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Avoiding RFEs in National Interest Waiver Cases

When seeking U.S. permanent residency under the EB-2 visa category, which is designed for individuals with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities, the National Interest Waiver (NIW) presents an option. This waiver essentially waives the job offer requirement and the test of the U.S. market for U.S. worker, assuming the applicant’s endeavor will significantly benefit the United States. However, the complexity and strictness of the evidence required to prove such benefit mean that many applicants fail without adequate legal guidance. Zneimer & Zneimer P.C., a law firm with extensive experience in NIW petitions, has reviewed over two thousand AAO decisions and can spot common pitfalls to avoid RFEs or denials.

Understanding the NIW Criteria

The criteria for an NIW, set by the precedent case In re Dhanasar, are stringent:

  1. The proposed endeavor has substantial merit and national importance.
  2. The individual is well positioned to advance this endeavor
  3. It would benefit the U.S. to waive the job offer and labor certification requirements.

These guidelines aim to prioritize endeavors that offer significant benefits to the U.S., from technological advancements to societal improvements.

Common Evidence Shortfalls in NIW Petitions

As an illustration, we will analyze the case  Flores v. Garland (2023).  In that case, the noncitizen’s NIW petition was denied and the noncitizen sued the government in federal court.  In case of Flores v. Garland, the Fifth Circuit Court provided a clear example of how petitions often fail due to inadequate evidence. The petitioner, despite claiming that his project met the Dhanasar standards, could not provide sufficient evidence of national importance or prove he was uniquely positioned to succeed. This denial underscores typical issues many face without proper legal aid.

Key Issues Identified

  1. Insufficient Detailed Evidence: Merely stating the endeavor’s merits isn’t enough.  A conclusory statement not backed with actual evidence is legally insufficient.  Our law firm Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. often is hired to respond to RFEs where detailed, robust evidence linking the project to measurable national benefits is missing.
  2. Broad Claims of Importance: Successful petitions need specific, substantiated claims about their national significance, backed by data and expert testimonials.   Broad claims are insufficient as a matter of law.
  3. Weak Causal Connections: Applicants often struggle to directly connect their qualifications and their project’s benefits to the nation’s interests. Demonstrating this link through previous work and the potential future impact is essential.

Strategies to Enhance NIW Petitions

To overcome these challenges, Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. recommends the following detailed approaches:

  1. Comprehensive Documentation: Include scientific studies, congressional reports, executive memoranda, economic analyses, peer-reviewed articles, and detailed expert letters that collectively paint a compelling picture of the endeavor’s national importance.
  2. Utilizing Quantifiable Metrics: Metrics that quantify the impact, such as potential job creation, economic output, or advancements in efficiency, can powerfully support a petition.
  3. Showcasing Personal Achievements: Clearly relate personal qualifications to the proposed endeavor’s advancement through detailed documentation of past achievements, awards, and recognitions.
  4. Leveraging Expert Opinions: Letters from industry experts should specifically support the endeavor’s merit and importance, offering detailed insights and not just broad endorsements.

Before embarking on a NIW journey, it is important to identify what is the issue or the problem that your endeavor will improve, how it will improve it, and how can you are qualified to carry out the endavor.  With the experienced guidance of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C., petitioners can significantly enhance their chances of approval, contributing to the U.S.’s growth and development in meaningful ways. To learn more about optimizing your NIW petition, visit [Zneimer & Zneimer P.C.’s website](#) for comprehensive support and expert legal insights.

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