Almost all researchers, be they scientific researcher, social science researchers, or foreign relations researchers, have presented their work at symposia, and other venues. In terms of the Extraordinary Ability and National Interest Waiver applications, of what help are these presentations? This greatly depends on the type of presentations and where you presented, as not all presentations are equal.
The first question is where did you present? Was this a student event, or for professionals? Was it put on by an organization in your field, or a University just for their faculty, students, etc.? The answers to these questions can make a huge difference in terms of the helpfulness of the presentation. USCIS is looking for professional presentations made at events put on by national or international organizations. They want to see that it was prestigious to be asked to present there. They want, in short, to see that the venue is such that it helps show the importance and impact of your work or that it helps show your renown.
The next question is what kind of presentation was it? Was it a poster presentation? Oral presentations? Invited talk? And most importantly of all, regardless of the type of presentation, what evidence can you get regarding the importance or impact of that work? For example, if you were selected for an oral presentation at a conference, USCIS will not assume that this means your work was judges as being more important than those not selected for oral presentation. USCIS needs evidence of this, and without it such presentations are not very helpful. For panel discussions, look at why you were invited to be on the panel, who else was on the panel, etc. Regardless of the kind of presentation, USCIS will need some evidence to show this importance.
As you can see, it is not sufficient to just give USCIS information of what you have done – you need to also explain to them the importance of what you have done and the impact your work has had. Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.