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What role do expert letters play in a National Interest Waiver Application?

By February 25, 2021March 23rd, 2021Immigration, National Interest Waiver
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Expert letters are an important part of a National Interest Waiver application, as they can be used to discuss the applicant’s professional history and success, as well as explain the substantial merit and national importance of the proposed endeavor. It is especially helpful when you can provide letters from experts who first met you or contacted you through professional channels because they were favorably impressed after encountering your work in the relevant field (for example, if they heard you give a talk, saw you perform, read a publication by you, or used or purchased a product you developed).

Who Should Write the Letters?

Experts may include past employers or colleagues, professors, clients, editors of peer-reviewed journals or other prominent publications in which you have published your work, researchers who have cited your work or commercialized any aspect of your research, government officials, well recognized figures in the industry & political figures, among others. It is important that the letter writers can demonstrate that they are nationally or international recognized experts in the field, to help give weight to their opinions.

What Should the Letters Say?

Although the letter writers do not need to know you personally (and it can be stronger for the application if they are familiar with your work but not you, personally), the letters should speak to your contributions to the field and the importance of your proposed endeavor. In terms of the content, the letter should contain a description of the expert’s relationship to you, a description of your professional history and impressive contributions to the field (for example, prizes or awards you have won, impressive or influential publications, business success, participation on prestigious panels, impressive exhibitions, ground-breaking research, etc)  and any background information they can provide on your field of endeavor and why it has substantial merit and national importance.  Any technical jargon or industry-specific terminology should be explained clearly, as the USCIS officer reviewing the petition will likely not be familiar with your specific industry. The letters should generally be around 2-3 pages maximum and each letter should have its own style and voice. Templates or form letters that repeat the same information in the same language are more likely to be discounted by USCIS.

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