Response-to-RFE: Approval in Five Days for a Self-petitioned NIW from NSC

Following the NIW approval in 5 days for a self-petitioned NIW case, our firm received another NIW approval in 5 days, which is quite remarkable for a case filed with the Nebraska Service Center.

The applicant filed the NIW on September 29, 2005. The RFE arrived on November 10, 2005. We filed the response to RFE on January 27, 2006, and received the NIW approval on February 1, 2006.

The client sought our help to handle her RFE. The client had prepared a well-structured and articulate personal statement. In addition, she provided six recommendation letters from diverse sources, including letters from advisors and independent experts, as well as one letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Unfortunately, this NIW received an RFE because USCIS concluded the documentation submitted was not sufficient to warrant a favorable decision. Specifically, it did not properly address the third prong of the NIW, similar to most RFEs that we have handled. Although this particular client had done an unusually good job in explaining her research achievements and contributions, neither the recommendation letter nor her own personal statement compared her research with her peers. Moreover, this client had failed to mention the important research she had conducted in China.


The client has fairly impressive credentials, stronger than some of our approved NIW cases. The client received her Ph. D in Endocrinology from a medical university in China. While in China, the client’s research projects were funded by the Chinese Postdoctoral Science Foundation. She is a recipient of Travel Awards from the American Society of Nephrology. More than a dozen publications, including 6 articles in Chinese, were authored by this individual, published in both nationally and internationally circulated journals. In addition, the client has 14 abstracts in international conference proceedings. This client is also a member of The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and a member of The American Society of Nephrology.

Field of Research

The client, a postdoctoral research scientist in Colorado, is conducting pioneering studies aiming to understand the mechanisms underlying the kidney disease. This individual’s research is of substantial benefit to the health of U.S. citizens and to the U.S. economy, as evidenced by research funding through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

Our Response

The RFE specifically requests evidence that the client has a record of prior achievements and a substantially greater ability to serve national interests than the majority of his/her colleagues, as well as demonstrating influence on the field. All in all, the RFE requested the client to provide evidence that she satisfies the third prong of NIW.

We decided to provide more expert opinion letters, in particular, independent opinion letters, to convince the USCIS that the client is well qualified for NIW. Due to lack of networks in the field, the client found it hard to obtain recommendation letters from people outside of her circle. We then carefully drafted a request for recommendation letter on the client’s behalf, and the client emailed the request to the selected list of experts who work in her field. Most of the responses received were quite positive. The client was able to obtain letters from experts at universities in the United States and experts from abroad, as well as one letter from the National Kidney Foundation. Based on an analysis of the RFE, we strategically drafted additional letters addressing the issues raised in the RFE. To establish that our client’s research makes a profound scientific contribution, the letters argued that our client made groundbreaking discoveries which significantly changed scientists’ understanding of kidney lipid metabolism, thus provides a new direction for kidney disease research. The opinion letters also testified that our client received those highly selective travel awards due to her excellence in research.

As part of our efforts to prove the client’s prior research achievements, we also provided an expert opinion letter from the client’s advisor in China, describing the criteria of Fellowships from the Chinese Postdoctoral Science Foundation, and the pioneering research our client had conducted in China.

Finally, the RFE requests the client to provide copies of published articles by other researchers citing her research. The client was able to find a couple of citations of one of her papers in English from the ISI. In addition, the client’s papers in Chinese have more than ten citations, which were not mentioned in her initial submission. Since the citation record is not substantial, instead of providing the number of times that the client’s papers were cited, we discussed in depth the novel findings that the client had made in these cited papers. Furthermore, we argued, through the expert opinion letters, that our client’s research discoveries have sparked great interest across the field of kidney disease research.

The NIW was approved in five days after the response to RFE was submitted. The client was thrilled with the approval.

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