Complete Guide to EB2 National Interest Waiver


This your complete guide to EB-2 national interest waiver (“EB-2 NIW”).  People throughout the world dream of moving the U.S. for its opportunities.   However, getting a green card through an EB-2 NIW is a long, tedious process.  Moreover, not everyone qualifies.  Out of the many immigration pathways made available by the U.S. government, the EB-2 National Interest Waiver visa has gained widespread popularity.

The EB2-NIW is an employment-based visa that does not require sponsorship.   The NIW stands for “national interest waiver”. This means that the U.S. government will waive the requirement of a job offer. The Department of Labor will provide authorization to employ a foreign national if the foreign national’s proposed endeavor will benefit the U.S. Thus, a qualified individual can “self-petition” and get a green card based on their own professional experience and skills.

The EB2-NIW visa requires a lot of documentation and includes many steps that people do not often know of or understand.  Here, we have listed all the frequently asked questions that people often struggle with.  In doing so, we aim to make the application process a bit easier for our clients.  Below is a complete, basic guide to the EB2-National Interest Waiver visa.

What is the EB-2 with National Interest Waiver?

An EB2-NIW is a visa that grants an applicant permanent residency without the requirement of an employment offer.  The job offer requirement is waived if the candidate can prove that his permanent residence in the U.S. would be of “national interest” and would benefit the country.

Is There Any Difference Between a Regular EB2 and an EB2 with National Interest Waiver?

Yes, they are both very different in terms of their requirements, processing times, and the documentation required for each. Generally, an EB2 visa or other employment-based visas require a formal employment offer for an applicant to be eligible to apply.  It also requires a Labor Certification from the Department of Labor.  An EB2 with NIW, on the other hand, does not require any employment offer or a labor certification by the Department of Labor. This is as long as the petitioner (applicant) can prove that their admittance to the United States would be of national benefit.

Who Can Apply for an EB2-NIW?

Any foreign national can apply for an EB2-NIW visa. An immigration attorney is able to complete a strong application package that checks off all of the requirements and make the appropriate legal arguments.   An applicant does not need an employer.

What Does an EB2-NIW Waive Off?

The EB2-National Interest Waiver dismisses the need for a labor certification from the Department of Labor, which is costly and takes time to obtain. This visa also waives off the requirement of an employment offer.  However, all other “entry” requirements must be met in order to become eligible for the visa.

What Are the Educational Requirements for an EB2-NIW?

This EB2-NIW visa is available to foreign nationals who have attained an advanced degree or its foreign equivalent in a professional field.   These individuals can also meet this educational requirement with a Baccalaureate degree and at least 5 years of progressive experience in their field.  Individuals showing exceptional capabilities in fields such as science, technology, mathematics, engineering, arts, business, etc., also qualify for this visa.   An immigration lawyer can best assess a candidate’s professional background in order to determine under which category the candidate best qualifies.

What Constitutes an Advanced Degree?

An advanced degree under the EB2-NIW framework is a degree or qualification higher than a bachelor’s degree. This can be earned in the US by a recognized US college or university or a foreign equivalent of an American advanced degree.

What If the Applicant Only Has a Bachelor’s Degree without a Master’s or Any Other Advanced Degree?

A Master’s or another advanced degree is usually required. If a foreign applicant only has a bachelor’s degree from the US or its foreign equivalent, then at least 5 years of post-baccalaureate work experience in the specialized field will be required. If the foreign national applying for this visa also lacks the required work experience, he will need to show exceptional abilities in his field in order to succeed in his application.

Who Qualifies for an EB2-National Interest Waiver?

The following individuals are eligible to apply for an EB2-NIW:

  1. A foreign national who meets the educational requirements,
  2. A foreign national who meets the three-prong test in Matter of Dhanasar decision listed below:
  3. The proposed endeavor is of considerable value and national significance
  4. The applicant is capable of advancing the proposed endeavor
  5. Substantial benefits for “national interest” of the United States
  6. Some physicians qualify with full-time employment in an underserved area or if a federal agency or a state department of public health decides that the physician’s work is in the public’s interest.

What Form Does an EB2 National Interest Waiver Petitioner Need to File?

An EB2-NIW petition requires the filing of Form I-140, which is best done by a professional and experienced immigration lawyer.

What Are the Chief Benefits of Petitioning for an EB2-NIW?

The EB2-NIW has numerous benefits, some of which include:

  • You don’t need a job offer
  • No labor certificate is necessary
  • You can petition yourself
  • Majority of the visas are current, apart from the visas for people of Chinese and Indian nationalities

How Many Citations/Publications Qualifies for an EB-2 NIW?

The government of the United States does not state a specific number for the required citations/publications. They are, in fact, decided by the USCIS on a case to case basis. In order to know more about the number of required citations and publications for your application, it is best to seek professional assistance from an immigration lawyer.

Can I Apply for Another Visa While Applying for an EB-2 NIW Visa?

This petition does not restrict a person from pursuing other visa options.  You can still apply for other visas while petitioning for an EB-2-NIW.  However, you will need to submit a separate I-140 form with the additional fee and documents.  If you are planning to submit more than one I-140 form, an experienced immigration attorney should do it for you. That increases the chances of approval.

What is the EB-2 National Interest Waiver Form?

You will need to submit a Form I-140 with all the required supporting documents and mail it to the suitable service center.

How Do I Know If I Am Eligible for an EB2-NIW?

You should speak to an experienced immigration attorney who can review your credentials and complete your case. A lawyer can give you a strategy and make persuasive legal arguments on your behalf.

You may be eligible for a green card through the EB2-NIW visa petition.  You can contact our offices today to speak to a qualified immigration lawyer.  We speak English, Spanish and Portuguese.

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