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NIW for educators

Question:

 I recently graduated with a PhD in math an US university. I am currently on STEM-OPT which is about to expire. 

As most people in your website I am thinking about self-petitioning without an employer or the help of a lawyer. 

My goal is to present myself as a top educator since not only I have outstanding evaluations from my students but I have also been awarded an education award for exceptional teaching skills. The problem is that I only have one publication (my dissertation) and I don’t know many people other than my professional circle who can help me with references. 

Do you think I have a chance? If so, should I go for EB1A or NIW and which packet would you recommend from your website? Also what’s the estimated time and cost of the entire procedure (without the use of a lawyer).

Answer:

It is possible to file but quiet tricky in your case. Here is why
 
NIW: is possible
You can make an NIW case by claiming you are an outstanding educator in a field where there are a few or lack of educators in the US. Now the question becomes which subcategory (exceptional ability or advanced degree). USCIS prefers the former. So we suggest to try the former. In this case you need to satisfy 3 of the 7 EB2-EA criteria, which seems possible. 
 
 
EB1A: is very hard
Even if you satisfied the EB1A criteria, you need to show you are a “top” expert (on a national/international level) in your field. Unless you have some way of comparing your self to others educators nationally or internationally this would be hard to establish (based on information you provided). Next you need to show there is sustained interest in your work. 
 
If you like to try, you can use our NIW packets.
 
For cost and time estimates please see our FAQ.
 
Question:
 
Thank you for your time, 

Ok so my understanding so far is that NIW-exceptional ability is more suitable for me. But here’s my issue. 

Since I am more of an educator than a researcher I only have one publication (namely my dissertation) 
and maybe a couple of letters of recommendation. Sure, I really do think that I am top in the country 
when it comes to teaching skills (as the evaluations and teaching award proves). 

But how can I make a strong case to the government? 

Would a strong personal statement be enough to convince them? 

Do my outstanding students’ evaluations matter at all? 

Also, will the NIW packet help me creating these letters? 

Thank you in advance, 
 
Answer:
 
Your questions are answered below

 
Thank you for your time, 

Ok so my understanding so far is that NIW-exceptional ability is more suitable for me. But here’s my issue. 

Since I am more of an educator than a researcher I only have one publication (namely my dissertation) 
and maybe a couple of letters of recommendation. Sure, I really do think that I am top in the country 
when it comes to teaching skills (as the evaluations and teaching award proves). 

 
For any (EB1a or NIW) self-petition we usually suggest 7 or more letters. You should try to gather at least 7 letters. May be some from fellow educators, some from college dean etc. It would help if you can get some letters from educators out side of UCLA. 
 
For NIW all these letters should support your exceptional teaching skills and why US needs them (they cannot say UCLA needs them then it would not be national interest). If you show that your skills are exceptional and US needs them (will letters) then uscis considers you as niw case. You still need to satisfy 3 of the 7 exceptional ability criteria. Can you show evidence for at least 3 exceptional ability criteria?
 
Can you compare (with some accepted metric) your awards and evaluations at the national level with other educators to say you are top expert in the country? do you have evaluations and awards spread over 3  or more years? If you answer yes to both uscis may consider you as “extraordinary ability”. To have success in EB1a you then need to show evidence for uscis eb1a criteria. Would this be possible. 
 
 
But how can I make a strong case to the government?  
 
if you think you have evidence for one of the two paragraphs above you would be able to make a strong case. Otherwise our suggestion is give some time and build evidence that you think is lacking to support your case. 
 
 

Would a strong personal statement be enough to convince them? 

 
This will be very important but not sufficient, your awards, and recommendation letters should support your claims.
 
 

Do my outstanding students’ evaluations matter at all? 

 
Yes. These should be part of your evidence. 
 
 
Also, will the NIW packet help me creating these letters? 
 
 
Our NIW packet has at least 8 example letters. The structure and approach is very general and they should help. 
 
 
 
 
Sincerely
Green card for Phd Team
Helping NIW and EB1A applications
with our DIY packages

2 Responses to NIW for educators

  • Rebecca says:

    Hi there,
    I know this forum is for PhDs but i have a masters, 3 publications and work as a nutrition educator in low income neighborhoods,which I think is of national interest. I am currently working on OPT. Is there a possibility that i can qualify for NIW?

    • GCforPhD says:

      Yes it may be possible. Please look at the USCIS NIW requirements and see if you can meet at least 3 out of 10 criteria. You would also need a strong justification that your case is in the US national interest (it should not be specific to a particular low income neighborhood- then it would be of regional interest and not national interest) and several supporting recommendation letters. You can send us more details of your case for us if you would like us to evaluate.

      Best wishes

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