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Understanding the Evidence: Why Letters of Support are Important Components of Extraordinary Ability Petitions

Compiling the evidence is an integral part of the petition process for EB-1 and National Interest Waiver (NIW) petitions. Gathering letters of support from professionals in your field can help illustrate your “extraordinary ability” and/or provide detailed information about your achievements in your area of expertise.

While obtaining letters of support is important, finding the RIGHT kind of letters of support is critical. We work with clients to help identify individuals who will provide the most valuable letters of support in an extraordinary ability or national interest waiver petition. We offer free consultations if you would like to talk about your reference letters, other types of evidence, or any other aspect of your extraordinary ability petition. Here are a few tips to help you with gathering letters of support.

Choose the Correct Number of References

EB-1 and NIW petitioners should obtain 6 to 8 letters from individuals who can attest to accomplishments in their field. References should be chosen to show a holistic view of you as a person of extraordinary ability. While it is important to have letters from your current employer, it is just as critical, in not more, to have letters of support from people who don’t personally know you, but know of your work. As the saying goes, your reputation should precede you.

Choose Your References Wisely

The most convincing references will be those people who are also distinguished in their fields. If you were asked to judge the work of others on a panel, ask an advisor of that panel describe why you are qualified to judge the work of others. References should be able to clearly articulate how they are experts in your field (why are they qualified to view you as extraordinary), how they came across your work, how your work contributes to your field, and why it is of national importance or exhibits extraordinary ability. If the letter is from another researcher, it should explain how your work has influenced their own work. While you should strive to obtain at least six letters, it is more important to have strong letters of support – don’t dilute your case with weak letters.

Provide the Framework for a Useful Reference

When soliciting letters of support, it can be helpful to include a template for the writer to reference. If there are specific skills you need to highlight with the letter of support, it is appropriate to let the writer know. If the letter writer needs assistance drafting the letter, your immigration attorney can help draft a letter that highlights your skills and abilities.

If you need help ascertaining whether you qualify for an EB-1 or NIW petition, contact us today for free consultation. We can review your credentials and give you an honest assessment of your case, and provide alternatives if needed. For more information about self-petition green cards, download our free guide.