EB-2 National Interest Waiver Lawyers in Seattle

EB-2 visas are designated for people with advanced degrees (Master, Ph.D., etc.) or those with exceptional ability in their fields. For an EB-2 green card, you generally need a job offer from an American employer. Your employer must establish that there are no qualified U.S. workers for the offered role and obtain a PERM labor certification. 

NIW stands for “National Interest Waiver” – the government will waive the job offer and PERM labor certification requirement if your “proposed endeavor” benefits the U.S. national economy. That means you can self-petition (file the petition independently) and obtain work-based U.S. lawful permanent residence without a sponsor and labor certification. 

Typically, the work of individuals seeking a National Interest Waiver has significant importance or impact on scientific research, healthcare, entrepreneurship, and other fields of the U.S. economy.


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To qualify for EB2 National Interest Waiver, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Possess an advanced degree or exceptional ability: You must have at least a master’s degree or equivalent in your field of expertise (or bachelor’s degree and 5  years of “progressive” work experience) or demonstrate exceptional ability in your profession.
  • Show that their work is in the national interest: You must demonstrate that your work has substantial intrinsic merit and national importance. 
  • Serve the national interest to a greater extent than the labor certification process: You must show that it is in the national interest to waive the job offer and labor certification requirement and that the United States would benefit from your contributions.

Immigration laws and regulations are subject to change, so it’s essential to consult with an experienced immigration attorney for the most up-to-date information and requirements related to the EB2 National Interest Waiver.

    Benefits of EB2 NIW

    • Self-Petitioning. You do not need a job offer from an American employer but a detailed business plan describing your future work in the U.S.
    • No Labor Certification. You do not need to go through the costly and time-consuming process of proving that no qualified U.S. workers are available.
    • Faster Processing. The EB2 NIW may generally have speedier processing times than other employment-based green card categories. With premium processing, you will receive a response in 45 calendar days.
    • Priority Date. You can track your place in the visa queue. 
    • Job Flexibility. You are not tied to a specific employer or position – you can change jobs or work for yourself. Important! You have to be working in your area of expertise.
    • No Nationality Quotas. The EB2 NIW is available to foreign nationals from all countries, and there are no nationality-based quotas for this category. 
    • Path to Citizenship: The EB2 NIW allows you to obtain permanent residency in the United States and eventually apply for U.S. citizenship.
    • Family Benefits: Once the applicant obtains a green card through the EB2 NIW, their spouse and unmarried children under 21 may also get green cards.

      How to apply for EB2 NIW?

      Here is a general outline of the EB2 National Interest Waiver application process:

        • Determine eligibility: Ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for the EB2 NIW category. You must have an advanced university degree in your field or equivalent education and work experience or exceptional abilities and demonstrate that your work is of national interest to the United States. Click here to take our quiz.
        • Prepare documents: Gather all the necessary documents to support your EB2 NIW petition. These typically include:
          • Detailed resume or curriculum vitae (CV).
          • Copies of diplomas, degrees, and academic transcripts.
          • Letters of recommendation from experts in your field who can attest to your exceptional abilities or achievements.
          • Evidence of your expertise and/or contributions and impact in your field.
          • Documentation explaining how your work is in the national interest and benefits the United States.
          • A business plan for your startup venture or a detailed explanation of where and in what capacity you will work in the U.S.
        • File the petition: Complete Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, and mail it with the supporting documents to the appropriate USCIS address. Consider using the optional premium processing service for Form I-140 for faster processing. 
        • Wait for USCIS Decision: After submitting your petition, you will need to wait for USCIS to review it and make a decision. USCIS may request additional evidence – your attorney will help you prepare the response and timely file it.
        • Wait for Visa Number: Once your Form I-140 is approved, you may need to wait for an immigrant visa number to become available if there is a visa backlog for your country or category.
        • Complete the Green Card Process: If your priority date (the date USCIS receives your Form I-140) is current and a visa number is available, you can proceed with the final steps of the green card process, including either adjustment of status (for those inside the U.S.) or consular processing for an immigrant visa (interview at a U.S. consulate).

        The EB2 NIW process can be complex, and the success of your application depends on the strength of your evidence and documentation. Engaging the services of an experienced immigration attorney can significantly increase your chances of a successful outcome.

       How long does it take to get an EB2 NIW

      It takes us about 6 weeks to prepare a robust EB-2 NIW petition supported by solid evidence. In previous years, the average processing time for the EB2 NIW petition ranged from 4 to 24 months. However, USCIS recently announced new time goals where they claimed to review Form I-140 in 6 months. There is also an option of 45 days expedited processing for an extra $2,500 fee.

      Here are the stages that may influence the overall processing time:

      • Form I-140 Processing can take many months. An average processing time is not guaranteed unless you request premium processing.
      • The priority date for employment-based green cards, including EB2 NIW, is crucial, as it determines your place in the immigrant visa queue. The Visa Bulletin, updated monthly by the U.S. Department of State, provides information on the cutoff dates for each immigration category and country. You can proceed with the final green card process steps only when your priority date becomes current.
      • Visa Backlog means there are more approved petitions than available visa numbers (depending on your country of birth and visa category). 
      • Adjustment of Status vs. Consular Processing can also influence your timeline.

      So, the whole process can take a year or more unless you pay for premium processing (it shortens the USCIS processing time to 45 days). If you are considering applying for an EB2 NIW, consulting with an experienced immigration attorney can help you understand the potential factors that may affect your case.

      The process can take several months or even years to complete, depending on various factors, such as the USCIS workload and the embassy or consulate’s processing times. Please call our office at +1 206-558-6288 for a consultation to ensure all your applications are filled out correctly and supported by the correct evidence. 
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      Frequently Asked Questions

      What is the difference between EB2 and EB2 NIW?

      EB2 (Employment-Based Second Preference) and NIW (National Interest Waiver) are related but distinct categories within the U.S. employment-based immigration system. Both fall under the EB2 category, but they have different eligibility criteria and application processes:

      EB2 PERM Category:

      The EB2 category is part of the employment-based immigration system in the United States. It is reserved for foreign nationals who have advanced degrees (such as a master’s degree or higher) or possess exceptional abilities in their field. The EB2 category is divided into two subcategories:

      • EB2 Advanced Degree Professionals: This subcategory is for foreign nationals with advanced degrees (or their equivalent) and a job offer that requires an advanced degree. The employer typically needs to undergo the labor certification process to demonstrate that no qualified U.S. workers are available for the position.
      • EB2 Exceptional Ability: This subcategory is for foreign nationals with exceptional sciences, arts, or business abilities. Similarly, the employer needs to complete the labor certification process unless a National Interest Waiver is granted.

      National Interest Waiver (NIW):

      The National Interest Waiver (NIW) is a special provision that applies to the EB2 category. It allows foreign nationals to apply for a green card (permanent residency) without a job offer or labor certification if they can demonstrate that their work is in the national interest of the United States.

      Can I apply for EB2 NIW myself?

      Yes, you can apply for the EB2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) on your own without needing a sponsoring employer. The NIW allows eligible foreign nationals to self-petition for a green card (permanent residency) based on their education, expertise and contributions.

      Applying for the EB2 NIW involves preparing a comprehensive petition package with evidence supporting your qualifications and impact of your work on the U.S. national economy. It may include your CV, academic degrees and transcripts, letters of recommendation from experts in your field, documentation of your achievements and impact, and a detailed explanation of how your work benefits the U.S. national interest.

      While it is possible to apply for the EB2 NIW on your own, the process can be complex, and it is essential to provide solid and compelling evidence to support your case. Engaging the services of an experienced immigration attorney who specializes in NIW cases can be highly beneficial. An attorney can help ensure that your petition is properly prepared, all required documentation is included, and your case is presented in the most favorable light to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.

      Are there preferred fields for EB-2 NIW?

      While no officially designated “preferred fields” exist for the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW), certain fields tend to have a higher likelihood of success due to their potential to demonstrate substantial intrinsic merit and national importance. The key factor for a successful EB-2 NIW petition is to showcase how your work and expertise benefit the national interest of the United States.

      Fields that often have a higher chance of success for EB-2 NIW petitions include:

      • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM): Professionals in STEM fields, such as computer science, engineering, biotechnology, and medical research, often have opportunities to demonstrate their contributions to national interests, innovation, and economic growth.
      • Healthcare and Medical Research: Physicians, medical researchers, and public health professionals who work on critical health issues and research may qualify for the EB-2 NIW.
      • Environmental Science and Renewable Energy: Professionals working in environmental science, sustainability, and renewable energy may demonstrate contributions to addressing environmental challenges and promoting sustainable practices in the U.S.
      • Education and Academia: Individuals with exceptional abilities in academia, teaching, or research may qualify, especially if their work impacts U.S. educational institutions or research initiatives.
      • Business and Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurs, business leaders, and innovators with a proven track record of job creation and significant contributions to the U.S. economy may have a strong case for the EB-2 NIW.
      • National Security and Defense: Professionals working in fields related to national security, defense, or critical infrastructure may have opportunities to demonstrate the national importance of their work.

      If you are a researcher, professor, scientist, artist, designer, pilot, engineer, economist, business analyst, entrepreneur, doctor, veterinarian, nurse, physician, dentist, pharmacist, therapist, urban planner, logistics specialist, consultant, manager, architect, software developer, etc. – EB-2 NIW might be your option. Success in the EB-2 NIW petition depends on the strength of the applicant’s evidence, achievements, and the ability to demonstrate the national interest aspects of their work, regardless of the specific field.

      If you are considering applying for the EB-2 NIW, consulting with an experienced immigration attorney familiar with NIW cases can be beneficial. The attorney can provide personalized guidance based on your qualifications and expertise, helping you build a compelling case that aligns with the national interest requirements.

      What professional fields are not recommended for an EB2 NIW?

      While there isn’t a specific list of professional fields that are not recommended for an EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW), certain areas may face more challenges in establishing the necessary criteria for a successful NIW petition: fields with limited impact, routine occupations, fields that have an oversupply of qualified professionals or do not have a clear connection to areas of national importance.

      Every case is unique. If you’re uncertain whether your profession is suitable for an EB-2 NIW petition, consulting with an experienced immigration attorney who specializes in NIW cases can provide valuable insights. An attorney can assess your qualifications, review the specifics of your profession, and advise you on the best strategies to present a strong NIW case that aligns with the national interest requirements.

      How do I find out if my profession is in an area of national importance?
      • Review national priorities – check White House initiatives, government websites, policy documents, and official reports to identify areas the U.S. government has deemed national importance. Pay attention to the news (choose trusted sources like NPR). 
      • Focus on shortages and crises within the industries as soon as they can bring many opportunities for the EB-2 NIW. 
      • Look for national initiatives, grants, and funding opportunities for your profession or field. If the U.S. government or relevant agencies actively invest in research, development, or improvements in your area of expertise, it could indicate its significance to the nation.
      • Consider how your profession or work contributes to the U.S. economy. Job creation, innovation, exports, and other economic benefits from your expertise can strengthen the argument for national importance.
      • It may align with national interests if your profession addresses critical public health or safety concerns. Examples include healthcare professionals, medical researchers, and experts in disaster preparedness. Maybe you are a business development specialist going to a place where the percentage of small businesses that fail is very high.
      • Each EB-2 NIW case is unique, and you should tailor all evidence to your profession and contributions. Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney can be highly beneficial in assessing your case, identifying areas of national importance, and preparing a compelling EB-2 NIW petition. The attorney can guide you on the best strategies to effectively demonstrate that your work is in the U.S. national interest.
      Does EB2 NIW require an interview?

      EB2 National Interest Waiver petition does not typically require an interview as part of the standard processing procedure. 

      The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reviews the EB2 NIW petition and supporting documents submitted by the applicant. USCIS officers make their decision based on the evidence and documentation provided in the petition package. If the USCIS requires additional information or finds any issues with the application, they may issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) or a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID), allowing the applicant to address the concerns without an interview.

      Still, USCIS has the discretion to request an interview to clarify certain application aspects or verify the information. If an interview is requested, an immigration attorney can help you prepare for the interview and ensure that you present your case effectively.

      Does EB2 NIW have premium processing?

      Before 2023, the whole NIW process (including petition preparation) could take a year or two. But in December 2023, USCIS announced premium processing for National Interest Waiver immigrant visa petitions. Filing Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, and paying the fee of $2,500 will guarantee a response within 45 calendar days.

      Still, paying for premium processing doesn’t guarantee you a positive answer. Please consider hiring an attorney to prepare a compelling case – 99% of our petitions are approved by USCIS.

      What priority date for the NIW green card is current now?

      The priority date for a National Interest Waiver (NIW) green card is when the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, filed by the foreign national. The priority date is crucial for employment-based green card applicants because it determines their place in the immigrant visa queue. The dates are published in the monthly Visa Bulletin by the U.S. Department of State. 

      For NIW green card applicants in the EB2 category, the priority date becomes important when the applicant reaches the final stages of the green card process. If the priority date is earlier or matches the cutoff date listed in the Visa Bulletin for your country and category, an immigrant visa number is available, and you proceed with the final steps of the green card process, such as adjustment of status (if in the U.S.) or consular processing (if outside the U.S.).

      If you have an approved EB2 NIW petition and are waiting for your priority date to become current, we recommend regularly checking the Visa Bulletin and consulting with an experienced immigration attorney for guidance on the latest visa availability and green card processing updates.

      What happens after EB2 NIW approval?

      After the approval of the EB2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) petition, the following steps depend on whether the applicant is currently in the United States or outside the U.S. 

      Adjustment of Status (If in the U.S.):

      • If the applicant is already in the United States and their priority date is current (based on the Visa Bulletin), they may be eligible to apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder). The process involves filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, supporting documents, and applicable fees. USCIS will review the application and may schedule an interview to verify the information provided. Once the adjustment of status is completed, the applicant will receive their physical green card in the mail at their U.S. address. 

      Consular Processing (If Outside the U.S.):

      • If the applicant is outside the United States or prefers consular processing, the National Visa Center (NVC) will process the case, and you must go through the U.S. embassy or consulate in the home country (or the country of legal residence). 
      • You will submit various documents, including the DS-260 immigrant visa application, passport, medical examination results, and other supporting paperwork. Once all requirements are met, and a visa number is available (based on the Visa Bulletin), you will attend an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate. If the interview is successful, you will receive an immigrant visa to enter the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident. Your green card will be issued and shipped to your American home address within approximately 2 months of your arrival.
      • After obtaining the green card, the applicant becomes a lawful permanent resident of the United States. After getting a green card, it’s essential to be aware of the responsibilities of permanent residency such as maintaining physical residence in the U.S. and renewing the green card when necessary.
      What kind of supporting evidence can I file to show that I will significantly contribute to the National interest as an entrepreneur?

      Here are types of supporting evidence that can help establish your EB-2 National Interest Waiver case:

      • Business plan. A well-developed 5-year business plan outlining your venture’s objectives, strategies, market analysis, revenue projections, and job creation potential should demonstrate your business’s feasibility, innovation, and growth potential. Our law firm can introduce you to experts who will help create a detailed business plan.
      • Market research. Present thorough market research that supports the demand for your product or service and highlights how your business addresses a gap or solves a problem in the market. Our law firm can introduce you to experts who will help with market research.
      • Job creation. Provide evidence of the number and quality of jobs your business will create – add detailed job descriptions (can be prepared as a part of the business plan).
      • Investment documentation. Document your financial commitment if you are investing significant capital into your business. Include bank statements, financial records, and proof of investments.
      • Industry expertise. Showcase your expertise in the field by detailing your experience, relevant accomplishments, and how they position you to succeed as an entrepreneur.
      • Letters of support. Obtain letters of support from industry experts, mentors, potential clients, partners, and other stakeholders who recognize the significance of your business venture and your qualifications.
      • Market traction. If applicable, provide evidence of interest from customers, pre-orders, partnerships, or pilot projects demonstrating the market’s positive response to your business concept.
      • Innovation and Uniqueness. If your business involves innovative technology, processes, or approaches, highlight how your invention addresses a need or advances a specific industry.
      • Intellectual Property. If you hold patents, copyrights, trademarks, or other forms of intellectual property related to your business, provide documentation to demonstrate the uniqueness and value of your venture.
      • Awards and Recognitions. If you’ve received awards, grants, or recognition for your entrepreneurial endeavors, include these as evidence of your impact and accomplishments. 
      • Scholarly articles. If you authored and published scholarly articles in your field, include these as evidence of your expertise.

      Industry Trends. Discuss how your business aligns with current and future trend in your industry and how it contributes to the growth and competitiveness of that sector in the U.S.

      Growth Strategy. Explain your plan for scaling and expanding the business, including potential expansion into new markets, collaborations, or partnerships, hiring employees. This information can be added to the business plan.

      The key is to present a comprehensive and persuasive case that showcases how your entrepreneurial abilities and business venture align with the United States’ national interest. Working with an experienced immigration attorney can help you gather the appropriate evidence and present a strong EB-2 NIW petition that effectively highlights your future contributions as an entrepreneur.

      What do I have to include in my business plan for the EB2 NIW petition?

      Creating a robust and comprehensive business plan is crucial for your EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) petition, especially if you are an entrepreneur seeking to demonstrate that your business venture will significantly contribute to the national interest of the United States. Here are the key components you should include in your business plan:

      • Executive summary: a concise overview of your business concept, its goals, and how it aligns with the national interest. Highlight the unique value proposition of your business and its potential impact.
      • Business description: detailed, including the products or services you offer, the industry you’re in, and the specific market segment you target. Explain how your business addresses a gap in the market or solves a pressing problem.
      • Market analysis: demonstrate demand for your product or service. Analyze your target market, competition, and industry trends. Highlight the size of the market opportunity and your potential market share.
      • Marketing and sales strategy: plans for marketing, branding, and reaching your target audience. Describe your sales channels, distribution methods, and pricing strategy.
      • Financial projections, including revenue forecasts, expense breakdowns, and profit margins. Present a timeline for achieving profitability and growth milestones. Include information on your initial investment and how you plan to fund your business.
      • Job creation and hiring plans: Provide job descriptions and projections for the number and types of jobs you create. Detail how these jobs contribute to the U.S. economy and workforce.
      • Innovation and uniqueness: all aspects, including technology, processes, or approaches. Explain how your innovation addresses a specific need or advances the industry.
      • Management and team: what are the qualifications of the key members of your team? Highlight your own expertise and experience that uniquely positions you to lead the business.
      • Risk analysis and mitigation. Describe strategies you will implement to mitigate the risks and ensure the business’s success.
      • Growth and expansion strategy. Mention potential partnerships, collaborations, or new markets you intend to enter.
      • Supporting documents: market research reports, customer testimonials, letters of intent, patents, or prototypes.
      • Remember that your business plan should be well-organized, professional, and tailored to demonstrate how your business venture aligns with the national interest of the United States. Working with an experienced immigration attorney and professional business plan writers can help you ensure that your business plan meets the specific requirements of the EB-2 NIW petition and effectively showcases your entrepreneurial abilities and contributions.
      Should I update my business plan after receiving an RFE?

      Yes, updating your business plan after receiving a Request for Evidence (RFE) in response to your EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) petition can be a strategic approach to addressing the concerns the USCIS raises. An RFE is issued when USCIS requires additional information or clarification to make an informed decision on your case. Updating your business plan in response to the RFE allows you to provide more comprehensive and persuasive evidence to strengthen your EB-2 NIW petition.

      Here’s how you can approach updating your business plan after receiving an RFE:

      • Review the RFE notice carefully to understand the specific issues or evidence that USCIS requests. This will guide you in updating your business plan to address the points raised.
      • Identify the deficiencies or gaps in your initial business plan that led to the RFE (e.g., insufficient evidence, lack of clarity, or areas that need further explanation).
      • Address USCIS concerns raised in the RFE. Clearly and comprehensively explain how your business aligns with the national interest and demonstrate your entrepreneurial qualifications.
      • Provide additional evidence that supports your case: further market research, financial projections, client testimonials, or partnerships that showcase the viability and impact of your business.
      • Clarify ambiguities or unclear points of your original business plan.
      • Highlight job creation: provide detailed information about the number, type, and quality of jobs your business will create.
      • Strengthen market analysis: provide more in-depth research and data that support the demand for your product or service.
      • Presentation: in a clear, organized, and professional manner. Use concise language and provide evidence that directly addresses the USCIS concerns.
      • Response timely! Pay attention to the deadline specified in the RFE notice and submit your updated business plan within the required timeframe.

      Seek professional assistance! Consider working with an immigration attorney to guide you through updating your business plan. An attorney can help ensure that your updated plan effectively addresses the RFE and presents a strong case.

      I have exceptional ability in business. What is better to choose – EB2 NIW or EB-1A?

      Deciding between applying for an EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) or an EB-1A (Employment-Based First Preference – Extraordinary Ability) depends on your specific qualifications, accomplishments, and the evidence you can provide to support your case. Both categories have different eligibility criteria and advantages but they have different eligibility criteria and advantages. 

      Here’s a comparison to help you make an informed decision:

      EB-2 NIW:

      • Requires demonstrating exceptional abilities and showing that your work is of substantial merit and national importance.
      • Does not require employer sponsorship or a job offer.
      • Does not have a specific requirement for international recognition or awards.
      • Allows for a broader range of fields, as the focus is on the national interest of the United States.
      • May require a well-documented business plan if you are an entrepreneur.

      EB-1A (Extraordinary Ability):

      • Requires demonstrating extraordinary ability in your field, typically involving a higher threshold of achievement and recognition than exceptional ability.
      • Requires evidence of sustained international or national recognition and acclaim in your field.
      • Allows for self-petitioning, meaning you don’t need an employer to sponsor you.

      The exceptional ability for EB-2 NIW is easier to prove than the extraordinary ability for EB-1a green card or O-1A. The EB-1a threshold is higher: you must prove that you’re in the top tiny percentage in your field. The decision ultimately depends on your circumstances and the strength of your case. Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney specializing in EB-2 NIW and EB-1A cases can provide personalized guidance based on your qualifications and help you determine the best approach for your situation.

      What qualifications do I have to show as a pilot to get an EB2 NIW?

      There are not enough aviation industry workers, and it’s becoming a national crisis – that means the U.S. economy will benefit from new pilots. As a pilot seeking an EB2 National Interest Waiver (NIW), you also must demonstrate that you meet the eligibility criteria for the EB2 category.

      To demonstrate exceptional ability as a pilot, you should provide extensive evidence of your accomplishments, skills, and impact in aviation. This evidence may include

      • Pilot certifications and licenses.
      • Flight hours and experience as a pilot.
      • Specialized training or qualifications.
      • Recognition, awards, and accolades received for your contributions to aviation.
      • Testimonials from colleagues or industry experts who attest to your exceptional abilities.

      For example, you have a lot of experience, FAA certification, a U.S. degree in Aviation Security, and a foreign degree in Military Sciences with a specialty in aviation – this builds a strong case. We could also include evidence of your involvement in critical aviation projects, research, safety initiatives, or any other contributions that advance the aviation industry in the U.S. and benefit the country as a whole. If you are a fresh new pilot who has just gotten their licensure – that’s a hard case to win.

      The success of an EB2 NIW petition depends on the strength of the evidence provided to establish eligibility and the national interest aspect of your work. An experienced immigration attorney with expertise in EB2 NIW cases can prepare a comprehensive and compelling petition to improve your chances of a successful outcome.

      I don't have publications but I want to apply for EB2 NIW. What should I do?

      While having publications can be beneficial when applying for an EB2 National Interest Waiver (NIW), it is not a requirement. If you don’t have publications but meet other criteria for the EB-2 NIW, you can still present a strong case by focusing on your qualifications and contributions. Here are some recommendations:

      • Professional achievements. Showcase your professional accomplishments, awards, recognitions, and contributions to your field. This can include conference presentations, participation in significant projects, successful collaborations, and other forms of recognition.
      • Expert testimonials. Obtain letters of recommendation from experts, colleagues, or professionals in your field who can vouch for your exceptional abilities and the impact of your work. These letters should emphasize the quality and significance of your contributions.
      • Contributions. Provide detailed information about how your work has benefited your field, organization, or community. Explain the practical applications of your expertise and how it addresses challenges or advances the field.
      • Significant projects. Describe any projects you have led or been involved in that have impacted your field or industry. Emphasize the uniqueness of your approach and the results achieved.
      • Innovation and leadership. If you have demonstrated innovation, leadership, or the ability to solve complex problems, emphasize these qualities in your petition. Highlight how your skills have led to positive outcomes.
      • Job creation (if applicable). If your work has led to job creation or significant economic contributions, provide evidence of this impact. Explain how your work supports U.S. economic growth and development.
      • National Importance. Describe how your expertise contributes to the well-being of the nation.
      • Education. Highlight your educational background, training, and any advanced degrees demonstrating your expertise and qualifications.
      • Plans. Explain your plans for future contributions and their potential to make a lasting impact.

      Remember, the key to a successful EB-2 NIW petition is to present a compelling case demonstrating your advanced degree or exceptional abilities, contributions, and alignment with the national interest. Working with an experienced immigration attorney can help you navigate the process, identify your strengths, and craft a persuasive petition that showcases your qualifications, even if you don’t have publications.

      Can I get EB2 NIW without recommendation letters?

      While it’s possible to file an EB-2 NIW petition without recommendation letters, it will be challenging.

      Recommendation letters play a crucial role in supporting your case by providing third-party validation of your skills, achievements, and contributions to your field. These letters, written by experts or colleagues familiar with your work, can offer valuable insights into your abilities and the impact of your work on the national interest of the United States.

      If you choose not to include recommendation letters, you must compensate by providing alternative evidence to support your eligibility for the EB2 NIW. This could include:

      Documentation of achievements. Compile detailed documentation of your professional achievements, awards, recognitions, and contributions to your field. Include certificates, patents, project summaries, or other forms of recognition.

      Independent verification. If your work has been covered in news articles, publications, or industry reports, provide copies of these documents to show external validation of your accomplishments.

      Personal statement. Write a cover letter outlining your achievements, contributions, and why you believe you qualify for the EB-2 NIW category.

      Expert testimonials. While not traditional recommendation letters, you can gather testimonials from respected experts in your field who can vouch for your accomplishments and impact.

      Detailed Documentation. Provide detailed documentation of any relevant projects, research, or initiatives you’ve been involved in, along with explanations of their significance and impact.

      Reviews. For example, google reviews or clients’ reviews on your website.

      While alternative evidence can help, the absence of traditional recommendation letters could still weaken your case. Before proceeding without recommendation letters, consider consulting with an experienced immigration attorney. An attorney can review your situation, help you assess your options, and guide you on the best strategy to present a robust EB-2 NIW case.

      Do I need a degree to apply for NIW?

      No, if you have an “exceptional ability.” 

      The eligibility criteria for an EB-2 NIW focus on your achievements, contributions, and how your work benefits the United States. If you don’t have an advanced degree, you can still qualify for an EB-2 NIW if you can demonstrate exceptional abilities in your field and establish how your work aligns with the national interest. 

      There are 3 ways to qualify for the EB-2 NIW:

      • Your proposed work in the US will help the US national economy (through local job creation as an entrepreneur or your work will impact some field), and you have a Master’s degree in the same field; 
      • Your proposed work in the US will help the US national economy, and you have a Bachelor’s degree plus 5 years of progressive work experience; 
      • Your proposed work in the US will help the US national economy, plus you have exceptional ability in this field. 

      Important: You have to show not only that you will have an impact but also that you will be working in your area of expertise.

      Focus on presenting a strong case that demonstrates your exceptional abilities, significant contributions, and alignment with the national interest of the United States. Working with an experienced immigration attorney can help you build a compelling EB-2 NIW petition that showcases your qualifications and contributions.

      If I qualify under an “advanced degree,” does my academic degree have to be the same as my field of expertise in the EB-2 NIW?

      No, it doesn’t. For example, the field for your EB-2 NIW petition is technology entrepreneurship. An advanced business, management, or technology degree would be sufficient.

      The term “field” in this context is relatively broad. USCIS recognizes that many professions and occupations may have overlapping skills or knowledge, allowing individuals to transition between related fields.

      If your academic degree is not an exact match, you should demonstrate how your education and work experience have prepared you to excel in your intended business or employment and how your skills are relevant to the national interest of the United States. 

      Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney can help present your case effectively and address potential concerns about the relationship between your degree and field of expertise.

      How specific does my “proposed endeavor” have to be?

      The proposed endeavor refers to the future work or activities you plan to undertake in the United States that align with the national interest. It should showcase how your work will continue to benefit the United States substantially and how your exceptional abilities contribute to achieving those goals.

      Here are some key considerations when presenting your proposed endeavor:

      • Relevant. The proposed endeavor should be straightforward, relevant to your field, and align with your expertise and qualifications. It should demonstrate how your work addresses national needs or priorities.
      • Flexible. While the proposed endeavor should have a clear focus, it shouldn’t be overly restrictive. It has to account for changes in circumstances or opportunities that may arise. Emphasize the long-term impact of your proposed endeavor and how it can continue to benefit the United States beyond the immediate future.
      • Goals and milestones. Describe the goals you aim to achieve with your work and the milestones to measure progress.
      • Evidence-Based. Support your proposed endeavor with evidence, data, and professional analysis that demonstrate its potential national impact and how it aligns with the national interest.
      • Practicality. Ensure that your proposed endeavor is realistic and achievable, considering the resources and opportunities available in your field.
      • Connection. Connect your proposed endeavor to your past work, achievements, and contributions to demonstrate continuity and relevance.

      While you need to provide enough information about your proposed endeavor to establish its significance and national interest, you do not need to have every detail fully worked out. USCIS understands that plans may evolve, and they are looking for evidence of your qualifications and the potential impact of your work.

      Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney can be valuable in formulating your proposed endeavor and presenting it effectively in your EB-2 NIW petition. Our attorney can help you strike the right balance between specificity and flexibility, ensuring that your case showcases your qualifications and contributions to the national interest in the most compelling manner.

      Should I consider hiring an attorney for my EB-2 NIW case? How would this help?

      Yes, it’s better to hire an attorney because the EB2-NIW visa petition requires a lot of supporting documentation. Here’s how an attorney can help:

      • Expertise. Immigration law is complex and subject to frequent changes. An immigration attorney specializes in this area and stays updated on the latest regulations and procedures. 
      • Evaluation. An attorney can assess your qualifications and determine whether you are a strong candidate for the EB-2 NIW category. We will honestly evaluate your chances for success and suggest alternative immigration pathways if necessary.
      • Strategy. We will develop a customized strategy for your EB-2 NIW case.
      • Documentation.  We will help you gather the appropriate evidence and supporting materials for a compelling petition, prepare forms, ensure they are complete, accurate, and well-organized, and send the packet to the USCIS. This help is crucial as mistakes or omissions on immigration forms can lead to delays or denials.
      • Recommendation letters. We will guide you in obtaining strong recommendation letters and help draft and format these letters to meet USCIS requirements.
      • Legal analysis. We can help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your case and address any potential issues that may arise during the adjudication process.
      • RFEs or NOIDs. If USCIS issues a Request for Evidence or Notice of Intent to Deny, we will craft a comprehensive response to address their concerns, increasing your chances of a successful outcome.
      • Timely filing. We are experienced in meeting USCIS deadlines and ensuring your petition is submitted correctly and on time. This is crucial for all petitions, especially those with premium processing.
      • Representation. We will represent you in all communications with USCIS, which can help streamline the process and reduce the risk of misunderstandings.
      • Appeals. In the event of a denial, we will help you explore options for appeal or take legal action to challenge the decision.
      • Peace of mind. Navigating the immigration process can be stressful. Having an attorney on your side provides peace of mind, knowing that a professional is handling your case.

      While hiring an attorney involves additional costs, it can significantly increase your chances of a successful EB-2 NIW petition. Book a consultation now to discuss your case.

      Who has “exceptional ability”? What documents can I use as evidence of “exceptional ability”?

      If you do not have an advanced degree, you can still meet the initial hurdle for EB-2 NIW qualification by having exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.  To establish exceptional ability, you must document at least three of the following:

       An official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar document relating to the field.

      • Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation.
      • A license to practice the profession or certification for a particular occupation.
      • Evidence that you commanded a high remuneration for services that demonstrate exceptional ability.
      • Evidence of membership in a professional association.
      • Evidence of recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by peers, governmental entities, or professional or business organizations.
      • Copies and links to your publications if you have authored articles, books, or research papers.
      • Citations and references if your work has been cited or referenced by other experts in your field.
      • Any patents, inventions, or innovations resulting from your work.
      • Testimonials and letters of recommendation from experts, colleagues, or clients who can attest to your exceptional abilities and contributions to your field.
      • Evidence of exhibitions or showcases.
      • Details of your contributions to projects, if you have played a key role.
      • Other comparable evidence of eligibility.

      Remember that simply having one or two of these documents may not be sufficient to establish exceptional ability. It’s important to provide a comprehensive and well-rounded collection of evidence that showcases the full extent of your expertise and impact in your field. Consulting with an immigration attorney with expertise in EB-2 NIW cases can help you present a compelling case to support your claim of exceptional ability. 

      As a researcher – how would I prove the proposed endeavor without an employer or being a business owner?

      Proving eligibility for an EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) without an employer or being a business owner is totally possible. The EB-2 NIW category is designed for individuals who possess exceptional abilities or advanced degrees and can demonstrate that their work benefits the United States in a way that is of national interest. Here are the steps you can take to prove your case:

      • Qualifications:
        • Show that you have an advanced degree (Master’s degree or higher) or possess exceptional abilities in your field.
        • Document your educational and professional background, including degrees, certificates, awards, and achievements.
      • Field of expertise:
        • Clearly define your expertise and how it relates to your proposed endeavor.
        • Explain how your unique knowledge and skills contribute to the national interest.
      • Contributions:
        • Compile evidence of your contributions to your field, such as publications, patents, conference presentations, or research projects.
        • Highlight any awards, grants, or fellowships you have received for your work.
      • National interest argument:
        • You can get letters of interest if you have U.S. colleagues in the same field. Ask them to back up your degree – to write a letter where they say there’s a lot of interest in this scientific area.
        • Have you already received a lot of interest via LinkedIn or other platforms from U.S. companies that need you, headhunters that are looking for you?
        • Maybe you have been recruited abroad or applied and got an email from the HR department saying, “You’re the perfect candidate. Unfortunately, we have a policy against sponsorship” – this also can show high demand in your area.
      • Supporting documents:
        • Compile additional supporting documents such as research papers, articles, news coverage, letters of support, or testimonials reinforcing your claims.
      • Impact:
        • Show evidence of the impact of your work within your field, such as citations of your research, collaborations, or invitations to speak at conferences.
      • Plans:
        • Describe your plans and how they align with your proposed endeavor in the United States.
        • Explain how your presence in the country will supplement the national interest.

      While not having an employer or business ownership can make the process more challenging, a strong NIW petition can still lead to a successful outcome based on your qualifications and contributions to your field. Consider seeking legal assistance from an immigration attorney experienced with NIW cases to help you navigate the application process and build a strong case.

      What is substantial merit? How can we differ substantial merit to national importance?

      “Substantial merit” is a qualifying criterion for an EB-2 National Interest Waiver. It refers to the significance, value, and quality of your work. To meet the requirement of substantial merit, you must demonstrate that your work holds value beyond the ordinary level, providing evidence of your accomplishments, achievements, and impact. 

      “National importance” is the criterion that sets EB-2 NIW apart from other employment-based categories. National importance relates to the impact of your work on the United States economy.

      The national importance of your proposed endeavor is more narrow, while substantial merit is more general in scope. For example, being a doctor has substantial merit, but if your proposed endeavor is working with silicone implants – this is not nationally important.

      Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney can help you present a strong EB-2 NIW case that effectively addresses both substantial merit and national importance.

      How do I find out if my endeavor fits into areas of national importance?

      After reviewing your CV, we will research how your work benefits the United States at a level beyond the ordinary or routine. You can try to find out for yourselves! Here are some tips to identify if your endeavor aligns with areas of national importance:

      • Government priorities. Research government agencies’ priorities, initiatives, and strategic plans. Explore websites of relevant agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, National Institutes of Health (NIH), and more. Look for areas where your expertise intersects with national priorities.
      • Government reports. Investigate reports published by government bodies, think tanks, and research organizations that outline national needs and challenges. These reports often highlight sectors critical to the country’s growth and security.
      • National strategies. Study national strategies related to economic growth, innovation, security, healthcare, technology, energy, and other key sectors. These strategies point to fields that are considered of vital importance to the nation.
      • Congressional testimonies and hearings often highlight areas requiring attention, funding, and expertise. These discussions provide insights into where your contributions could be of national importance.
      • Academic research papers, studies, and publications may identify gaps or pressing issues that require expert intervention. Your expertise may align with these needs.
      • Industry trends. Stay informed about trends and developments in your field. Industries undergoing rapid changes often require specialized knowledge to stay competitive and secure.
      • Societal impact. Reflect on how your work contributes to public welfare, health, safety, or environmental sustainability. Areas that directly affect society’s well-being may have national importance.
      • National challenges. If your work addresses critical national challenges such as energy security, cybersecurity, public health, or environmental preservation, it’s likely of national importance.
      • Funding opportunities. Look for government grants, research funding, and contracts that target specific areas. Funding allocation indicates the significance attached to those sectors.
      • Experts. Seek advice from colleagues, mentors, experts, and professionals in your field. They may provide insights into how your expertise can address national challenges.

      When presenting your endeavor’s alignment with areas of national importance in your EB-2 NIW petition, be sure to provide evidence and context. Explain how your expertise directly addresses national needs, supports key initiatives, or contributes to the overall well-being and advancement of the United States.

      Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney who specializes in EB-2 NIW cases can help you effectively establish the connection between your work and areas of national importance.

      What if I change jobs while my EB-2 NIW petition is pending?

      If your new job is substantially different from the position described in your original EB-2 NIW petition, it could impact the eligibility of your NIW application. The NIW is based on the premise that your work is of national interest in the field specified in the petition. If your job change results in a departure from that field, you may need to consult an immigration attorney to assess the impact on your green card application.

      If you self-petitioned, changing employers should not impact the pending EB-2 NIW petition as long as you will still be working in the proposed endeavor that is in the national interest of the U.S. Here are some important points to consider to avoid implications:

      • Priority date retention. If your EB-2 NIW petition is still pending and you change jobs in the same or a related field, you may be able to retain the priority date from your initial petition.
      • AC21 Portability. If your Form I-140 has been approved, and you have a pending adjustment of status (Form I-485) application, you may be eligible for “AC21 portability.” Under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21), if your I-485 has been pending for 180 days or more, and you change jobs to a similar or same occupational classification, you may be able to continue the green card process with your new employer without the need for a new labor certification or I-140 petition.
      • Consular Processing. If you are consular processing (applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate abroad) and change jobs, you should notify the National Visa Center (NVC). Depending on the circumstances, the NVC may request additional documentation or clarification.

      If you are planning to switch jobs, please contact us to schedule an appointment with your attorney to discuss the immigration impact and ensure the smoothest possible process.

      What types of letters do I need for my EB-2 NIW petition?

      We will work with you to draft expert testimony letters that help demonstrate the substantial merit and national importance of your work, highlight your accomplishments to show that you are well positioned to advance the proposed career, and how your work will be in the national interest of the U.S. 

      These letters should come from verifiers of your choice (high-level managers, former employers, and colleagues) – anyone you believe is familiar with the benefits of your work. Here are the types of letters you may need for your EB-2 NIW petition:

      • Letters of recommendation. Strong and detailed letters of recommendation from experts in your field, colleagues, clients, or supervisors are essential. These letters should highlight your exceptional abilities, professional achievements, and the impact of your work. Ideally, these letters should be written by individuals who can speak firsthand about your contributions to the field.
      • Expert testimonials. Expert testimonials are letters from recognized authorities in your profession or field. These testimonials can further validate your qualifications and the national importance of your work.
      • Collaborator letters. If you have collaborated with other professionals, researchers, or organizations, letters of collaboration can demonstrate the significance of your work and the impact of your partnerships.
      • Support letters from organizations. If your work has been supported or sponsored by institutions, organizations, or government agencies, letters of support from these entities can be valuable evidence.
      • Employer letters. If you are employed in the United States, a letter from your employer describing your contributions, achievements, and value to the organization can strengthen your case.
      • Client letters. If your work involves client relationships, letters from satisfied clients attesting to the quality and value of your services can be beneficial.
      • Academic advisors’ letters. If you have studied or conducted research in the U.S., letters from academic advisors or professors can provide insight into your academic achievements and potential contributions.

      It’s important to note that the quality and credibility of the letters are critical. USCIS will closely examine the content of the letters and the qualifications of the individuals providing them. Each letter should be specific, detailed, and written by someone with direct knowledge of your work and abilities.

      When preparing your EB-2 NIW petition, work with an experienced immigration attorney who can guide you on the type and content of the letters to ensure they effectively support your case. The attorney can also help you gather the necessary documentation and present a compelling case for your EB-2 NIW application.

      Do I need a certain number of letters for my EB-2 NIW petition?

      USCIS does not require any minimum or maximum number of recommendation letters. Generally, we recommend between 4 and 7 letters.

      I have a pending labor certification with the DOL. Can I still apply for a National Interest Waiver?

      You may apply for NIW even with a pending PERM labor certification. The PERM labor certification and the NIW are handled by two different organizations. While your PERM labor certification is filed with the DOL, your NIW will be processed with USCIS. A pending PERM will not impact your EB-2 NIW petition or visa versa.

      Can I apply for the EB-2 NIW if I was denied a PERM-based I-140?

      Yes, assuming that you meet the qualifications for an EB-2NIW, your previous PERM-base I-140 denial should not impact the outcome of your EB-2 NIW petition. 

      The requirements for the EB-2 NIW are different from the PERM-based I-140.

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      Please call us at +1 206-558-6288 or book a consultation with our attorney to evaluate your case

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