EB2 NIW success: Cristina, a mental health counselor

Cristina EB2 NIW success mental healthCristina was born in Venezuela and is also a European citizen. She is a mental health counselor who recently received approval from USCIS for an I-140 in the EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) green card category. 

As a customer of Oscar’s Green Card products for DIY petitioners, Cristina reached out to me to share her success story with my YouTube channel audience. Here I share a summary of what she told me in that conversation, which you can watch in full here.

Note: Before this interview I didn’t know Cristina personally and I only knew about the outcome of her green card journey because she reached out to me to let me know about her approval. If you are a course member or customer and you also received approval, please shoot me an email to brigthen my day!

Meet Cristina

Cristina landed in the United States 14 years ago and has been living with her husband here under a nonimmigrant visa ever since. Years passed by until they decided to explore avenues to gain permanent residency in this country. As a professional, Cristina was a psychologist before arriving in the US, and once here she obtained a Master’s in Mental Health Couseling. She then met the requirements to get a full mental health license, which involves at least 2 years of supervised work and passing rigorous exams.

How she decided to go for EB-2 NIW

Initially, Cristina and her husband consulted with a few lawyers about the possibility to obtain a green card. She told me that these immigration attorneys discouraged her from being the principal applicant, and wanted her husband to lead that process instead.

However, Cristina did not let go and continued to do her research, which led her to find out that the National Interest Waiver was an option that could allow them to get their green cards without company sponsorship. She also found my YouTube channel and this very website, EB2NIW.info. She told me she used to watch my videos when commuting to work and found them interesting and educational. Her mind was then made up: she would self petition for a US green card under the EB2 NIW program. She downloaded my petition and started working on her case.

The bad news: she received a Request for Evidence (RFE) 

Cristina explained to me how she initially made a common mistake: she did not really focus on explaining what her professional plans in the US were (the famous proposed endeavor). She mostly talked about her achievements and current/past work in the field without describing her proposed endeavor effectively. Therefore, the RFE she received focused on Prong 1 (substantial merit and national importance). 

She put all her effort on crafting a good response to the RFE, and provided a good explanation of her professional mission in the US: to provide socio-emotional support to the caregivers of children whose parents where deployed as military personnel. It is important to note that Cristina had worked extensively with the military so this was not a new topic for her at all. She had the experience and the connections to craft a solid endeavor on this area.

Of course she had to provide evidence from official sources to argue that this endeavor is indeed of national importance. Cristina told me it was not difficult for her to do that: she found statistics about the number of children who are apart from their parents during their deployment in the military, as well as the specific challenges this creates for these families. She also found financial support from charities that work with them, which strengthened her proposed endeavor.

Cristina is indeed well positioned

The RFE did not challenge her ability to undertake the next step in her career. Prong number 2 from her original petition was accepted by the USCIS official. Cristina included her education credentials (such as her Master’s in the US) as well as her license to provide mental health counseling in America. She also showcased different recognitions she had received during her tenure, as well as recommendation letters from professors from Universities, important military staff who had seen her work and results, and also letters from previous places she worked in. She had also authored publications (non peer-reviewed) and had participated in professional conferences. As explained above she also obtained financial support from nonprofit organizations for her proposed endeavor.

Cristina’s EB2 NIW timeline

  • June 2023: Purchased Oscar’s petition
  • July 2023: I-140 submitted
  • November 2023: RFE issued
  • February 2024: Response to RFE sent to USCIS
  • May 2024: I-140 approval

Next step: consular processing

Cristina has her I-140 approved, which made her really happy. But unfortunately, that is not the end of the green card road. Once she becomes current in the visa bulletin, she will need to continue with the last step of the process. In her case, even if she is in the US at the moment, she chose to continue with Consular Processing. The reason is that her family is planning to move temporarily to Spain soon. She will get a consular interview in Madrid where she will complete the process and obtain a US green card.

Watch the interview with Cristina:

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