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I-140 National Interest Waiver Approval for Korean Researcher (in the field of Genetic Engineering) in Denver Colorado

by JP Sarmiento on November 7, 2017

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CASE: I-140 / National Interest Waiver

CLIENT: Korean


Our client contacted us in July 2014 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 genetic engineering and apoptosis.

Our client’s significant contributions have placed him at the pinnacle of his field. Throughout his research career, he has made critical research contributions in programmed cell death where he used genetic analysis in the round worm to gain important insights into human cancer. Our client has devoted himself to research in the aforementioned fields for more than 15 years and his outstanding research were highly evaluated by reviewers of various journals and by colleagues and experts in the field.  Moreover, our client’s research works were published in one of the top academic journals in the world. His outstanding works were published in journals such as Science, Nature, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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. The landmark immigration case that discusses the standards for NIWs is Matter of New York State Department of Transportation, 22 I&N Dec. 215 (Comm.1998). This case held that the qualifying applicant must show the following elements in his or her I-140 NIW petition: First, it must be shown that the alien seeks employment in an area of substantial intrinsic merit. Next, it must be shown that the proposed benefit will be national in scope. Finally, the petitioner seeking the waiver must establish that the alien will serve the national interest to a substantially greater degree than would an available U. S. worker having the same minimum qualifications. (When we filed this case, Matter of Dhanasar, 26 I&N Dec. 884 (AAO 2016) was not issued yet. Thus, we still filed our client’s NIW under NYSDOT standard.)

Our office prepared a 20-page brief for our client’s NIW filing. Our client also obtained 6 letters of recommendation from his colleagues and internationally-recognized scientists. Our office also included his publication records, presentation records, and conference materials in the NIW application. We demonstrated the intrinsic merit of our client’s research in the United States, the national scope of his research, and asserted that our client would serve the national interest to a substantially greater degree than would an available U.S. worker having the same minimum qualifications. His NIW application contained 33 exhibits (Exhibit A to GG).

Our office filed his I-140(NIW) petition to the USCIS Nebraska Service Center on November 16, 2016. Eventually, on October 25, 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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