EB-1A for recent Ph.D. recipient approved without RFE

The EB-1A preference category for employment-based immigrant petitions applies to individuals who can demonstrate that they have “risen to the very top of their field of endeavor.” Usually, this is established through evidence and documentation of a strong publication and presentation list, frequent citations, special memberships, and awards. However, even with this evidence, some cases rely heavily on letters of recommendation to solidify their claims.

Dr. Chen retained our firm in 2007 less than a year after earning his PhD in electrical engineering. Since he was born in China and therefore faced visa retrogression in the EB-2 NIW category, Dr. Chen hoped to pursue the “Alien of Extraordinary Ability” category. After an initial evaluation, Co-Managing Attorney Jerry Zhang felt that, since Dr. Chen’s had a strong publication and presentation record and notable innovations in optical devices, he would be a good candidate for an EB-1A if he could secure strong letters of recommendation.

Our Attorney was assigned to Dr. Chen’s case. Though on paper Dr. Chen met the criteria for the EB-1A category, our Attorney knew from experience that the officer may have negative impressions based on his recent completion of his Ph.D. degree in determining whether he is at the very top of his entire field. So our Attorney advised Dr. Chen to file an NIW as a backup since the NIW category requires proof that the applicant is superior to his/her peers.

So, Dr. Chen began gathering the necessary evidence and most importantly, letters of recommendation from independent experts. Knowing that the letters would be crucial to the case, our Attorney worked closely with Dr. Chen on each aspect of the process, helping him with correspondences with potential recommenders to ensure that they understood the key elements to highlight and the overall importance of the letters to the case. She also provided detailed guidance on the crucial points of the EB-1A category and words to avoid, so that Dr. Chen could identify letters and recommenders that would be most helpful to his case. For example, since his Master’s level work was so strong, he was encouraged to include discussions of this work in the recommendation letters to highlight the exceptional nature of his early work as well as his more recent and ongoing accomplishments, so as to augment his list of scientific contributions so far.

Thanks to Dr. Chen’s reputation and our Attorney’s advice, Dr. Chen got four letters from independent recommenders, double what an average applicant usually receives. Further, he was able to get a diverse range of recommenders from a variety of institutions to prove that his work was indeed respected throughout many scientific communities outside his immediate affiliations.

In order to solidify the case even further, our Attorneyu recommended that Dr. Chen conduct a thorough investigation of any and all citations of his work from all levels of study including his Master’s thesis. The citation evidence even included PhD dissertations that cited his work and email correspondences requesting his advice and results. Along with this, Dr. Chen included detailed evidence of his awards and review work adding the selection criteria and impact whenever possible.

After much careful preparation, Dr. Chen’s case was ready to be filed. With hopeful expectations, Dr. Chen’s EB-1A and NIW cases were sent to USCIS in July 2008, and the wait began.

In February 2009, less than seven months after the initial filing and without a request for more evidence, Dr. Chen’s EB-1A case was approved. Our offices were extremely happy for Dr. Chen and his family who would not have to face the visa number backlog of the EB-2 NIW category before filing their adjustment of status applications. Dr. Chen was equally thrilled and emailed Attorney Zhang thanking him for the firm’s hard work and our Attorney’s diligence and guidance during the process.

As this case goes to show, letters of recommendation are a very significant part of employment-based immigrant petitions and can be particularly helpful in solidifying a case. Here, there were particularly central to proving the EB-1A requirement that the petitioner has “risen to the top.” Testimonials from scholars helped place the applicant’s achievements in the context of others’ contributions within his field of endeavor and beyond it; the variety of recommenders was important because it demonstrated the overall impact on the scientific community.

Further, the independent nature of the letters and the authority of the recommenders gave them additional weight. While former professors, supervisors, and colleagues may have more familiarity with an alien’s work, letters from experts that are not personally connected to an alien show the general acceptance of the petitioner’s work.

Not to be discounted, the help of a professional and experienced attorney, such as those at our firm, can not only assist with the obvious parts of a case but also shape the little details that may figure prominently later on. Certainly, Dr. Chen’s success in securing recommendation letters was strengthened by our Attorney’s ability to help her client understand the EB-1A category as well as Dr. Chen’s cooperation and persistence.

Currently, visa numbers in the EB-2 category, which includes NIW, for China or India born aliens are limited and it takes several years for these aliens to become eligible to file I-485 adjustment of status applications. Filing an I-485 application is an important benefit because it provides the opportunity to request work authorization documents and travel documents. China and India born EB-2 applicants must therefore wait several years to receive access to these advantages through their I-485s. In contrast, the EB-1 category provides them the opportunity to concurrently file their immigrant petition and their I-485, granting them the ability to immediately request these benefits. Therefore, we encourage you to email Zhang & Associates to see if you are qualified for the EB-1 category. Our firm is committed to helping provide you with all necessary tools to make your case a success.

Founded in 1996, Zhang & Associates, P.C. offers legal services to clients nationwide in all aspects of U.S immigration law. We have successfully handled thousands of immigration cases.

At Zhang & Associates, P.C., our attorneys and supporting professionals are committed to providing high-quality immigration and non-immigration visa services. We specialize in NIW, EB-1, PERM, and I-485 cases. In the past twelve years, we have successfully helped thousands of clients get green cards. If you plan to apply for a green card, please send your CV to Attorney Jerry Zhang (info@hooyou.com) for a free evaluation.

Zhang & Associates, PC.

Houston ∙ New York ∙ Chicago ∙ Austin ∙ Los Angeles
Tel:1-800-230-7040, 713-771-8433
Email: info@hooyou.com


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