In our 35+ years of professional experience and over 13 years of operating in the U.S. immigration sector, Visa Business Plans has learned a lot. And when it comes to applying for an EB-2/NIW visa, we’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Because we genuinely care about you being successful in the U.S., we have put together this list of the 7 most common errors made by individuals applying for an EB2/NIW visa.
Mistake #1 – Thinking that filing an EB2/NIW petition is just ‘filling out a form”
There are certainly forms to fill, but the EB2/NIW petition is far more complicated than just responding to a list of questions. An applicant must know how to address each question sufficiently, and, because the answers submitted are permanent, even small mistakes can compound. But most importantly, an EB-2/NIW petition must be supported by a convincing, research-backed narrative that justifies why the applicant should be allowed to skip the traditional (and lengthy) process of legally establishing him or herself in the U.S. and obtaining a green card.
Even if you answer each question well at face value, if you fail to build a comprehensive argument, you may be heading for a visa rejection. This is mistake #1 because it’s the most common error EB-2/NIW applicants make when writing and submitting their petitions themselves. Not using an immigration attorney and completing a visa petition on your own may be cheaper in the short term, but that choice can haunt you for years and may have permanent implications on your ability to live and work in the U.S.
Mistake #2 – Not considering the audience
A proposed endeavor plan, the technical name of one of the types of narratives that generally support an EB2/NIW petition, will not be read by a professional in the applicant’s field. It will be read by an adjudication officer who probably knows little to nothing about the petitioner’s industry or area of expertise. To make matters more complicated, the adjudication officer will make a decision based only on what is included in the visa petition. So if the proposed endeavor plan is written with too much jargon and too little explanation, the chances of rejection go up. For a visa petition to succeed, the writer of the EB-2/NIW proposed endeavor plan or business plan must masterfully express the applicant’s past competence and projected vision in a way that any adjudication officer can understand. No pressure.
Mistake #3 – Not considering the legal framework
Adjudication officers govern themselves by a list of precepts developed to guide their final decisions. This list of precepts acts like a legal framework and is based on American laws, policies, and regulations that must be followed. As a result, it is essential that anyone writing an EB2/NIW personal endeavor plan or business plan be familiar with the U.S. legal framework where it is relevant to this type of visa.
Mistake #4 – Basing the filing on past experience only
Our CEO, Marco Scanu, frequently jokes: “If Albert Einstein applied today for an EB2/NIW, he would probably get denied.” But how is that possible? Albert Einstein was a genius who discovered relativity and practically invented quantum physics. Surely the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS) would see his great value to America! …Right?
Well, the EB2/NIW petition cannot be based entirely on past accomplishments. If Albert Einstein applied today, most likely, the adjudication officer would send him a Request for Evidence (RFE) commenting:
Thank you for sharing your past contributions, Mr. Einstein. However, please explain in detail what you plan to do going forward, how this project of yours is of national importance, and why it will be beneficial to the U.S.?”
Yes, past experience is very important, but equally relevant are the petitioner’s future plans. These must be clearly outlined, well-supported by facts, and presented in a way that unambiguously explains the national importance of the beneficiary’s proposal.
Mistake #5 – Not having a solid strategy
At Visa Business Plans, every EB-2/NIW petition project we complete is guided by a strategy. Usually, a proposed endeavor plan strategy is developed by the attorney in coordination with their client. But, many times, attorneys reach out to us to consult our professional opinion to devise an optimal approach. When this happens, we follow a proprietary process comprised of exhaustive research and analysis before presenting our recommendations to the legal counsel. It is then that the attorney decides the ideal route for their client to take to increase their chances of success.
The reason we’re explaining these “behind the scenes” details is to emphasize that creating an EB-2/NIW business plan is more art than science. There’s no simple checklist a novice can follow to create a Van Gogh from scratch. Synthesizing a unique strategy based on the petitioner’s background and business proposal takes both experience and a bit of talent. Just like good art.
Mistake #6 – Underestimating the type of request you are making to the U.S. government
The EB-2/NIW visa is an immigrant visa that grants a green card to the beneficiary without a sponsor. This is no small request to make to the most powerful country in the world!
Our CEO often explains it like this: “Imagine you have a child, and your child asks for $5. You’ll probably give them the $5 without asking more questions. But, imagine that same child asks you for $100,000. Now, that request will prompt a lot of questions.”
Well, that’s what the U.S. government feels like when someone requests an EB-2/NIW visa. This type of visa is a big ask, and that’s why petitioners should be prepared to offer a thorough explanation of their past accomplishments and, most importantly, the potential benefit of their future plans.
Mistake #7 – Not respecting the adjudication officer’s time
U.S. Adjudication officers are required to review multiple visa cases per hour. On top of that, they are under high scrutiny, often audited to justify why a case was approved or denied. With limited time and high stakes, adjudication officers are in a stressful position and cannot take their final decisions lightly. The last thing they need is a convoluted application that takes forever to get to the point and hides important details behind a bunch of superfluous information.
If we’re being honest, the adjudication officer simply doesn’t have the time to develop a deep understanding of every element behind the beneficiary’s petition. As a result, the proposed endeavor or business plan must balance detail with clarity, to create a final result that is comprehensive but still reader-friendly. Otherwise, petitioners may be challenged with a nasty RFE or an upfront denial.
So, even though we’ve spent the majority of this article telling you to be detailed, your EB-2/NIW business plan also needs to be concise, straightforward, and definitive. A solid proposed endeavor plan removes all doubts from the adjudication officer’s mind by offering succinct but undisputable reasons for them to confidently approve the visa petition.
These are just a few of the mistakes we have seen over and over again. Remember, your EB-2/NIW visa petition has the potential to change your life, so don’t let these avoidable errors be the obstacle that stops your dreams in their tracks.
By working with professional business consultants with experience in the business immigration sector, you can create a proposed endeavor plan or EB-2/NIW business plan that truly reflects your talent and potential. If you are applying for an EB-2/NIW visa, Visa Business Plans is here to help. Contact us today!
Visa Business Plans is led by Marco Scanu, a certified coach from the University of Miami with a globally-based practice coaching Fortune 1000 company executives, entrepreneurs, as well as professionals in four different continents. Mr. Scanu advises clients on turnaround strategies and crisis management.
Mr. Scanu received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Cum Laude) from the University of Florida and an MBA in Management from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Mr. Scanu was also a Visiting Scholar at Michigan State University under the prestigious H. Humphrey Fellowship (Fulbright program) with a focus on Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, and high-growth enterprises.
At present, Mr. Scanu is the managing partner and CEO at Visa Business Plans, a Miami-based boutique consulting firm providing attorneys and investors with business planning services in the areas of U.S. and Canadian immigration, SBA loans, and others.