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Changes to Your Proposed Endeavor After an RFE in NIW Petitions

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In the complex journey of immigration, particularly for those pursuing a National Interest Waiver (NIW), encountering a Request for Evidence (RFE) can be a pivotal moment. An RFE may prompt questions about the flexibility of your proposed endeavor and whether adjustments can be made to strengthen your petition. Understanding the boundaries within which you can operate post-RFE is crucial for a successful NIW petition.

The Scope of Adjustments Post-RFE

Upon receiving an RFE for your NIW petition, it’s natural to consider refining your proposed endeavor to address the USCIS’s concerns effectively. However, it’s essential to recognize the limitations imposed on such adjustments. You are permitted to gather new evidence supporting facts that existed before your petition was filed. This means any developments or achievements made after your initial filing cannot be introduced to substantiate your eligibility for the NIW.

Reframing vs. Material Changes

Reframing your original proposed endeavor to present it in a more compelling light is acceptable and often advisable. This could involve clarifying the significance of your work, its national importance, or how it positions you as well suited to advance the proposed endeavor. However, material changes to the nature of your proposed endeavor are not permissible.

For example, if your initial petition outlined a role as an investment analyst at a significant financial institution, shifting gears to propose founding and leading your own consulting firm would be considered a material change. Such a drastic pivot could lead to the rejection of your amendment, as it deviates significantly from the original proposal.

Strategy Moving Forward

For individuals facing this dilemma, a strategic approach is to maintain the core of your original proposed endeavor while enhancing its presentation with additional evidence and compelling arguments that predate your filing. Should your career path or goals have evolved significantly since your initial filing, considering a new petition might be the more appropriate course of action. This allows you to base your petition on the most current facts and aspirations, aligning more closely with your current professional trajectory.


While navigating the NIW petition process, especially after receiving an RFE, it’s vital to understand the distinction between refining your proposal and altering its fundamental nature. Staying within the bounds of your original proposed endeavor while strategically enhancing your petition with pre-existing evidence is key to success. For those whose professional goals have shifted significantly, filing a new petition may offer a fresh start with a foundation built on current achievements and aspirations.

We encourage readers to explore our free resources and schedule a consultation with us for personalized advice tailored to your unique immigration circumstances.

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