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An Analysis of an NIW and I-1485 Applicant Approved in Less than 2 Months

We recently received NIW and I-485 approval for one of our clients, Dr. Wu*. Both her NIW and I-485 were approved by USCIS less than two months after the cases were filed.  To assist our current clients and prospective NIW applicants, we have provided a synopsis of Dr. Wu’s qualifications, strong points of her application, as well as reasons why we believe USCIS approved her petitions so quickly.

Dr. Wu initially contacted us for a free evaluation on August 25, 2009. She was born in Taiwan, from which NIW EB-2 petitioners have currently available immigration visa numbers. Thus, after consulting Attorney Jerry Zhang, she decided to retain us for both an NIW and I-485, officially signing a contract on August 31, 2009.

After collecting all necessary documentation (letters of recommendation, evidence, petition letter, etc.), Attorney Jerry Zhang filed her petition on September 26, 2009, less than one month after signing a contract with our firm.

Approximately three weeks later on October 21, 2009, Dr. Wu received word that her NIW petition had been approved by USCIS without a request for evidence. Then on November 16, 2009, USCIS informed us that her I-485 petition had also been approved.

Her main qualifications are as follows. 

Dr. Wu has a Ph.D. in physics and is currently a post-doctoral research associate working in the field of semi-conductors. She only recently received her Ph.D. in 2008. She also has knowledge of several specialized techniques required for her line of research. To date, she has 6 articles published in refereed journals, three of which she is the first author. She has spoken extensively about her work at 9 national/international conferences and has received 12 independent citations for her articles. The average ISI impact factor of the journals she published her articles in was around 3.

Her credentials to date are average for an NIW applicant. We have worked with NIW applicants with much stronger qualifications. However, the success of this case is certainly a good model for current clients and prospective NIW applicants.

In our opinion, USCIS approved this application so quickly because of its quality, not its quantity. Based on the above, Dr. Wu does not boast a large number of accomplishments. Most of her work has been published in journals with relatively low impact factors compared to journals like Science and the New England Journal of Medicine. To overcome this, Dr. Wu emphasized the fact that her work has been published in the best journals in her field.

Another obstacle Dr. Wu had to face was the relatively few publications she produced. To offset this, she concentrated specifically on a handful of achievements, rather than briefly mentioning all of the points on her resume. She thoroughly explained the importance of each project she chose to highlight. More times than not, clients are inclined to discuss every point on their resume. In our experience, this sometimes does not enhance an application, but instead, hurts it. The best advice we can offer regarding this is to choose your most important work to highlight.

To further elevate the novelty of Dr. Wu’s work, she used extremely strong language in her letters of recommendation as well as in her petition letter—language denoting that her work is of utmost value to the United States of America. So even though she only had six publications to discuss, she really elaborated on the importance of each one, fully expressing that A) her work is of substantial intrinsic merit, B) her work is national in scope, and C) the national interest of the United States would be adversely affected if a labor certification were required.

Furthermore, Dr. Wu specifically showed objective evidence that her work had influenced those outside of her immediate circle of colleagues. Two independent letters displaying objective influence typically suffice for an NIW application. 

Overall, Dr. Wu’s application was extremely cohesive. All of the evidence presented in her application supported the three most important criteria mentioned above. Another important aspect of Dr. Wu’s application was that she kept it “field-centric”, meaning she constantly drew comparisons between herself and her peers in the same field, proving that her work was of greater merit than others with similar training and experience. By emphasizing the quality of her work rather than the quantity, her application was approved quickly.

*To protect the privacy of our clients, all real names have been changed.

Special notice:
To express our heartfelt appreciation to our clients, Zhang & Associates’ Los Angeles office will host a client appreciation party on Saturday December 5, 2009 for clients in southern California.  Attorneys Jerry Zhang, Jian Zhou, Jane Xu, Victor Bush, Daqin Zhang, Annie Yang, and Lisa Ryu will attend the party.

As a valued client, you and your family are invited to join us in celebration as we thank you for your continued support of our firm.

The schedule of the client appreciation party is as follows: 

Time: 12:30 p.m.  - 4:00 p.m. PST, Dec. 5, 2009
Location: Cima Restaurant, Pacific Palms Resort
Address: One Industry Hills Parkway
Industry Hills, CA 91744

Please click on the following link for information about the location:

Admission is free. Space is limited to our clients and their family members and will be reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis. Complimentary lunch will be served at the party.

If you would like to attend, please click on the following link to register:

We will send you a confirmation email after you finish registration. Each registered guest will be provided a name tag; only guests with a name tag will be admitted.

We look forward to seeing you there. 

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 thirteen 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 ( for a free evaluation.

Zhang & Associates, PC.

Houston ∙ New York ∙ Chicago ∙ Austin ∙ Los Angeles

Tel: 1-800-230-7040, 713-771-8433


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