NIW and EB-1 Citations: How Many Are Enough?

Scholars from non-science and technology fields can take a different approach.

As we have consistently advised our clients, 150 citations seems to be a good rule of thumb for National Interest Waiver and EB-1 cases, but this is a norm from science and engineering (STEM) fields. What do we do about scholars/researchers in other fields whose work is not sufficiently cited according to this standard? Does that doom the case? Not necessarily. What USCIS is looking for is impact of the scholar/researcher’s work on the field as a whole. Some fields are very practical and real world oriented; others in the humanities or social sciences do not lend themselves to numerous publications and citations. What to do?

First, we look at the impact of a scholar/researcher’s work in the real world. Often original ideas are picked up by the consulting companies and then incorporated into industry-specific best practices guidelines. Sometimes we approach companies where the researcher may have worked in the past, or endorsers in similar companies in the same industry, to outline the specific real world impact of the researcher’s original contributions to their bottom line and the success of their business.

Next, we approach editors at the appropriate scholarly publishers and presses and ask them for a letter explaining to USCIS that in the particular field at issue, such as art history, publications for a scholar are few and far between because of the difficulty of publishing in that field and that scholars tend not to cite each other but have other ways to acknowledge impact such as inviting the scholar to a conference, to guest lecture, etc..

We also look to see if other specialists in the field have used the papers/ideas of the scholar/researcher in their undergrad or graduate classes. We would then include a copy of the syllabus.

When filing a case, we explain all of this to USCIS while making the argument that NIW/EB-1 cases, by law, are open to many fields other than science and engineering and that USCIS metrics must accommodate the standards and practices that are unique to each field.

Article categories: NIW/EB-1/Outstanding Researchers and Professors

About the Author