all the recommendation letters and send back for signatures.

August 30, 2006

The Attorney completed the first draft of the petition letter and sent to Mr. Kim for a review, strongly claiming that “Mr. Kim is an exceptional researcher who seeks employment in the field of offshore engineering, an area of substantial intrinsic merit. His work is proposed to benefit the nation as a whole. His rare yet vital skills and background along with his impressive record of achievement and his unique knowledge relevant to his current and future work indicate that he will serve the national interest to a substantially greater degree than another with minimum qualifications. As the requirement of a labor certification may deprive us of his unique and exceptional future contributions, such a requirement would adversely affect the national interest. The conclusion of all of these facts is that Mr. Kim should be granted a national interest waiver.”

In this petition letter, our attorney emphasized how Mr. Kim’s research background and professial skill will benefit the natiaonl interest of the US. Attorney Asheley argued that the strong recommendations from leading researchers in the field also demonstrate Mr. Kim’s qualification, although he is working in the industry rather than the academia. In addition, Attorney A picked up a very special research project Mr. Kim conducted before, and pointed out the result of that research project had substantial implications in the oil industry. Finally, Attorney Asheley put Mr. Kim’s work in a big picture of the impact of oil industry on American national interest, convincingly came to a conclusion: Mr. Kim's proposed work will benefit the nation as a whole; and national interest would be adversely affected if a Labor Certification were required for Mr. Kim.

September 13, 2006

Mr. Kim mailed all the well signed paper documents to our firm.

September 15, 2006
We received all the documents, and our quality control attorney double checked all the filing materials.

September 18, 2006:

After one and half month’s preparation, we mailed Mr. Kim’s NIW application package to the USCIS Nebraska Services Center by FedEx.

The package included one strong petition letter, well prepared application forms, eight recommendation letters and other materials. Among all of these materials, the petition letter was really important, and it was the key. We provided Mr. Kim the FedEx tracking number.

September 21, 2006:

USICS NSC received the application and transferred it to USCIS TSC.

January 17, 2007

The NIW application of Mr. Kim was approved by the USCIS TSC and Mr. Kim received the e-mail notification. It is exactly only 4 months from the date we sent out the application to the date of the approval.

January 18, 2007:

Mr. Kim retained the firm for his I-485 petition since the immigration visa number for people born in his country is immediately available.

January 26, 2007:  

We received the I-140 approval notice and mailed it to Mr. Kim.

It took exactly six months from the time that Mr. Kim contacted us initially on July 17, 2006 to the time that his NIW was approved on January 17, 2007. What a pleasant and smooth process!

From the first inquiry to the approval of the case, we have worked with Mr. Kim closely and effectively as a team. The success of the application can be attributed to our team work. Our attorney prepared and revised all the paper documents in one and a half months, his professional and strong petition letter laid solid foundation for the approval of Mr. Kim’s NIW I-140 petition. Our quality control attorney double checked all the application materials before filing. In the whole process of the application, our assistants in Houston worked on the forms, notices and the client records in our CRM system quickly and carefully. Moreover, Mr. Kim’s prompt cooperation and efficient work during the application process played a critical role too.

We are very excited about the quick and happy result of the Mr. Kim’s NIW case. The best reward we get in our work is to see our client’s case approved with our help.

This story may help our readers clarify some misunderstandings about NIW applications. There are some requirements a candidate must meet to be qualified for an NIW green card, but neither a Ph.D. degree, nor an academic position is among these requirements. We have been asked the same questions thousands of times: I am not a Ph.D., can I apply NIW green card? I am an engineer instead of a postdoc or a professor, can I apply NIW green card? In the past ten years, we have helped many Master degree holders, engineers, and people with few publications get NIW cases approved. NIW is an immigration category in which degrees, publications, and other achievements matter, but strong recommendation letters as well as good petition letters drafted by an experienced attorney are critical.   
(For client’s confidentiality purpose, all the confidential information of the client has been removed)


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