EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW)

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What is EB-2 National Interest Waiver visa?

EB-2 national interest waiver (NIW) is an employment based, second preference visa. NIW applies to petitioners of exceptional ability and who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees. For EB-2s a job offer and a labor certification is generally required. This requirement can be waived if the petitioner demonstrates that granting the EB-2 petition would be in the national interest of the United States.

General Requirements for EB-2 Petitioners

To be qualify for an NIW petition, petitioners must have an advanced degree or exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.

1. Advanced Degree

Advanced Degree means possess and advance degree or the equivalent, which is a baccalaureate degree plus five years of progressive work experience in the field.

Acceptable documentation that may demonstrate that you have an advanced or baccalaureate degree or their foreign equivalent degree is:

  • Documentation, such as an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree.
  • Documentation, such as an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree and letters from current or former employers showing that you have at least five years of progressive post-baccalaureate work experience in your field.
2. Exceptional Ability

Exceptional Ability means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business. Petitioners must be able to show that they have exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, which will substantially benefit the U.S. economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare in the future. Petitioners could self-petition if they qualify under the exceptional ability criteria.

For the purpose of this employment category, USCIS will use a two-part adjudicative approach to evaluate the evidence.

First, petitioner must meet three out of the six listed criteria below:

  • Official academic record showing that they have degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to your area of exceptional ability
  • Letters from current or former employers documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in the occupation for which you are being sought
  • A license to practice their profession or certification for their profession or occupation
  • Evidence that they have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates their exceptional ability
  • Membership in professional associations
  • Recognition for achievements and significant contributions to industry or field by peers, government entities, professional or business organizations

Second, all of the evidence will be reviewed in its totality for a final merits determination of whether they qualify for NIW classification.