EB2 NIW Success Story: Davide, an entomologist that went from grad student to green card holder

Davide EB2 NIW successDavide is an Italian entomologist currently completing his PhD studies in a US University. He studied in Europe and did an internship in South Africa. Knowing that his passion was the study of insects, and particularely the study of parasitic wasps, he decided to continue his training with a doctorate degree. While finding funding for his research in the old continent was hard, he came to know about a professor in Florida who was studying the same type of wasps he is passionate about. Davide contacted her future advisor over email and eventually got accepted to the school and started working with this professor in America.

Davide contacted me to let me know of his approval and volunteer to be featured on the YouTube channel. If you also want to tell your story to the community, you can email me at oscar (at) eb2niw.info or using the Contact form on this website.

Initial status and change of visa

Davide came to the US under an F-1 visa, a very popular nonimmigrant visa for students enrolled in programs at American Universities. However, he later switched to a J-1 visa, which is also a nonimimgrant visa, because this would allow his wife to work as well (dependents of F-1 visa holders cannot be employed).

Davide’s motivation for a green card

Davide started looking into applying for a permanent residency status because this would align better with his career path. He wants to have the option to work for an entomological collection, or for government agencies that allow him to work with insects and study their morphology and evolution. These institutions often do not sponsor immigrations processes, and sometimes even require residency status to get hired. 

Lawyer or not: Davide’s decision on his EB2 NIW process

Initially, Davide was not extremely familiar with the green card system until a British person talked to him about the National Interest Waiver program under the EB-2 category. Before hiring his lawyer, he got to know my YouTube channel “Oscar’s Green Card”, according to him the best one in terms of clarification for immigrants in the US on the different steps involved (thanks, Davide!). In that moment, looking at other success stories, he understood that he could do it. However, he decided to hire an immigration attorney to support his case. He was able to retain the services of Ellis Porter.

EB2 NIW course banner black

Want to DIY EB2 NIW? Enroll in my course

If you need step-by-step guidance, I will provide a series of video lessons that cover how to qualify for the 3 prongs, how to write a solid cover letter, recommendation letters, professional plan, how to fill out forms... And you will get my own successful I-140 petition and adjustment of status package!

A National Interest Waiver case for a PhD candidate on Entomology

Here is a summary of the types of evidence Davide used to meet the Matter of Dhanasar requirements:

Prong 1: Proposed endeavor and National Importance

When crafting the proposed endeavor for Davide’s case, he and his lawyers framed it as a continuation of his research on parasitic wasps. These insects are crucial for some areas that are of national importance to the United States, for example agriculture. The US needs experts to understand these creatures that are beneficial for the food industry because they can act as biocontrol on other insects that may harm crops.

In addition, study of these bugs is important for tbiodiversity in general. The Federal Government is currently promoting research focused on aspects like environmental protection and conservation, which are tightly related to Davide’s research. Finally, his endeavor also touched on advancing the understanding of evolution, and it’s a STEM initiative that can help the US in the global competition for this sector.

Prong 2: Well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor

In the second prong the focus switches from the endeavor to the person’s qualifications. One needs to prove he or she is the right person to advance that proposed endeavor. USCIS describes in their Policy Manual several ways a petitioner can establish this. Out of those, Davide used:
  • Publication record on entomology (he had approximately a dozen at the time)
  • A book chapter on this field of expertise.
  • Citation history of his papers, which highlights how his research is being used by others.
  • Having participated in a project sponsored by NSF.
  • Reviewer for several peer-reviewed journals, illustrating how the judges the work of others.
  • Invited presentations in reputable institutions
  • Memberships in professional associations
  • Active participation in those societies, through presentation of research in conferences
Interestingly, Davide’s attorney did not ask him to include any recommendation letter in his original petition. Usually, we use these letters to reinforce the qualifications of the petitioner, and as validation for certain claims made, including on prong 2 but also on prong 1 to highlight the national importance of the endeavor.

The Request for Evidence

Davide received a Request for Evidence (RFE) for all three prongs of the Matter of Dhanasar. On prong 1, USCIS argued that even though his endeavor was of substantial merit, it did not raise to the level of national importance. The officer also challenged prong 2, and because of that, prong 3 was also not admitted. Of course, Davide’s hopes were crushed when he read the letter from USCIS! However, Davide’s lawyers had had experience with the same officer and felt confident they could succesfully rebute their claims. 
In response to the RFE, the lawyers explained (again) his participation on NSF funded projects and the national interest they had. To elevate the claims on prong 2, Davide submitted updated publication and citation record showing an increase in the count of both of them. He also obtained a letter from a professor at Berkeley describing that his citation record was very good for a PhD student. Finally, he wrote an updated personal statement to describe his plans in the United States.

Davide’s timeline

Davide had a pretty condensed timeline for his I-140 on EB-2 NIW, considering he did not use Premium Processing:

  • Filing date: December 22, 2022
  • RFE received: March, 2023
  • RFE response sent to USCIS: May, 2023
  • I-140 approval: June, 2023
Now, Davide will have to wait until his Priority Date of December 2022 becomes current according to the visa bulletin, so he can file his adjustment of status and complete his green card journey. It’s only a matter of time!

Davide’s tips to other EB2 NIW applicants

  1. Don’t be too scared of RFEs, as they are quite common and you can still get your approval after the response
  2. Be slightly arrogant when writing. This is not the time to be humble, and you need to highlight your achievements to make sure USCIS understand the importance of what you do and why you are the right person to do it.
  3. EB2 NIW is doable. This is not an impossible task! Immigration in the US is complex but it is possible to obtain an approval, and after you do, you will think it was not that bad in retrospective.
  4. If you are not sure about applying now, start gathering evidence so when you are ready you can pull all the relevant documents to start preparing your petition.

Watch Davide's interview in video format

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *