For most scholars who are applying for a National Interest Waiver (NIW), accompanying your application with publications in your name is very important for winning your case and receiving a waiver. Publications show that you are an issue area expert, and also, if published in a widely known journal, newspaper, or magazine, that you might even have a fairly large audience that trusts your expert advice. 

However, through the NIW application, there is not a lot of information one can find about which publications they should include with their application package and which they should discard. In other words, which articles are you going to include with your NIW application, and which do you not think will matter in terms of advancing the proposed endeavor? You don’t have to include every publication in your NIW case. 

Reviewing your Work

In order to give the USCIS officer the right information, and not include anything that is extraneous, it is a good idea for researchers and academics to go back to their publications/articles and re-read them. Here are some questions to ask yourself while you are reflecting on your published work:

1.  How does this publication relate to the proposed endeavor? Is it only related tangentially?

2.  Does the publication show that I am an expert in the field and therefore can be used as evidence that I’m an exceptional candidate for the EB-2 NIW?

3.  How many times has this publication been cited? By whom?

4.  What is the credibility level of the journal/magazine/newspaper that this piece was published in? Does it help my case and make me an authority figure in this issue area?

5.  Does the main content of the article/publication relate to some type of future success or innovation within the field I have been working in?

The Importance of Framing

These questions should help applicants frame how they want to show their successes in their field, and also narrow what matters in terms of the proposed endeavor. Applicants should understand that it is not the number of publications that you attach to your application package, but rather the quality of how each article relates to the proposed endeavor and makes a case for how your issue area specialization is in the national interest of the United States.

Along these lines, it also matters if your articles/publications have been cited by those who work for organizations/institutions that are authority figures on an issue area. For example, if you are a health researcher, and one of your articles has been cited by the National Institute of Health (NIH), that matters, greatly, and you should absolutely use this citation for your application.

Approaching RFEs

Applicants who have included publications that show they are subject matter experts, but lack those that show their proposed endeavor will benefit the U.S. national interest might receive an RFE. This is why supplying the USCIS with only information that is absolutely necessary for your case matters. If you are confused as to why you have received an RFE that is intentionally vague, make sure you go back and see if you need to submit different publications.

RFEs National Interest Waiver USCIS