How to Process EB-2 National Interest Waiver Green Card
The EB-2 National Interest Waiver is one of two employment-based green cards that can be attained through a self-petition.
Advantages of EB-2 National Interest Waiver
The EB-2 National Interest Waiver offers eligible applicants a wide range of advantages, which include:
- It doesn’t require employer sponsorship. This means if you don’t need an employer to sponsor your petition. You can file the petition yourself.
- It requires no job offer. The NIW uses the “proposed endeavor” language. This endeavor can be a career or business, and an applicant will not need an offer from a US-based employer before they can qualify.
- It doesn’t require PERM labor certification. The PERM labor certification process takes a considerable amount of time in employment-based green card applications. Fortunately for EB-2 NIW applicants, this is one of the waived requirements, which may help expedite the entire process.
Steps for Obtaining EB-2 National Interest Waiver
Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility
The eligibility criteria for the EB-2 national interest waiver are based on two major requirements. This means you must first prove that you meet the general EB-2 requirements. You will then also confirm that it is in the national interest that requirements of a job offer and labor certification process be waived for you.
- General EB-2 Eligibility Requirements
According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), EB-2 applicants are required to have an advanced degree or its equivalent in their profession or possess an exceptional ability. With this, many people with an advanced degree or exceptional ability in their career may qualify for the EB-2 visa. But qualifying for the NIW category has its own list of requirements, as explained below:
- National Interest Waiver Eligibility Requirements
In addition to fulfilling the general EB-2 criteria, you will need to satisfy 3 other requirements to prove that you merit the National Interest Waiver category. You must prove that:
i. Your proposed endeavor has both substantial merits and is of national importance.
ii. You are in a good position to advance that proposed endeavor.
iii. It would be in the United States’ interest to waive the job offer and labor certification process for you. In other words, in light of the factors above, it would be beneficial for the US if a job offer requirement and labor certification requirement are waived for you.
Step 2: Prepare Supporting Evidence
Once you are sure that you are an eligible candidate for the NIW green card, the next thing is to start preparing your supporting evidence. There is no specific definition for jobs that qualify for NIW; each application’s adjudication will be case-specific. This means your chances of approval will depend on how convincing your application is.
It is best to consult an immigration attorney to help evaluate your case and prepare your supporting evidence by including the key information and documents that best support your eligibility claims. That said, apart from evidence of your advanced degree and/or exceptional ability, certain other documents could help boost your chances for EB-2 NIW approval. They include letters of recommendation, proofs of work experience in your field, updated resume, evidence of publication citations, memberships, and conferences.
Step 3: File Your EB-2 NIW Petition
Once you have gathered your supporting evidence, you can then proceed to file your Form I-140 Immigrant Petition with USCIS, along with the supporting documents. If you are in the United States, you may submit your I-140 petition concurrently with your I-485 Adjustment of Status Application, provided your priority date is current.