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Igniting Aspirations: A Comprehensive Guide to the National Interest Waiver (NIW) and EB-2 Visa Process

The Full Story

What is the EB2 Visa?

An EB-2 visa is an employment-based visa available to non-U.S. citizens who possess an advanced degree or exceptional ability. Through the EB2 visa, you can obtain a U.S. green card and considered a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

The EB-2 Visa is divided into different subcategories categories, primarily including the NIW and the Advanced Degree Professional.


What are the Benefits of the EB2 Visa?

  • Permanent Residency.

  • Ability to work.

  • Eligibility for spouse and dependent children under 21 to come to the United States.


How to Apply?

Once the eligibility criteria have been met, the employer can initiate the EB-2 visa application process, which consists of four fundamental steps:

  • Securing a PERM Certification

  • Filing Form, I-140

  • Attending Follow-Up Appointments, if any; and

  • Submitting the Green Card Application.


To successfully obtain an EB-2 visa, the applicant must be sponsored by an employer, who will need to apply for and obtain a PERM certification, unless a National Interest Waiver (NIW) has been granted.


What are National Interest Waivers?

The National Interest Waiver is a unique provision within the EB-2 Visa category that enables foreign nationals to bypass the traditional labor certification process. Consequently, individuals with exceptional abilities in the sciences, arts, or business, as well as advanced degreed professionals such as M.A., M.S., M.E., M.D., or Ph.D., who can demonstrate that their work is of 'national interest' to the United States qualify by showcasing their exceptional abilities and the national significance of their work. Required documents may vary on a case-by-case basis depending on the proposed field of endeavor. This basically involves presenting evidence of achievements, recognition, and a substantial impact on their field.  


Benefits of National Interest Waiver?

  • You do not require a Labor Certification

  • You can file your green card petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on your behalf (self-petition)


For the purposes of the EB-2 visa, the non-U.S. citizen applicant may fall under 1 of 3 categories:

  1. Advanced Degree: To demonstrate possession of an advanced degree or equivalent qualifications (such as a bachelor's degree with five years of relevant experience), applicants are required to furnish:

  1. validating the attainment of an advanced degree.

  2. Alternatively, an official academic record indicating the acquisition of a bachelor's degree, accompanied by letters from employers verifying five years of pertinent post-bachelor's work experience.

  1. Exceptional Ability: To affirm an ability surpassing that which is commonly encountered in the arts, business, or sciences, applicants must provide a minimum of three of the following:

  1. Official documentation confirming the acquisition of a degree or certificate in the relevant field.

  2.  Membership in a pertinent professional association or club.

  3.  Official recognition, either from affiliated organizations or colleagues, acknowledging the applicant's contributions to the field.

  4.  Verifiable proof of payment for services related to their expertise.

  5. Possession of a license or certification pertinent to the applicant's profession.

  6. Letters attesting to the applicant's full-time engagement in their given profession for a minimum of ten years.

  1. National Interest Waiver: When seeking a National Interest Waiver, applicants must present compelling evidence which must show that:

  1. Their proposed endeavor is of great merit and national importance to the United States.

  2. They are well-equipped and well positioned to carry out the proposed endeavor.

  3. It is in the national interest to waive the labor certification requirement.



Embarking on the NIW and EB-2 Visa journey demands a keen eye for detail and a comprehensive grasp of immigration laws. Navigating the intricacies of these processes is crucial for prospective applicants seeking to realize their American dream. At FIBI Law Center, we recognize the complexities involved and are committed to providing expert guidance through every step of the way.

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