Physiologist’s NIW Petition Approved after Harsh RFE

At the start of July 2008, our firm helped one of our clients, Dr. Chu, receive approval of her NIW I-140 petition after a harsh RFE despite somewhat weak NIW qualifications. Through the success of this case, we hope to show our readers the importance of persistence and patience when faced with challenges in application process, and the benefit of a little luck in RFE cases.

When she first came to our firm for a consultation in May 2007, Dr. Chu was working at a medical biology company as a physiologist. Dr. Chu received her Ph.D degree in a specialized, applied field of medical biology from a large American university in the spring of 2006 and her MS and MD from reputable universities in China. Because her background was not researched-based and her field was relatively new, she had only a handful of publications, awards, and professional memberships.

Despite this, after a review of her CV, our attorneys still felt that, with several convincing recommendation letters and a strong petition letter, an NIW was a valid option for Dr. Chu. Dr. Chu retained our firm and began collecting the necessary materials for her NIW packet. Because Dr. Chu’s qualifications were not very strong, Attorney Wisniewski spent substantive time and effort to formulate a convincing petition letter.

In the letter, Attorney Wisniewski provided substantial detail about Dr. Chu’s background and achievements and emphasized all of the important legal points for an NIW case. First it highlighted Dr. Chu’s academic background, highlighting her PhD and MD degrees and the advanced techniques she learned during her courses of study. Then it focused on the national benefits of Dr. Chu’s work by showing the incredible costs of healthcare in the US and how Dr. Chu’s work was helping to reduce these numbers. Importantly, Attorney Wisniewski stressed that Dr. Chu’s work was of central importance to advancements in physiology and that Labor Certification would not provide an adequate replacement. And by mid-July 2007, Dr. Chu’s NIW packet with letters of recommendation, evidence, and compelling petition letter drafted by Attorney Bennett J. Wisniewski was on its way to USCIS.

However, in May of 2008, USCIS issued a request for more evidence (RFE) to show that Dr. Chu was qualified for an NIW. The RFE asked for more proof to demonstrate how Dr. Chu’s contributions were beyond what is typically expected of minimally qualified US worker and how Dr. Chu’s work would benefit the nation, not just local or regional institutions. It also requested additional publications and a list of articles and reviews that had cited Dr. Chu’s previous work.

Though everyone was slightly disheartened to receive the RFE, they knew they would have a limited amount of time to prepare a response so they started immediately compiling additional evidence and independent advisory recommendation letters and a compelling and detailed response letter. As the in-charge attorney Bennett J. Wisniewski was sick during that period of time, our Attorney worked on the RFE to make sure we could submit the response to the RFE on time.

In the response letter, our Attorney addressed each point brought up in the RFE. To begin, the response letter highlighted Dr. Chu’s unique academic credentials of an MD, MS, PhD, that give her an added advantage over those individuals with just a PhD. It also stressed that Dr. Chu should be evaluated against peers who had completed their education one year from original filing date of July 2007 (when Dr. Chu received her PhD) not against those who finished their education in 1996 (when Dr. Chu received her MD). Using the citation history of Dr. Chu’s publications as evidence, the response letter stated that Dr. Chu had made several notable contributions that were recognized and respected in her field. The attorney also emphasized that several highly qualified experts who had never met or worked personally with Dr. Chu were still aware of her work and believed it to be of a superior quality to many of her peers.

The second half of the response letter focused on the nature of Dr. Chu’s work and its potential to have an impact on a national scale. The response described Dr. Chu’s focus and demonstrated its importance to a variety of medical fields, not just Dr. Chu’s specific area of practice. It highlighted many different applications and advancements from a diverse range of fields that derived from Dr. Chu’s past contributions.

After several weeks of hard work on June 13, 2008, Dr. Chu’s RFE response was filed with USCIS. And less than two weeks later, nearly a year after her initial petition was filed, the USCIS approved Dr. Chu’s NIW I-140 petition. Now, Dr. Chu’s I-485 is pending as there is no visa numbers available for EB-2 given her priority date.

While we are certainly excited at the approval of Dr. Chu’s I-140 petition, we must admit that her case was very lucky given her limited number of publications and weak research experience. Not everyone can expect the good fortune of Dr. Chu’s case. However, as this example goes to show, one can certainly improve his/her chances of success if both the applicant and attorneys maintain persistence and patience in the application process, especially when faced with difficult circumstances.
*In order to protect our client’s privacy, all identifying information has been changed.

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


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