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I-140 National Interest Waiver Approval for Korean Researcher in the field of Urban Forestry in Virginia

by JP Sarmiento on October 10, 2017

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CASE: I-140 / National Interest Waiver

CLIENT: Korean

LOCATION: Virginia

Our client contacted us in October 2016 about the possibility of doing a National Interest Waiver self-petition. He is a researcher from South Korea and he is an exceptional researcher and scientist in the field of urban forestry and urban ecosystem research.

Our client’s significant contributions have placed him at the pinnacle of his field. He has identified innovative solutions for improving energy conservation in dense urban areas. Specifically, our client is making significant contribution in the area of urban forestry for energy conservation and other ecosystem services. His research is revealing and identifying how trees influence local climate and can decrease building energy consumption which has important implications for city, state, federal policies across the United States.

Upon review of his credentials and qualifications, our office determined that he was definitely qualified for the National Interest Waiver (NIW) category. Being qualified for NIW is beneficial since you would not need an employer nor family member to petition for you for green card purposes. You’d be eligible for a self-petition and unless you are from China or India, in which case you’d still have to wait for priority dates to be current, you would be eligible to apply for adjustment of status (green card) immediately without any lag in priority dates.

As a primer, NIW applicants must have a master’s or higher degree. While we prepared his case, the AAO set the new standards for NIW cases in Matter of Dhanasar, 26 I&N Dec. 884 (AAO 2016). Under the new standard, the petitioner must demonstrate that the foreign national’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance. Next, it must be shown that he or she is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor. Finally, the petitioner seeking the waiver needs to demonstrate that, on balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the job offer and labor certification requirements. Id.

Our office prepared a 24-page brief for our client’s NIW filing. Our client also obtained 11 letters of recommendation from his colleagues and internationally-recognized researchers. Our office also included his publication records, presentation records, and conference materials in the NIW application. We demonstrated that our client is one of the few elite researchers who have made significant and substantial contributions to his field of endeavor, that he is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor, and it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer and thus of a labor certification for our client. His NIW application contained 43 exhibits (Exhibit A to QQ).

Our office filed his I-140(NIW) petition to the USCIS Texas Service Center on January 26, 2017. Eventually, on September 27, 2017, the USCIS approved his I-140 petition without any Requests for Evidence.  When we filed his I-140, he concurrently filed his I-485 adjustment of status application. His adjustment of status application will be approved soon as well.

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