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In the realm of U.S. immigration, the Employment-Based Second Preference category with National Interest Waiver (EB-2 NIW) stands out as a pathway that offers unique opportunities for foreign nationals seeking permanent residency. This category is designed for individuals with exceptional abilities in their respective fields who can demonstrate that their work is of national interest to the United States. In this blog post, we will delve into the key aspects of the EB-2 NIW, exploring its eligibility criteria, application process, and the potential benefits it offers.

Understanding EB-2 NIW:

The EB-2 NIW is a subcategory within the EB-2 preference, which is reserved for professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities. What sets the EB-2 NIW apart is the waiver of the typical labor certification requirement and the ability for applicants to self-petition. This means that individuals can seek a green card without the need for a specific job offer or employer sponsorship, making it an attractive option for entrepreneurs, researchers, and professionals in various fields.

Eligibility Criteria:

To qualify for the EB-2 NIW, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  1. Advanced Degree or Exceptional Ability: Applicants must possess an advanced degree or demonstrate exceptional ability in their field. Exceptional ability is typically proven through a record of sustained achievements and recognition.

  2. National Interest: The crux of the EB-2 NIW is establishing that the applicant’s work is of substantial intrinsic merit and has a national impact. This can be achieved by showcasing contributions to the fields of science, arts, education, business, or athletics, among others.

  3. Benefit to the U.S.: Applicants must demonstrate that their work benefits the United States to a greater extent than the average professional in their field.

Application Process:

The application process for the EB-2 NIW involves several key steps:

  1. Form I-140 Petition: The first step is to file an immigrant petition using Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. Unlike other employment-based green card categories, the EB-2 NIW allows for self-petitioning, enabling individuals to file on their own behalf.

  2. Evidence of National Interest: Applicants must provide extensive documentation to establish the national interest aspect of their work. This may include letters of recommendation, publications, awards, and other evidence showcasing the impact of their contributions.

  3. Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing: Once the I-140 petition is approved, applicants can proceed with the adjustment of status within the U.S. or undergo consular processing if they are outside the country.

Benefits of EB-2 NIW:

  1. No Labor Certification: The waiver of the labor certification requirement streamlines the application process, making it more accessible for individuals with unique skills or entrepreneurial aspirations.

  2. Flexibility in Employment: EB-2 NIW applicants have the flexibility to change employers or pursue self-employment without jeopardizing their green card application.

  3. Faster Processing: The EB-2 NIW category often experiences faster processing times compared to other employment-based green card categories, reducing the overall waiting period.


The EB-2 National Interest Waiver is a pathway that empowers individuals with exceptional abilities to contribute to the United States while facilitating their journey to permanent residency. By understanding the eligibility criteria, application process, and potential benefits, applicants can navigate the complexities of the immigration system and unlock opportunities that align with their professional goals. As with any immigration process, seeking guidance from experienced immigration professionals can be instrumental in ensuring a smooth and successful application process.

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