Role of PhD advisor in EB1

I am looking to understand the role of the recommendation letter from one's PhD advisor for an EB-1B application. How critical is it for the successful approval of the EB-1B application, if the profile is as follows:

1. PhD from a top US university
2. 25 peer-reviewed research publications (journals and conferences, book chapter)
3. Over 200 self-excluding citations
4. More than 75 papers reviewed for top journals and conferences in the field
5. Few best paper awards at international conferences
6. 6-7 letters from other leading researchers in the field (2 subjective, 4 objective; 3 from US, 2 from Korea, 1 from Italy)?

Please comment!


Registered Users (C)
I assume that by "subjective/objective" you mean dependent/independent referees.

Your Ph.D. advisor can contribute very little to the overall assessment of your case, as s/he is the most dependent. If your advisor is one of the world's leading expert in her/his field, there's no harm in adding a letter from her/him. But when USCIS determines your impact on the field and international acclaim, they look for scholars who have never worked with you or co-authored studies with you, and definitely not your advisor.

In my application (NIW), my Ph.D. advisor wasn't even mentioned.

Good luck!
Thanks for your advice Veggie3! That is what I meant by subjective/objective.

My advisor just became an associate professor and I wouldn't say he is the world's leading expert. For some reason my company attorney says that my PhD advisor's recommendation letter is critical for my EB-1B application. And I am trying to understand if that is really the case.


Registered Users (C)
I guess your attorney means the advisor's letter is important in confirming your exact field of research. But for evaluating your case, USCIS seeks independent evidence: publications, citations, awards, service as judge of other scholars' research, media coverage of your work and its impact, and letters from scholars with whom you haven't worked who can attest to your achievements/impact on your field, etc.


Registered Users (C)
You have a few ways to show your field of research (e.g. publications, conference papers, scholars who used and cited your research, etc.). Are you trying to refrain from having an advisor letter since you think it'll be negative? In such a case consult your attorney.

Also don't forget you need to prove at least 3 years of experience in teaching or research in your academic field.
Thanks Veggie3! It wouldn't be negative, but just that my advisor is a bit erratic. Sometimes he responds very nicely to my requests and at other times he just ignores my emails altogether. So, I don't know if he would provide me a letter.

As far as 3 years of experience is concerned, by the time I will apply I would have 2.5 years of research experience and I believe my PhD research experience would also count. Is there any time duration for which the recommendation letters are valid?


Registered Users (C)
Double-check with your attorney about the 3-year experience requirement, since USCIS requires 3 full years, and students are often employed part time.

The letters should be as recent as possible, but I'm not aware of any regulation that limits their validity to X months/years. All the recommendation letters sent on my behalf to USCIS were less than 4 months old.