The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows employers filing Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) or Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) the option to pay for premium processing services.  

In this article, you will discover whether premium processing is available for National Interest Waiver (NIW) applications. 

EB-2 National Interest Waiver – Eligibility Criteria & Application Process  

The Employment-Based Second Preference (EB-2) category applies to foreign nationals who are members of professions holding an advanced degree (or its equivalent) or those with exceptional ability.  

Standard EB-2 applications require a job offer from a US employer. Before applying, the sponsor must complete the labor certification process (PERM) with the US Department of Labor (DOL). These conditions often result in a longer processing period, which is not positive for many applicants. 

USCIS gives eligible applicants the possibility to waive the job offer and labor certification requirements if they can prove their employment is in the best interest of the United States. This subset of the EB-2 classification is called the “National Interest Waiver.” 

To qualify for an NIW, applicants must meet the basic EB-2 requirements. USCIS allows applicants to self-petition for a visa, which means they do not rely on a third party’s willingness to apply on their behalf.  

When determining the eligibility of EB-2 applicants for an NIW, USCIS considers three elementary factors: 

  • Whether the applicant’s proposed endeavor has substantial merit and national importance  
  • Whether the applicant is well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor, and  
  • Whether the proposed endeavor would be beneficial to the US national interest in a way to waive the job offer and labor certification requirements  

Is There Premium Processing for National Interest Waiver? – Taking a Closer Look  

Recently, USCIS started to implement several changes to boost the application processing system and expand the number of petitions processed per year.  On March 24, 2022, the federal agency announced the implementation of premium processing for certain categories that were not encompassed by this service. 

One of these categories is the EB-2 NIW, which was not part of the petitions contemplated by premium processing services. Upon the payment of a premium processing fee, this optional service provides expedited processing with guaranteed adjudication within 45 calendar days from the date of receipt.   

Since July 1, 2022, USCIS has been accepting Form I-907 (Premium Processing Application) requests for Form I-140 filed by EB-2 NIW applicants received on or before June 1, 2021. Eligible petitioners can “upgrade” a previously filed petition by filing Form I-907. 

The premium processing fee for NIW applications is $2500. Please note that USCIS remains silent on whether the agency will expand premium processing services for new EB-2 NIW applications or whether this effort is only a temporary measure to reduce the backlog in the agency’s processing system. 

Do You Want to Apply for an EB-2 National Interest Waiver? – Immediately Seek Expert Legal Guidance 

Applying for a National Interest Waiver requires extensive documentation and a perfectly filled-out petition. Contact Immigration Attorney Romy B. Jurado today by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] to find the best immigration strategy for your case.