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What kinds of evidence can support my NIW proposed endeavor has substantial merit and national importance? Part 2

Many applicants find it challenging how to conceptualize and support a proposed endeavor for an EB2 NIW green card petition that contemplates broad enough benefits to the industry or society, beyond benefitting one’s immediate employer or clients.

This post overviews the list of evidence USCIS uses when they are evaluating NIW petitions for substantial merit and national importance. You could use this as a checklist or starting point when conceptualizing your case.

1. A Statement of Proposed Endeavor, describing in detail the proposed endeavor, and why this work has substantial merit and national importance.

When reviewing AAO appeals decisions, a surprising number of petitions are denied simply because the applicant is not specific or detailed enough in presenting their proposed endeavor. The government will specifically look for the following contents:

  • Explanations how applicant’s specific work will have a broader impact on their field.
  • Explanation on the projected impact on a problem that has been identified as nationally important that is attributable to the applicant’s future work.
  • (For entrepreneur applicants) Details on how an applicant’s proposed endeavor will generate tax revenue, an estimate of how much revenue it will generate, and whether this revenue would rise to a nationally important level.

Please refer to   of this series which expands on what details the USCIS is looking for in each of the above points.

2. Independent, objective documentary evidence that supports the Petitioner’s statements and supports why the project has substantial merit and national importance.

Just as important as conceptualizing and presenting a statement of proposed endeavor that addresses all the above points, is backing up these claims and arguments with objective, third-party documentary evidence, such as articles and reports. Even the most detailed and persuasive statement of proposed endeavor will lose its credibility if it is not accompanied by the right supporting evidence.

USCIS has identified four types of supporting evidence that can support the potential impact of a proposed endeavor. Please find them listed below, along with some examples.

  • Evidence showing the proposed endeavor has national or even global implications within a particular field.

Media attention on the proposed project that shows significant public and industry attention on the specific project, discussing how the results of this project can lead the way for the industry. Evidence that the results of this project are disseminated to other experts in the industry, such as proof of conference presentations about this ongoing project, patent publications, or academic journal articles. Independent, third-party expert letters that discuss how and why the applicant’s project will offer benefits to the industry as a whole.

  • Evidence showing the proposed endeavor has significant potential to employ U.S. workers or has other substantial positive economic effects, particularly in an economically depressed area.

This type of evidence will be relevant to entrepreneur applicants. Tax returns showing historic job creation of an applicant’s business, ideally showing significant historic growth that support future projections. Competitive incubator or accelerator admission and receipt of VC capital can also show the potential of generating substantial positive economic effects. If the job creation is in an economically depressed area, a letter of support from a local government official or an independent 3rd-party expert describing the depressed condition of that locality and affirming the applicant’s contribution to the local economy.

  • Evidence showing the proposed endeavor will broadly enhance societal welfare or cultural or artistic enrichment.

Evidence of significant industry or public attention on the applicant’s initiatives, such as by letters of intent from high-profile entities to collaborate, contracts for projects which show a large-scale investment in the project, and media articles discussing the applicant’s projects and their anticipated contributions to society.

  • Evidence showing the proposed endeavor impacts a matter that a government entity has described as having national importance or is the subject of national initiatives.

A combination of relevant government announcements – in the form of executive orders, White House press releases, legislation, media articles confirming large scale government investment in certain areas, creation of a new agency covering a specific area of concern, for example – and evidence linking the applicant’s specific endeavor to the area of national concern. For example, media articles or letters from independent, third-party experts identifying how, and to what extent, the applicant’s project will improve this area of national concern.


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