Also known as the Priority Workers’ Visa, the Employment-Based Immigration Second Preference classification allows foreign nationals with an advanced degree (or its foreign equivalent) or exceptional ability to live and work legally in the United States. 

In this article, you will find out what an NIW is and whether you can apply with USCIS. 

EB-2 National Interest Waiver – Explaining the Concept 

The EB-2 visa category applies to two types of applicants – members of professions holding an advanced degree (or its equivalent) or persons with exceptional ability. 

The standard used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to determine whether a degree meets the “advanced” requirement is a “baccalaureate or foreign equivalent degree plus five years of post-baccalaureate, progressive work experience in the field.” 

On the other hand, the term “exceptional ability” refers to “a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.” 

Standard EB-2 applications must be filed with USCIS by a US employer, which is responsible for applying on the behalf of a prospective foreign employee. Before filing  Form I-140 (Petition for Alien Worker), the sponsor must go through the labor certification process (PERM). 

The PERM process is regulated by the US Department of Labor (DOL) to verify the existence of qualified American workers to fulfill the vacant positions and whether the employment of foreign workers will not affect the wages of US workers negatively.  

The National Interest Waiver (NIW) is a subset of the EB-2 classification that allows users to waive the job offer and labor certification requirements. NIW eligibility has four specific requirements, which are: 

  • The applicant must qualify for an EB-2 visa  
  • The applicant’s proposed endeavor must have “substantial merit” and “national importance” 
  • The applicant must be well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor, and 
  • The proposed endeavor must be beneficial to the United States in a way that allows the waiver of both the job offer and labor certification requirements  

Essentially, the NIW allows foreign workers highly qualified in their respective fields of expertise to circumvent some inconvenient criteria to obtain an EB-2 visa.  

Can I Apply for NIW by Myself? – The Verdict  

One of the advantages of the EB-2 NIW is that applicants can self-petition for the waiver with USCIS, which automatically eliminates the hassle associated with the process to find a qualified US employer to sponsor the application. 

Accordingly, eligible NIW applicants can file Form I-140 (Petition for Alien Worker) on their own behalf. The new EB-2 NIW visa holder can apply on behalf of a spouse and qualified children for admission to the United States under E-21 and E-22 status, respectively.  

At the date when the principal applies on behalf of his or her dependents, they can file Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) as part of their application procedures. 

Once approved by USCIS, they will receive their green cards and enjoy the right to live, work, and study anywhere in the United States. 

Do You Want to Get an EB-2 National Interest Waiver? – Immediately Contact Attorney Romy B. Jurado 

Waste no time with uncertainty. Contact us today by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] to find the best immigration strategy for your case.