When preparing the cover letter for the I-140 petition, it is important to gather and present as much information and evidence as possible. Remember that the I-140 is not just the form, but the whole petition where you should prove you meet all the requirements for EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver). To show you comply with each requirement, you should provide the necessary evidence. A personal statement is often a good document to include in the exhibits along with other evidence. In this article, I will explain why and how you can go about drafting your own personal statement for EB2 NIW.
What is a Personal Statement
A personal statement is a document drafted by the petitioner explaining the professional plans to pursue in the United States. It may seem redundant considering that part of the cover letter discusses the “proposed endeavor”. However, this plan can bring additional clarity to the USCIS officer. It can define the type of activity, beyond the endeavor, that one plans to undertake. In addition, the highlights of it can be quoted in the cover letter itself.
When is a good idea to include a Personal Statement for EB2 NIW?
A personal statement is a good idea for petitioners who are working professionals and not businesspeople or entrepreneurs. In other words, a personal statement or professional plan makes sense for a person who has been and/or plans to be an employee in an organization. For example, a scientist or researcher who has worked in academia or in a company. Or an engineer who works for companies developing products.
On the other hand, businesspeople or entrepreneurs may choose to write and attach a business plan instead, which can be more relevant to their occupations and provide more details to the USCIS officer. We will cover business plans in a separate blog post.
How to make a Personal Statement for EB-2 NIW
When writing a Personal Statement, the petitioner should be intentional since some excerpts from this document will be quoted in the petition’s cover letter. The structure of the personal statement can be the following:
- Salutation. Similar to the recommendation letters, it is courteous to include some sort of salutation to the USCIS officer that will review the document. “Dear Sir/Madam”, “Dear USCIS Officer”, “To Whom It May Concern”, are a few options.
- Subject line. For example: “Personal Statement – Name and Last Name”
- Petitioner´s background. This is just a summary of the profile of qualifications. It can be half or less than half of the document and it can serve as a reminder of how the person is well positioned in the field of endeavor.
- Petitioner’s professional plans. In this part of the letter, the petitioner explains what the plans are for work in the United States, should a green card be granted. This should be at least half of the document. In the next section, I cover this part more in detail.
- Name and signature. Don’t forget to sign in ink – it looks so much more professional!
How long should the Personal Statement be?
In my opinion, this document should be approximately 2 to 4 pages. Of course, each case is different and may require shorter or longer explanations. In general, you do not want to write too much that is completely boring to read. Too short personal statements could leave the USCIS officer thinking that there are no solid plans for a future in the US.
What to include in a Professional Plan for EB2 NIW
The petitioner’s professional plans can be broken down into sub-headers or paragraphs. A first paragraph can provide just an overview of the plans in the US, and then subsequent paragraphs can explain in detail different aspects. For example, a scientist or researcher can dedicate one paragraph to introducing the overall topic of investigation – let’s say process development for bioproducts. Then, there can be different sub-sections describing specific projects, such as “Production of biofuels from biomass residues”, and “Production of RNA for biopesticide uses”.
It is important to briefly link each project to its National (or international) Importance, to reinforce the idea that the endeavor is indeed linked to the United States’ interests.
Additionally, I suggest explaining in detail what type of job the petitioner is seeking, to articulate the work in the US better. If already in the US, the petitioner can talk about their current position (its relevance) and what type of organization it is. If there were already other job offers made, or recruiters approaching the petitioner, it is also interesting to mention them and add those as evidence in a suitable Exhibit. This can be additional evidence of how the petitioner is well positioned as there is interest in their services. All of this can be included in a separate subsection.
Wrap everything up by reaffirming how convinced you are that you will be able to easily find (or retain) the targeted job once you obtain the residency.
The value of the Personal Statement for EB2 NIW
The Personal Statement is useful to articulate the plans in the United States properly. This lets the USCIS officer know that the petitioner has a specific vision and plan to follow once in the US. This can help establish the second prong of the Matter of Dhanasar (the petitioner is well-positioned). In fact, the USCIS Policy Manual specifically talks about this type of document as one of the types of evidence that can be used for this prong: “A plan describing how the person intends to continue the proposed work in the United States”.
In conclusion: what should you do?
Like for other green card application matters, the decision is yours (and your lawyer’s if you use one). You know your case and can decide if a Personal Statement containing your professional plans can add any value to your EB-2 NIW application. If you think it can make your case stronger and clearer, then I would include it. In my case, I decided not to include a Personal Statement because there was little information to add through this document. You can download my real successful I-140 package here.