Authorship of papers and publication of patents certainly help establish the broad impact of your work to strengthen your NIW case, so it is recommended to build up such records if possible. However, there can also be creative ways to showcase the impact of your contributions through other forms of evidence. Here are some suggestions.
1. Letter from company insider confirming personal contribution to project combined with objective evidence of project’s success
If you made a significant contribution to a project that resulted in a product or technology that was commercialized in a well-known product or resulted in a patent – even if your name is personally not included in the patent – it may be possible to make the link with the success of that project and your critical role in that project through well-developed letters from a company insider.
For example, let’s say you’re an automotive engineer and you developed a new design for installing and deploying airbags that were implemented in a major automaker’s new flagship model. Let’s also say the flagship model was commercialized widely and has been reviewed by industry media to have outstanding safety features – let’s say some of these reviews discussed the superior airbag performance, even though they didn’t mention your name. In such a case, we may be able to use these evidences to your advantage by including a letter from your company describing your personal contributions, which can be linked to the objective evidence we have about the success of the model, which appears, at least in part, due to a superior design with the airbags.
2. Presentations at industry conferences
An often-overlooked alternative to papers and patents is presentations at industry conferences, which can also be used in support of an engineer’s claim that the impact of their work extends beyond their immediate employer or clients but will benefit the industry more broadly.
The more prestigious the conference is, the more distinguished your role is, the more numerous these engagements are, the more helpful this would be for your case. For example, being invited to share one’s insights as a featured panelist is a stronger evidence of industry influence than participating in a poster session.
The content of these presentations would also be relevant, and we would suggest the petitioner include copies of the powerpoint presentation, abstract, or report, alongside the program for the conference featuring your presentation in the schedule. If the record, taken as a whole, paint the picture that you have advanced insights in a particular area in your field (e.g., airbag deployment technology) that you regularly share with other experts through being invited as a speaker to present at these conference engagements, this can support a finding that your continued work would result in positive impact to the field more broadly rather than only benefiting your employer or clients.
3. Incubator or accelerator admission and 3rd-party investments
If your proposed endeavor is a business startup, applying and securing admission to prestigious incubators or accelerators based on your business idea, securing third-party investments, and winning grants from government agencies could also be persuasive evidence of the substantial merit and national importance of your proposed endeavor.
In sum, applicants may not be aware there are a variety of ways to approach an NIW petition, and there is no need to be discouraged just because one doesn’t fit the standard profile of a typical petitioner with a Ph.D. with numerous publications and citations. We have worked on NIW cases for a broad variety of petitioners and can provide you with strategic advice on how to best highlight the most compelling aspects of your profile.
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