The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has several visa options for foreign nationals seeking work-based green cards. While most of these categories require applicants to find a qualifying US sponsor, the national interest waiver (NIW) offers superior flexibility. 

Is it hard to obtain an EB-2 NIW visa? Read on for a full overview. 

What is the EB-2 National Interest Waiver?  

The Employment-Based Immigration: Second Preference category applies to foreign nationals who are members of professions holding an advanced degree (or its foreign equivalent) or applicants with proven exceptional ability in a field of expertise. 

Depending on the applicant’s skills and professional background, the EB-2 classification provides a relatively smooth path to permanent residence in the United States. Eventually, permanent residents can apply for US citizenship. 

However, the standard EB-2 visa also has a few hassles involved in the application process. Applicants depend on a job offer from a qualified US employer. Additionally, the US employer must go through the labor certification process (PERM), which is often a lengthy and costly experience. 

An alternative to entering the United States under EB-2 without necessarily enduring this tiring process is to qualify for a national interest waiver (NIW). A subset of the EB-2 classification, the NIW allows eligible foreign nationals to waive both the job offer and PERM requirements. 

What Are the Eligibility Criteria for a National Interest Waiver? 

To be eligible for an NIW, foreign nationals seeking permanent residence in the US must: 

  • Qualify for the EB-2 classification (advanced degree or exceptional ability) 
  • Demonstrate that the proposed endeavor has “substantial merit” and “national importance” 
  • Demonstrate they are well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor, and 
  • Show that it is in the best interest of the United States to waive the job offer requirement and the labor certification process 

To demonstrate substantial merit, applicants must show that they will enter the United States to work in a field of expertise that is valuable to the country’s national interest. Fortunately, it can be applied to several fields, such as science, education, technology, entrepreneurship, etc. 

The term “national importance” refers to the impact of the proposed endeavor on the applicant’s field of expertise at the national (or global) level and its potential effects on the US economy.  

Is it Possible to Self-Petition for an EB2 NIW Visa? 

Standard EB-2 applications require a US employer to file a petition on behalf of the foreign applicant. Conversely, there is no such requirement for a national interest waiver, as applicants can self-petition for an EB-2 visa. 

Hence, this unique aspect of NIW petitions allows eligible foreign nationals not to rely on the willingness of a third party to apply with USCIS on their behalf. Additionally, there is no labor certification requirement, which automatically makes the process less expensive and time-consuming. 

Statistically, the average approval rate for EB-2 NIW petitions is significantly higher than the success rate of standard EB-2 petitions.  

As long as you work with an experienced immigration attorney to ensure full compliance with USCIS requirements, obtaining an EB-2 NIW visa is not an overwhelming process. 

Is it Hard to Get EB2 NIW Visa? – Immediately Consult with a Well-Versed Immigration Attorney 

With a long list of successful clients under EB-2 status, Attorney Romy B. Jurado willingly wants to help you succeed as well. Contact us today by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] for an individual consultation.