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What kind of evidence can support that an NIW applicant is “well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor?

evidence puzzle pieces

To qualify for a green card under the EB-2 NIW category, an applicant must first have an advanced degree, defined as a Masters or higher, or have exceptional ability in the field. In addition, the applicant must be able to provide evidence demonstrating the following three criteria:

To meet the first requirement, “substantial merit and national importance,” the government is looking for projects that have the potential to result in broad and large-scale benefits to the economy and society, such as medical advances, improvements in manufacturing processes, technological advancement for the industry as a whole, improvement of the welfare of veterans, and environmental protection, for example.

To meet the second requirement, “well positioned to advance the endeavor,” the focus is on the individual applicant. The government then evaluates the applicant’s skills, knowledge, experience, and other indicators that signals that he or she is well suited to lead the project specified in the proposed endeavor statement.

In assessing the applicant’s eligibility under the “well positioned” requirement, generally USCIS looks for evidence of a track record of success in the field, a plan for future activities, progress towards achieving the proposed endeavor, and interest from potential customers.

For example, an AAO case from February 2023 discusses an application filed by an environmental specialist and consultant, who proposed to set up a business in the U.S. to help U.S. companies reduce the environmental impact of their projects in various sectors and help improve public agencies’ environmental policies. The types of evidence that could support “well position” included the following:

Plan for future activities:

  • A detailed business plan describing in detail the services or products that will be developed and offered, how it improves upon existing services or products, and what the potential impact will be.
  • A business plan including a discussion of potential organizations and entities that could be clients or customers of the services or products offered.
  • A business plan detailing the financials. For example, where would the applicant obtain initial financing? What is the revenue model? What are the projected financial statements?

Track record of success:

  • Specific examples indicating that the Petitioner’s work has impacted the field. For example, examples where the Petitioner’s work resulted in the change of existing policy or practice, or the creation of a new environmental policy.
  • Describe the Petitioner’s specific roles in a seminar or research & development project and how it impacted environmental policy.
  • Describe the Petitioner’s specific role in the development of a tool, with an explanation of how the tool resulted in an environmental impact.

Progress towards achieving the proposed endeavor:

  • Agreements with other businesses retaining the petitioner’s consulting services in environmental programming.
  • Testimonials from clients who already retained petitioner’s services.
  • Detailed descriptions of the intended environmental programs to be implemented.

Generation of interest among relevant parties:

  • Letters of interest from potential customers or users identified in the proposed endeavor statement.

In sum, there are common types of evidence USCIS is likely to expect to see when officers are evaluating an NIW case. For the “well positioned” prong, expert letters containing sufficient detail demonstrating the applicant’s “track record of success” is a key element. Agreements with potential customers or users can show progress towards achieving the proposed endeavor. Finally, letters of intent from clients or partners for the project can show that the project has already generated interest among relevant parties.

An immigration attorney with broad experience in NIW cases can provide you with invaluable guidance and support throughout the process.

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