EB-2 – National Interest Waiver (NIW) Visas: A Comprehensive Guide
The immigration process can be a daunting task, particularly when one is seeking a brighter future for themselves or their loved ones in the United States. For some professionals, the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) visa presents a promising option. To assist those considering this route, we have compiled essential information on the EB-2 NIW visa, covering its criteria, advantages, and application process.Who is Eligible for the EB-2 NIW Visa?
The EB-2 Visa serves as an employment-based pathway to a Green Card for individuals who possess an Advanced Degree OR Exceptional Ability:
- Advanced Degree: The job you apply for must require an advanced degree and you must possess such a degree or its foreign equivalent (a baccalaureate or foreign equivalent degree plus 5 years of post-baccalaureate, progressive work experience in the field). You must meet any other requirements specified on the labor certification as applicable.
- Exceptional Ability: You must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability "means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business" with at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation. You must meet any requirements specified on the labor certification as applicable.
However, if their employment would benefit the National Interest of the United States , applicants may apply for a National Interest Waiver (NIW) as a component of their EB-2 Petition.
- This option allows them to bypass the requirements of a job offer and labor certification.
- If granted an EB-2 NIW visa, the applicant is then recognized as a lawful permanent resident of the United States, thereby attaining a Green Card!
In order to be granted the National Interest Waiver for the EB-2 Petition, the petitioner must provide evidence that their future work or business endeavors in the United States will serve the best interests of the nation:
- The proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance.
- You are well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor.
- On balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer, and thus the labor certification.
Industries of substantial merit and national importance encompass various fields including, but not limited to:
- Education / Teaching / Consulting
- Healthcare: Pharmaceutical / Medical / Pharmaceutical / Veterinarian / Physical Therapy / Dental
- Aerospace: Aviation / Space
- STEM Industry: ie. Science, Technology, Engineering
- Computers and Information Technology (IT)
- Supply Chain and Logistics of Consumer Goods & Services / Agricultural & Energy Commodities
- Real Estate Development
- Business Development and Consulting (Small, National, Multinational Businesses and Organisations)
- Cultural and Social
- Economic / Business / Financial
The proposed endeavor of the petitioner should offer significant benefits to the United States in various aspects, such as the economy, job market, national defense, scientific and technological advancements, and national or international trade.What are the Benefits of the EB2 NIW Visa?
Securing an EB2 NIW visa offers multiple advantages:
- No Employer Sponsorship Required: The EB-2 NIW visa stands out from other employment-based visas in that applicants are not required to have sponsorship from an employer, providing them with a higher degree of flexibility.
- Bypassing Labor Certification: The applicant can avoid the cumbersome and intricate process of proving the non-existence of American workers who possess the same job skills by simply forgoing the labor certification requirement.
- Potentially Faster Green Card Processing: Due to its priority, the EB-2 category often experiences faster processing times than some other visa categories.
- Premium Processing is available to expedite the review process of the Petition.
- Immigration Benefits for your Family: Once your I-140 petition receives approval, your spouse and any unmarried children who are below 21 years of age will have the opportunity to adjust their status to permanent residency if they are already present in the United States, or apply for entry into the United States in E-21 and E-22 immigrant statuses, respectively, if they are outside of the United States.
Navigating the EB2 NIW application process requires diligence and an understanding of the specific steps involved:
- File Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker: The primary application form for an EB-2 NIW visa is the I-140. This form demonstrates your eligibility and qualifications.
- Submission of Evidence: This is a pivotal stage. Applicants must provide substantial evidence supporting their claim. This might include letters of recommendation, a professional plan, published research, awards, higher education diplomas, membership evidence of a professional association, or any other relevant documentation.
- Adjudication by USCIS: After submission, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reviews the application. The decision hinges on whether it is genuinely in the national interest of the U.S. to grant the waiver.
- Apply for Adjustment of Status or Visa Processing: Once an individual receives approval of their I-140, they must proceed to verify the availability of a Green Card by consulting the U.S. Department of State's Visa Bulletin:
- The Visa Bulletin: If the petitioner's category is current, and the petitioner is in the United States the process of adjustment of status can be initiated by filing Form I-485. Alternatively, if the applicant is outside of the United States, visa processing will be conducted through a U.S. Consulate abroad.
For numerous professionals, the EB-2 NIW visa pathway is a beneficial option. However, due to the complex application process, it is crucial to obtain expert advice. An immigration attorney with extensive experience can offer invaluable guidance, ensuring that the application is comprehensive, thorough, and effectively presents the strongest case for approval.
The EB2 NIW visa is a distinctive avenue for exceptional individuals to make their mark in the United States while also fulfilling their American aspirations. Through diligent preparation and a comprehensive comprehension of the prerequisites, this visa can lead many towards a promising future in the United States.