NIW Approval of a Short Filmmaker -- Immigration Lawyers in Silicon Valley, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Austin

NIW Approval of a Short Filmmaker

In late December 2011, Mr. Masoud contacted our firm, interested initially in applying for permanent residence under the EB-1A, “alien of extraordinary ability” category. As the client was not born in either China or India, at the time of filing, he was not subject to visa retrogression in the EB-2 category as Chinese and Indian people face. In other words, a National Interest Waiver (NIW) would have been the smarter route since it is an easier standard compared to the EB-1A. Moreover, Attorney XXXX thought that the EB-1A was a challenging option for him. Therefore, Attorney XXXX strongly recommended that Mr. Masoud file an NIW.  By applying for an NIW, Mr. Masoud could avoid having to have a permanent job offer and the labor certification requirements for the employment-based second preference immigration petition, PERM. Of course, in order to qualify for an NIW, a petitioner must successfully demonstrate that waiving those requirements is in the "national interest of the United States."

Mr. Masoud is an internationally acclaimed filmmaker with unsurpassed expertise in short films. He holds a master degree in fine arts. However, he did not have a very strong publication record, compared to most NIW applicants.

Attorney Alex XXXX evaluated Mr. Masoud’s credentials to determine whether or not he met the threshold for possessing a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in his field of expertise, and whether he met the specific NIW requirements. Namely, in order to qualify a candidate must be able to persuasively demonstrate that he/she seeks employment in an area of substantial intrinsic merit to the U.S., that the benefit from the candidate's proposed activity will be national in scope, and that the requirement of a Labor Certification for the candidate would adversely affect the national interest.

In order to qualify, Mr. Masoud would have to demonstrate that he satisfied these three prerequisites: that his work is of substantial intrinsic merit, is national in scope, and that he can serve US interests to a substantially greater degree than an available U.S. worker with the same minimum qualifications. By providing sufficient documentation to prove these qualifications, Mr. Masoud could obtain an NIW.

Mr. Masoud retained our services in late January 2012 so that our experienced team and Attorney XXXX could assist him in proving that he was, in fact, qualified for a National Interest Waiver. Though on paper Mr. Masoud met the criteria for a National Interest Waiver, our legal experts knew from experience that the reviewing USCIS officer may be hesitant with respect to Mr. Masoud’s qualifications. Further, it is particularly difficult to provide hard evidence of expertise in the field of filmmaking, which generally does not produce physical inventions, such as in areas like medicine and engineering.

Over the next few months, we worked diligently with Mr. Masoud to obtain and revise strong letters of recommendation from experts in his field. Through letters from both leading filmmakers who had worked with Mr. Masoud and those who knew of him only through his outstanding contributions to the field, we set out to decisively prove the exceptional caliber and national necessity of Mr. Masoud ‘s work. In order to further impress upon the reviewing officer Mr. Masoud’s rare yet vital skills, his impressive record of achievements and his unique knowledge relevant to his current and future work, our legal team also assisted him in compiling documentation of some of his awards, media reports on his work, and his film screening at major venues and film festivals.

Zhang & Associates, P.C.’s team, with the help of Mr. Masoud, efficiently prepared all of the evidence crucial to successfully petitioning for a National Interest Waiver. Citing the strong evidence we had gathered, Attorney XXXX wrote a petition letter to USCIS, proving that Mr. Masoud had specific prior achievements that justified projected future benefits; that he possesses unique and innovative skills, knowledge and background that serve the national interest; that he will serve the national interest to a substantially greater degree than his similarly trained peers; and, that his continued participation in his field is necessary. Although Mr. Masoud does not have an extensive publication record, Attorney XXXX was able to successfully demonstrate that Mr. Masoud’s achievements and abilities qualified him for a National Interest Waiver.

Early in September 2012, less than 6 months after the initial filing and without a request for more evidence, Mr. Masoud’s NIW case was approved. We were extremely happy for Mr. Masoud and were pleased to have helped him avoid the labor certification and permanent job offer requirements of other regular employment based immigrant petitions. Mr. Masoud was similarly overjoyed, and we wish him the best of luck in his continued film making endeavors.

*In order to protect our client’s privacy, all identifying information has been changed.

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 sixteen 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, P.C.

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