Your Complete Guide to The EB-2 NIW

This is your complete guide to the EB-2 national interest waiver (EB-2 NIW).

People throughout the world dream of moving to the U.S. for its opportunities. However, the immigration process, especially getting a green card through an EB-2 NIW is a long, tedious process. Moreover, not everyone qualifies. Out of the many immigration visas and pathways made available by the U.S. government, the EB-2 National Interest Waiver visa has gained widespread popularity.

The EB2-NIW is an employment-based visa that does not require sponsorship. The NIW stands for “national interest waiver.” This means that the U.S. government will waive the requirement of a job offer. The Department of Labor will provide authorization to employ a foreign national if the foreign national’s proposed endeavor benefits the U.S. Thus, a qualified individual can “self-petition” and get a green card based on their own professional experience and skills.

The EB2-NIW visa requires a lot of documentation. It also includes many steps that people do not often know of or understand. Here, we have listed all the frequently asked questions that people often struggle with. In doing so, we aim to make the green card application process and processing times a bit easier for our clients. Below is a complete, basic guide to the EB2-National Interest Waiver visa.

What is the EB-2 with National Interest Waiver?

An EB2-NIW is an immigrant visa that grants a foreign national lawful permanent residency without the requirement of an employment offer. The job offer requirement is waived if the candidate can prove that his permanent residence in the U.S. would be of “national interest” and would benefit the country.

Is There Any Difference Between a Regular EB2 and an EB2 with National Interest Waiver?

Yes, they are both vastly different in terms of their requirements, processing times, and the documentation required for each. Generally, an EB2 visa or other employment- based visas require a formal employment offer for an applicant to be eligible to apply. Additionally, it requires a Labor Certification from the Department of Labor.

An EB2 with NIW, on the other hand, does not require any employment offer. The applicant is not required to go through the labor certification process with the Department of Labor. This is as long as the petitioner (applicant) can prove that their admittance to the United States would be of national benefit.

Who Can Apply for an EB2-NIW?

Any foreign national can apply for an EB2-NIW visa. An immigration attorney is able to complete a strong application package that checks off all of the requirements and make the appropriate legal arguments. An applicant does not need an employer.

What Does an EB2-NIW Waive Off?

The EB2-National Interest Waiver dismisses the need for a labor certification from the Department of Labor. The labor certification can be costly and takes time to obtain. This visa also waives off the requirement of an employment offer. However, all other “entry” requirements must be met in order to become eligible for the visa.

What Are the Educational Requirements for an EB2-NIW?

The EB2-NIW visa is available to foreign nationals who have attained an advanced degree or its foreign equivalent in a professional field. These individuals can also meet this educational requirement with a Bachelor degree and at least 5 years of progressive experience in their field. Individuals showing exceptional capabilities in fields such as science, technology, mathematics, engineering, arts, business, etc., also qualify for this visa.

An immigration lawyer well versed in immigration law can best assess a candidate’s professional background in order to determine under which category the candidate best qualifies.

What Constitutes an Advanced Degree?

An advanced degree under the EB2-NIW framework is a degree or qualification higher than a bachelor’s degree. The applicant can earn this in the U.S. by a recognized U.S. college or university or a foreign equivalent of an American advanced degree.

What If the Applicant Only Has a Bachelor’s Degree without a Master’s or Any Other Advanced Degree?

The USCIS office requires a Master’s or another advanced degree. If a foreign applicant only has a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. or its foreign equivalent, then at least 5 years of post-baccalaureate work experience in the specialized field will be required. If the foreign national applying for this visa also lacks the required work experience, he will need to show exceptional abilities in his field in order to succeed in his visa application.

Who Qualifies for an EB2-National Interest Waiver?

The following individuals are eligible to apply for an EB2-NIW:

  • A foreign national who meets the educational requirements, and
  • A foreign national who meets the three-prong test in Matter of Dhanasar decision listed below:
  1. The proposed endeavor has substantial merit and national importance
  2. The applicant is capable of advancing the proposed endeavor
  3. Substantial benefits for the “national interest” of the United States

What Immigration Forms Does an EB2 National Interest Waiver Petitioner Need to File?

An EB2-NIW petition requires the filing of Form I-140, which is best done by a professional and experienced immigration lawyer.

What Are the Main Benefits of Petitioning for an EB2-NIW?

The EB2-NIW has numerous benefits, some of which include:

  • You don’t need a job offer
  • No labor certificate is necessary
  • You can petition without a sponsor
  • The majority of the visas are available for most countries. This means you don’t have to wait for visa backlogs.

How Many Citations/Publications Do I Need for an EB-2 NIW?

The government of the United States does not state a specific number for the required citations/publications. They are, in fact, decided by the USCIS on a case-to-case basis. In order to know more about the number of required citations and publications for your application, it is best to seek professional assistance from an immigration lawyer.

Can I Have Another Petition While Applying for an EB-2 NIW?

The EB2-NIW petition does not restrict a person from pursuing other visa options. You can still submit other petitions while petitioning for an EB-2-NIW. However, you will need to submit separate forms with the additional fee and documentary evidence. If you are planning to submit more than one immigration petition at the same time, an experienced immigration attorney should do it for you. That increases the chances of approval.

What is the EB-2 National Interest Waiver Form?

You will need to submit a Form I-140 with all the required supporting documents and mail it to the suitable service center.

Applying For a Green Card For Your Family

If your EB-2 NIW petition is approved, your immediate family (your spouse and unmarried children under 21) may be eligible for admission to the United States. They can submit applications for a green card as a dependent of the card holder.

You may be eligible for a green card through the EB2-NIW visa petition. You can contact our office today to speak to a qualified immigration lawyer about our citizenship and immigration services and the green card process. We speak English, Spanish, and Portuguese.


    Posted September 25, 2021 1:50 pm

    I am an airline Pilot ( Indian Citizen, HongKong Resident ) and recently discovered that Pilots were added to the EB-2 NIW list.
    Can you please advice on that further and the prcoess and fee to file and apply for the same. We are a group of 3 pilots willing to apply and immigrate on the EB-2 NIW visa

    • Terra
      Posted October 21, 2021 12:05 pm

      Thank you for contacting Terra Immigration Partners. We are open Monday-Friday from 9 am-5 pm EST. Please contact us at 407-818-1244 or email us at

  • Mrinmoy
    Posted November 15, 2021 4:44 pm

    If I have earned my phd degree from outside USA. Will I be considered for NIW?

    Can I apply for EB2 NIW from outside USA?

    • Terra
      Posted November 18, 2021 1:55 pm

      Thank you for contacting Terra Immigration Partners. We are open Monday-Friday from 9 am-5 pm EST. Please contact us at +1(407) 818-1244 or email us at

  • Karen R Rymer
    Posted November 18, 2021 5:35 am

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  • Mike
    Posted December 3, 2021 1:47 am

    Once somebody is qualified for NIW-EB2 visa with academic background (let’s say as a geotechnical engineering researcher with an extraordinary research track record), should he/she try to find academic jobs in the US or can also seek jobs in industry (with geotechnical engineering field of work)?
    Also, should the profession be in the same area until citizenship or can be changed?
    I appreciate it if you assist me with this . Thanks.
    Kind Regards

    • Terra
      Posted December 10, 2021 1:46 pm

      Hello, we can help you. You can call us by WhatsApp at +1(407)476-8155 or send your information at this link and a representative will contact you Thank you.

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  • Awais Ghani
    Posted June 6, 2022 3:18 pm

    Hi, I am interested in EB2-NIW green card visa. I am Awais an Assistant Professor from university of agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan. I have seven years of experience and obtained PhD degree (Agriculture-Horticulture) from Zhejiang University China. I have three family members of which one is my son USA National. Can you provide information about whether my case has strong for this visa? Thanks

  • Awais Ghani
    Posted June 6, 2022 3:19 pm

    Hi, I am interested in EB2-NIW green card visa. I am Awais an Assistant Professor from university of agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan. I have seven years of experience and obtained PhD degree (Agriculture-Horticulture) from Zhejiang University China. I have three family members of which one is my son USA National. Can you provide information about whether my case has strong for this visa? Thanks

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