National Interest Waiver EB-2

National Interest Waiver EB-2: Your Guide to a Faster Green Card Process

Navigating the U.S. immigration system can be complex, especially when seeking a green card. The EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) offers a unique pathway for highly skilled professionals to obtain permanent residency without the need for employer sponsorship. This blog will guide you through the EB-2 NIW process, highlighting its benefits, eligibility requirements, and steps to ensure a successful application.

What is the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW)?

The EB-2 NIW is a provision within the U.S. immigration law that allows certain foreign nationals to bypass the traditional labor certification process and job offer requirement. This waiver is available to individuals whose work is deemed to be in the national interest of the United States.

Key Benefits of the EB-2 NIW

Self-Petitioning: Unlike other employment-based visas, the EB-2 NIW allows applicants to self-petition, eliminating the need for an employer sponsor.

No Labor Certification: The NIW waives the labor certification requirement, which can be a lengthy and complex process.

Faster Processing: By skipping the labor certification, the overall processing time for the EB-2 NIW can be significantly reduced.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for the EB-2 NIW, applicants must meet both the general EB-2 requirements and the specific NIW criteria.

General EB-2 Requirements

Advanced Degree: The applicant must hold an advanced degree (master’s or higher) or a bachelor’s degree with at least five years of progressive post-baccalaureate experience in their field.

Exceptional Ability: Alternatively, the applicant can qualify by demonstrating exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, which means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in their field.

NIW-Specific Criteria

The NIW requires applicants to meet a three-prong test established by the USCIS:

Substantial Merit and National Importance: The proposed endeavor must have substantial merit and national importance. This can be demonstrated through work in fields such as education, health, culture, technology, science, entrepreneurialism, and business.

Well-Positioned to Advance the Endeavor: The applicant must be well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor. This involves showing a track record of success and the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to carry out the proposed work.

Balancing Test: On balance, it must be beneficial to the United States to waive the job offer and labour certification requirements. This means the benefits of the applicant’s work must outweigh the need for a job offer and labour certification.

Steps to Apply for the National Interest Waiver EB-2

Step 1: Determine Eligibility

First, ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for the EB-2 visa category. You must either have an advanced degree (beyond a bachelor’s) or demonstrate exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Additionally, you must prove that your work has substantial merit and national importance, you are well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavour, and it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the job offer and labour certification requirements.

Step 2: Gather Required Documentation

  • Prepare the necessary documentation to support your petition. This includes:
  • Evidence of your advanced degree or exceptional ability.
  • Documentation demonstrating your work’s national importance.
  • Letters of recommendation from experts in your field.
  • A comprehensive petition letter explaining how you meet the NIW criteria.
  • Any other relevant supporting documents, such as awards, publications, or patents.

Step 3: Complete Form I-140

Fill out Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. This form is used to petition USCIS for an immigrant visa based on employment. For an NIW petition, you will be self-petitioning, meaning you do not need an employer to sponsor you.

Step 4: Write a Petition Letter

Draft a detailed petition letter that clearly articulates how you meet the three-prong test for the NIW. This letter should thoroughly explain the significance of your work, your accomplishments, and why it is in the national interest to waive the standard requirements.

Step 5: Submit the Petition Package

Compile your Form I-140, petition letter, and all supporting documentation into a petition package. Review the package carefully to ensure completeness and accuracy. Then, submit the package to the appropriate USCIS service centre based on your location.

Step 6: Pay the Filing Fee

Include the required filing fee with your petition. As of the latest information, the filing fee for Form I-140 is $700. Check the USCIS website for the most current fee information and acceptable payment methods.

Step 7: Await USCIS Decision

After submitting your petition, wait for USCIS to process your application. Processing times can vary, but you can expect to receive a receipt notice within a few weeks of submission. The entire process may take several months. During this time, USCIS may issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) if they need more information to make a decision.

Step 8: File Form I-485 (If Applicable)

If you are currently in the United States and an immigrant visa number becomes available, you may file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to obtain your Green Card. This step is only applicable if your I-140 petition is approved, and you are eligible to adjust your status within the United States.

Step 9: Attend Biometrics and Interview (If Required)

If you filed Form I-485, you might be required to attend a biometrics appointment and possibly an interview at a USCIS office. Prepare to discuss your NIW petition and demonstrate your eligibility for a Green Card.

Step 10: Receive Your Green Card

If your Form I-485 is approved, you will receive your Green Card, officially becoming a lawful permanent resident of the United States under the EB-2 NIW category.

Throughout this process, it’s highly recommended to consult with or hire an immigration attorney experienced in EB-2 NIW petitions. They can provide valuable guidance, help prepare your petition package, and increase your chances of approval.


The EB-2 National Interest Waiver offers a streamlined and flexible pathway to a U.S. green card for highly skilled professionals. By understanding the eligibility requirements and following the application steps carefully, you can enhance your chances of a successful petition. For personalized advice and assistance, consider consulting with an experienced immigration attorney. Keywords: EB-2 NIW, National Interest Waiver, EB-2 visa, self-petitioning, labor certification, USCIS, green card process.