Upgrade your Application: an EB-1A case approved after an NIW is Approved
As a result of the economic downturn, many U.S. employers are less willing to sponsor employees for an I-140 or PERM. Because mainland Chinese and Indian born nationals face heavy backlogs in the EB-2 category, more and more people have chosen to submit EB-1 applications instead.
In May 2006, Dr. Li asked the firm to provide a free evaluation of his NIW petition. At the time, he was still a Ph. D student and had published five articles in peer-reviewed journals.
Two months later, in July 2006, Dr. Li decided to retain our firm.
After putting together an application, Attorneys Jane Xu filed Dr. Li’s NIW case in March 2007. When visa numbers became available to all employment based immigration categories in June 2007, Attorney Xu filed Dr. Li and his wife’s I-485. Five months later, in August 2007, Dr. Li’s case was approved without a request for evidence.
Unfortunately, due to visa retrogression, Dr. Li’s I-485 petition could not be processed immediately after his NIW was approved. Therefore, in November 2008, Dr. Li asked Attorney Jerry Zhang to help him submit an Eb-1(a) application. By this time, Dr. Li was working as a post doctorate and had ten articles published in peer reviewed journals. In addition to that, he had also been invited to chair a session at an international conference. However, he did not have any peer review work to speak of. Attorney Jerry Zhang thought that Dr. Li’s case was quite challenging, but encouraged him to try if he could obtain some review experience.
Eight days later, Dr. Li decided to retain us for his EB-1(a) petition. Again, he worked with Attorney Jane Xu. In the process of putting together his EB-1(a) application, Dr. Li completed two reviews.
Upon completing this review work, Dr. Li met three out of the ten criteria used to evaluate EB-1(a) petitioners. Now, the main concern was whether or not it would be possible to show that Dr. Li excelled at these three qualifications, as opposed to just showing he was minimally qualified. Attorney Xu dealt with this issue by highlighting Dr. Li’s strongest assets, as well as downplaying his weakest ones. In EB-1 cases, a petitioner does not necessarily have to discuss every single aspect of his or her career. If a petitioner has participated in an activity that is considered “extraordinary”, then it will benefit the petitioner to include this information in his/her application. If not, then it is best to either not discuss it extensively or leave that information out completely. Not bringing attention to weak points allows immigration officials to concentrate on the exceptional work you have done. For more information about EB-1(a) criteria, please click on the following link.
After creating a cohesive and strong application for Dr. Li, Attorney Xu filed his EB-1(a) in March 2009. The case was approved in September 2009 without a request for evidence.
This case illustrates a number of different points.
First, it greatly benefits a petitioner to submit an application as soon as possible. Dr. Li submitted his NIW petition when he was still a Ph.D. candidate. The earlier an I-140 is filed, the earlier priority date you will receive if your petition is approved. Petitioners should remember that an I-140 is just one step in the green card application process. Applicants have the option of filing an I-140 and I-485 concurrently. This ensures that you already have a place “in line” in the event that your I-140 is approved.
Second, upgrade your application when your credentials improve. New evidence cannot be submitted once an application is filed. However, USCIS does not differentiate between when something was done. In other words, a petitioner’s past achievements are usually weighted the same as something done right before an application is submitted. In this case, Dr. Li filed his Eb-1(a) petition after he published more papers as well as conducted review work.
Third, when filing an EB-1(a) application, the best thing to do is to highlight your three strongest points, and to not distract USCIS officers with lesser points that they can contest. For example, it is unnecessary to list your university scholarships in your petition.
Finally, the attorney’s role is very important. Before retaining our firm, Dr. Li contacted several attorneys for an EB-1(a) evaluation, but most of them thought that his case was too weak and were unwilling to handle it. Attorney Jerry Zhang’s encouragement and guidance, along with Attorney Jane Xu’s expertise in organizing and presenting Dr. Li’s qualifications in a way most appealing to USCIS, was essential to the success of this case.
Dr. Li was very pleased upon hearing this news. He wrote an article and posted it on a popular Chinese website. In the article, he mentioned the following points: 1) Attorney Jerry Zhang’s encouragement; 2) Our efficiency in replying to emails and thorough modification of recommendation letters; and 3) Fast submission of his application.
Dr. Li’s case is just one example. However, we have handled many cases similar to this. Many clients retain us first for an NIW. Later, after receiving NIW approval and improving upon their professional credentials, they retain us again for EB-1 petitions. In addition, some clients choose to retain us for EB-1 petitions after their NIW or I-140 under PERM applications are approved.
Thanks to the determination and good work of the attorneys at Zhang and Associates, P.C., Dr. Li’s case among others have successfully been approved.
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