While some EB-2 NIW applicants might have years of experience in official business roles or for being an accredited physician, other applicants come from the academic world and need to show their evidence of being eligible for the NIW based on their research abilities, based on their prior workings in laboratories that have made an impact or a discovery, or based on proposals or grants that have been awarded to them.  

Specifically, for researchers and those who are involved with some sort of innovative project that might benefit the U.S. economy, having proof that your proposed endeavor will benefit the U.S. economy and be of national interest is usually tied to whether or not you have funding as a researcher, and what your granting organization/body looks like.

Research and Funding

There is definitely a gap between the number of researchers in the professional world who have aspirational goals to carry out a research project, and those who have actually secured funding that will be allocated to a researcher over a defined project timeline to carry out research activities. The latter kind of research is what the USCIS looks for in candidates, and is clearly defined by the following aspects:

  • How much funding is being given to the applicant
  • Over what period of time is the funding being dispensed to the applicant, and in how many increments
  • The reputation of the granting organization and their history to effect change in a community/demographic within the U.S.
  • How difficult it was to obtain the funding, i.e. competition 

Because the EB-2 NIW is highly sought after, all of these aspects of funding must come into play and should be considered by foreign researchers who are looking to apply for a national interest waiver. Thus applicants should be able to look at the above list of fundamentals for grants and be able to answer all of them. If applicants are having a difficult time knowing how much funding will be available to them, or if they have not received a grant, then it will be even harder to convince the USCIS (from a researchers standpoint), that you will be able to carry out the proposed endeavor in the United States and create some type of national (or sub-national) impact.

Creating a Plan

However, if you do have funding, or are being supported by a university in some capacity, then it is important to know how to present your research interests and grant funding to the USCIS on your NIW application.

The first step is to attach to your application a receipt or letter confirming that you have been awarded a grant for a certain project. Make sure that the letter or receipt has the institutions name on it, that the letter is addressed to you, and that the award generally states the amount of funding that is being given to the applicant.

Next, you might also provide information about the institution that awarded you. What are they known for? Where are they based? What is the their company ethos? Attaching a brief document as to the organizations mission and values on their website might be of some assistance.

This information will help the USCIS understand what the project is about, since the organization who is funding the application has a specific target audience, and has a known cause/mission they are supporting.

The next step is for the applicant to provide details of the plan. However, this might not even be necessary for the applicant to write out if they have already included a plan in their grant application. They could simply save themselves work by attaching a copy of their plan to the application package.

Overall, the reputation of the granting organization and the scope of the project detail will be of utmost importance in terms of national importance. As mentioned, the U.S. even as an advanced Western country faces several crises and challenges, most of which are chronic and have been affecting our economy and the well-being of Americans for generations. Grant funding that addresses well known issues, but has an innovative approach, should go a long way for NIW applicants.

EB-2 NIW Research