Mastering the EB-2 NIW Path: A Guide to Meeting the NIW Eligibility Standards

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Picture of Shawn Sedaghat, Esq.

Shawn Sedaghat, Esq.

Have you ever considered bypassing the visa queue and genuinely making a difference in the USA? The National Interest Waiver (NIW) might be your key to self-petition to receive your green card and become a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. It could be your key to unlocking the door to your dreams.

The NIW pathway is an excellent choice for foreign nationals seeking a U.S. green card.

Demonstrate that your profession benefits the country, and you can skip the need for an employer sponsor or the usual labor certification requirement– things ordinarily encountered in standard EB-2 cases.

The EB-2 National Interest Waiver is an immigration category with substantial merit for individuals seeking employment-based visas in the United States. This visa category allows a foreign national with exceptional abilities or advanced degrees to waive the labor certification requirement typically needed for employment-based immigration.

Whether you’ve got a fancy degree or some exceptional skills, we have insights and examples to guide you in showcasing your qualifications for this life-changing waiver. This article will walk you through what’s needed – advanced degrees or exceptional abilities – and how your work can contribute to U.S. national interest, setting the stage for a successful NIW application.

Key Takeaways

  • Eligibility for the EB-2 NIW requires demonstrating an advanced degree or exceptional ability, your work’s substantial merit and national importance, and is well-positioned to advance your proposed endeavor.
  • The EB-2 NIW application benefits from exemption from the labor certification process, offering flexibility and time-saving advantages for your professional journey in the U.S.
  • Strategically using professional networks, a letter of recommendation, a contract with a high salary, and showcasing achievements like publications and awards can significantly bolster the EB-2 NIW application and improve the chances of success.
  • The NIW offers a pathway for a foreign national to secure a U.S. green card by demonstrating their work’s benefit to the U.S., which waives the need for an employer sponsor and labor certification typically required in standard EB-2 cases.
  • The NIW Offers a Pathway for Exceptional Individuals to Contribute to the U.S. Without Traditional Visa Constraints
  • A Strong NIW Application Requires a Collection of Robust Evidence and a Compelling Narrative That Highlights the Applicant’s Exceptional Ability

Here’s how it works:

  • It’s like a special pass for a foreign national good at what they do. You might have a doctorate or be an alien of extraordinary ability with a significant salary in your field.
  • Your work has to be in a field that’s important to the U.S. Think doctors, physicians, scientists, engineers and researchers—people who can make real-world improvements.
  • You have to show that your work will be helpful to the U.S. Maybe you seek to invent a new cure for a disease or research about a cleaner energy source.
  • You’ll need to gather lots of proof to back up your case. This could include a letter of recommendation from experts, a citation of articles about your research, or even awards you’ve won.
  • Planning and being super organized with your paperwork are crucial for success in the National Interest Waiver Petition process.
  • Getting a National Interest Waiver can take a while That’s why many people get help from immigration lawyers. They can guide you through the process and make sure everything’s done right.

Defining the National Interest Waiver

The National Interest Waiver is a provision that allows eligible individuals to apply for a green card without the need for labor certification or employer sponsorship. To qualify, one must possess an advanced degree and exceptional ability in their field of work while demonstrating national interest in the United States.

Obtaining a National Interest Waiver goes beyond just having impressive qualifications. It requires evidence of substantial merit and potential benefits for the U.S. on a national level from your proposed endeavor. This can span various fields such as business, entrepreneurship, science and technology, culture, health care, or education to contribute positively to America’s advancement.

Understanding the Basics of NIW Eligibility

Eligibility for the National Interest Waiver is not solely based on meeting specific immigration requirements but on showcasing the unique value and merit that an individual’s expertise and proposed endeavor bring to the nation.

To qualify for the National Interest Waiver, individuals must demonstrate their expertise by holding an advanced degree or possessing exceptional abilities in areas deemed intrinsic value. This could include science, technology, engineering, mathematics, business, or the arts.

By demonstrating outstanding abilities in a relevant field and presenting a plan that aligns with national interests, individuals can position themselves as valuable assets to the United States. This qualification allows them to bypass the labor certification process and secure a green card for their potential contribution to the country.

Moreover, the proposed endeavor should be of national importance, with the potential to contribute significantly to the overall well-being of the United States. This endeavor should hold practical benefits that can be translated into tangible outcomes.

It is essential to emphasize the proposed activity’s positive impact on the country, highlighting its potential to advance U.S. interests, enhance the economy, improve public health care, create employment opportunities, or foster innovation and technological advancement.

Although additional criteria are needed to secure an EB-2 National Interest Waiver green card, thorough preparation and presentation of your case can lead to successful results. The overall approval rate indicates that obtaining an EB-2 NIW green card is achievable with careful planning and execution.

Furthermore, the EB-2 National Interest Waiver application may initially seem daunting, but understanding the three main criteria can simplify the process. The key is to:

1. Have an advanced degree or demonstrate exceptional ability

National Interest Waiver eligibility criteria include a requirement for an advanced degree, such as a master’s degree or higher. Although having a Ph.D. is not necessary for National Interest Waiver eligibility, it can strengthen your application. This ensures that the application process favors individuals with specialized skills and expertise.

If you do not have a master’s degree, you can still qualify by holding a bachelor’s degree along with at least five years of relevant post-baccalaureate work experience.

Even if you hold an international qualification instead of a U.S. one, there is no need to worry! With the help of credential evaluation services, you can have your foreign education credentials evaluated and proven equivalent to those obtained in the United States.

Thus, for American and non-American individuals with either domestic or foreign degrees, their official academic transcripts serve as compelling evidence showcasing their eligibility for the EB-2 visa category.

2. Demonstrate how your work holds “substantial merit.”

You can still get an EB-2 national interest waiver even if you don’t have an advanced degree. Substantial merit is all about how valuable your proposed work is. Showcasing means proving that your work can make a difference in your field. You can show this through your publications with citations, patents, or awards.

To support your claim of exceptional ability, you must provide specific documentation about your professional background and accomplishments in your field. This should include at least three pieces of evidence from a list provided by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which handles citizenship and immigration services.

For instance, you could show membership in professional or business organizations or a contract with a high salary in your field that proves your exceptional ability. The more proof you can share, the better your chances for approval.

3. Show how your work is of “national importance” to the U.S.

National importance looks at how your work helps the whole country. This means your contributions go beyond just your expertise. Suppose you’re an alien of extraordinary ability. In that case, you must show that your work supports the nation by boosting the economy, improving public well-being, or enhancing national security, among other important goals.

It’s vital to prove that what you bring to the table is more beneficial than any possible downsides, and it’s genuinely in the best interest of the United States to give you a green card.

One exciting thing about the NIW is how it lets outstanding foreign national talents help the United States move forward. It’s great because it doesn’t demand you to come up with a considerable investment, job offer, or labor certification.

Only after recognizing that you’re exceptionally skilled can you significantly impact fields like science, health care, research, business, privacy policy, education, and arts. This flexibility means you can go after your work independently and make a real difference without being stuck to one employer or job.

This flexibility is a game changer for a professional foreign national who might not have a typical academic background or license but can show off their expertise and accomplishments in their fields, qualifying them to obtain a green card through the National Interest Waiver.

Substantial Merit Vs. National Importance

While substantial merit and national importance are distinct criteria, they are interconnected. It is imperative for applicants to effectively present both aspects in their petition to increase their chances of success.

Providing evidence, testimonials, and expert opinions can strengthen the chance of winning a waiver by demonstrating the applicant’s expertise, the significance of their work, and how it aligns with the national interest.

Remember, developing a compelling narrative highlighting the applicant’s unique qualifications and the potential positive impact of their work is crucial in navigating the EB-2 NIW application process.

The National Interest Component for Common Fields

The National Interest Component considers a country’s overall welfare and strategic goals in the decision-making process related to standard fields. In this context, common fields are shared among multiple actors, such as nations, states, or organizations, for various economic, environmental, or security-related activities.

Concerning standard fields, the National Interest Component becomes instrumental in guiding policies and actions that protect and promote a country’s interests. These interests include ensuring national security, conserving natural resources, fostering economic growth, or enhancing diplomatic relationships.

As professionals, it is vital to acknowledge and consider this component to ensure the sustainable management and equitable distribution of resources and the pursuit of national interests that drive overall development and prosperity.


The National Interest Component of the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) is a crucial aspect that scientists must understand when applying for this visa category. Under the National Interest Component, scientists must demonstrate that their work is in the national interest of the United States and that granting them a waiver would greatly benefit the country.

The National Interest Component is particularly significant for scientists as their research and discoveries often have wide-ranging implications for the nation. They must prove that their work is of substantial merit and has a national impact.

They can provide letters of support from experts and official organizations in their field (such as the American Chemical Society and the New York State Department of Transportation) who can validate the importance of their research and its potential impact on the nation’s well-being.

Moreover, scientists must demonstrate that their work is in the national interest by highlighting how it addresses critical issues, such as improving public health, advancing scientific knowledge, promoting economic growth, or solving environmental challenges.

When high-profile individuals vouch for the importance of a research project, it establishes a strong foundation for its legitimacy. For instance, receiving letters of support from reputable institutions such as the American Chemical Society or the New York State Department of Transportation demonstrates that established authorities have recognized and approved the research.

When they provide their endorsement, it serves as a mark of validation for the research’s potential impact on the nation’s well-being. It indicates that the research aligns with the organization’s objectives and contributes to the advancement of the field.


To qualify for the National Interest Component of the EB-2 NIW for Healthcare, professionals must demonstrate that their work is in the national interest of the United States.

To establish this, healthcare professionals can present a range of evidence, including published research articles, contributions to medical advancements, recognition from peers, and testimonials from experts in the field. It is essential to build a strong case supported by compelling evidence to increase the chances of approval.

In the case of physicians, fulfilling the NIW requirements can be challenging. However, having a solid educational background and professional experience can significantly increase the chances of success. One of the crucial aspects of proving one’s qualifications is through the evaluations provided by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME).

The National Board of Medical Examiners plays a vital role in the EB-2 NIW application process for physicians. NBME is responsible for administering rigorous exams, such as the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), which assesses a physician’s knowledge and clinical skills.

As part of the application process, the evaluations performed by the National Board of Medical Examiners serve as crucial evidence of a physician’s qualifications and proficiency in their field. By meeting the NIW requirements and presenting strong National Board of Medical Examiners evaluations, physicians can successfully navigate the immigration process and contribute to the United States healthcare system.


Professional individuals with exceptional ability in the technology field can apply for a green card under this category if they demonstrate that their work is in the national interest of the United States.

The NIW for Technology is designed to attract highly skilled individuals in the technology sector with advanced knowledge and capabilities that significantly benefit the country. This can be showcased through evidence of outstanding achievements, publications, patents, and presentations that demonstrate their expertise and contributions to the technological advancement of the United States.

Additionally, applicants must prove that their work is essential and significantly benefits the country’s economy, national security, or other areas of national interest.

The National Interest Component of the EB-2 NIW for Technology provides a unique opportunity for talented technology professionals to contribute their expertise and skills to the United States.


The National Interest Component of EB-2 NIW for Business Expertise is a pathway that recognizes and rewards individuals who possess exemplary talent and expertise in their respective fields, ultimately benefiting the United States.

This category acknowledges the significance of foreign national professionals who can contribute substantially to the country’s economy, innovation, job creation, affordable housing, and overall development.

By encouraging such individuals to immigrate to the United States, the National Interest Component of EB-2 NIW fosters the growth and progression of various industries. It ensures that the nation remains competitive globally.

Cultural Enrichment

National Interest Waiver of EB-2 NIW for Cultural Enrichment provides a unique pathway for talented individuals in the cultural sector to obtain a green card in the United States. This remarkable component focuses explicitly on artistic enrichment, recognizing individuals’ contributions to cultural pursuits.

This provision acknowledges that cultural diversity is a vital aspect of national identity and is crucial in fostering innovation, creativity, and understanding within society. Therefore, applicants who can showcase their cultural contributions and demonstrate their significant impact on the national interest have a higher chance of obtaining a green card.

By recognizing the importance of cultural enrichment, the National Interest Component encourages the immigration of individuals who possess expertise, skills, or knowledge that are deemed essential for the cultural development and growth of the country.


The NIW for art focuses on recognizing individuals who possess exceptional abilities in the field of arts and can offer substantial contributions to the cultural enrichment of the United States.

Artists who demonstrate that their work has gained national and international acclaim and elevates the country’s artistic landscape may be eligible for this unique immigration route. To obtain the EB-2 NIW for art, candidates must showcase a strong portfolio of their work, highlighting its impact on the field and the artistic community.

They must provide evidence of their sustained excellence, such as awards, critical recognition, exhibitions, and publications. Additionally, a letter of recommendation from professionals in the field who can attest to their influence and talent is crucial to strengthen their case.


Sport is often seen as a reflection of a nation’s identity and values, and it can serve as a powerful tool for promoting national unity and pride. The success of a nation’s athletes in international competitions not only brings glory to the country but also boosts its reputation on the global stage.

To prove the national interest component in the field of sport for atheists, one can highlight examples of atheistic athletes who have represented their countries with passion and dedication, contributing to national pride. These athletes, driven by their love for their nation and the sport, showcase that one can be an atheist and still find motivation and significance in representing their country.

Atheistic athletes may participate in international sporting events, such as the Olympics, where the focus is on competition and representing their nation. By highlighting these instances, it becomes evident that the national interest component in sports is on the shared values, culture, and sense of belonging that comes with representing one’s country on a global stage.

The impact of the national interest component is also evident in the allocation of resources. Financial support is provided to elite athletes and national teams to enable them to compete at the highest level.

Do I Need to be in the U.S. to Qualify for NIW?

In the world of immigration law, the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) is a highly sought-after visa category for individuals with exceptional skills or abilities in the United States national interest.

One common misconception about this visa is that physical presence within the U.S. is a prerequisite for qualification. However, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be physically present in the U.S. to qualify for the EB-2 NIW.

Suppose your work falls within the National Interest Waiver criteria, and you can effectively prove your eligibility. In that case, you can qualify for this visa category, regardless of your location.

Consular Processing

Consular processing is vital in ensuring that a foreign national outside the U.S. can successfully navigate the complex immigration system and obtain lawful permanent residency.

During the consular processing, applicants must submit various forms and supporting documents to the U.S. Department of State. These documents typically include the DS-260 form, which serves as an application for an immigrant visa, and the necessary civil and financial records.

Furthermore, when a foreign national goes through consular processing, they are generally required to schedule an appointment at a designated application support center to take their biometrics. During this process, photographs and fingerprints are captured using high-resolution scanners and then cross-referenced with national and international databases to verify the applicant’s identity.

Taking biometrics aims to establish a unique identifier for each applicant, making it easier for immigration authorities to distinguish between genuine applicants and potential fraudsters. This data is used throughout the consular processing procedure, including background checks, security clearances, and immigration interviews.

Additionally, applicants are usually required to undergo a medical examination and submit the results during this process. This step is crucial in ensuring that the candidates are in good health and able to perform the duties and responsibilities of the position they are applying for.

A physician thoroughly assesses the applicant’s physical and mental health during the medical examination. This may include measurements of basic vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate, and body mass index, as well as a review of the individual’s medical history.

Once the required documentation is submitted and reviewed, the consular officer will schedule an interview with the applicant at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. The interview aims to establish the applicant’s eligibility for the EB-2 NIW visa and determine their intentions to reside permanently in the United States.

After a successful interview, the applicant will receive the immigrant visa and can then travel to the United States to complete the final steps of the immigration process. These last steps usually include a thorough U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection and issuing a green card.

Adjustment of status for Eb-2 NIW is for those who are inside the U.S.

The process of Adjustment of Status for Eb-2 NIW is an option available for individuals currently inside the United States. The Adjustment of Status allows individuals to apply for a Green Card without returning to their home country to complete the process.

The Adjustment of Status for Eb-2 NIW involves several steps. First, the applicant must file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140) with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Once the I-140 is approved, the next step is to file an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485) with the USCIS. This application requires the applicant to provide biographical information and evidence of eligibility, undergo biometric testing, and interview.

By completing the Adjustment of Status for Eb-2 NIW, individuals can obtain a Green Card and enjoy the benefits and privileges of permanent residency in the United States without the need to leave the country.

This is particularly beneficial for individuals already residing in the United States under a different visa status and wishing to transition to permanent residency. This can save time and money and alleviate the stress of leaving one’s current life and job behind.

Crafting a Strong NIW Petition

Creating an effective petition for an NIW is crucial when applying. This allows you to make a strong case showcasing your unique qualifications and how they align with the national interest of your work.

Your petition should include important documents such as an official academic record, proof of professional licenses or certifications, and evidence of obtaining an advanced degree or possessing exceptional ability in your field. If any academic records are outside of English, certified translations must be submitted along with other required materials during the application process.

Essential Documentation to Include

The success of your NIW petition hinges on the documents you submit. They should thoroughly picture your academic qualifications and professional accomplishments, solidifying your eligibility for an NIW.

Along with providing evidence of your educational background and achievements, a letter of recommendation from respected professionals in your field is crucial to a strong NIW petition. These letters must highlight:

  • Your exceptional talents
  • The impact and value of your work
  • Your valuable experiences
  • The recognition or use others have given to it

These points will demonstrate the national interest in hiring you and confirm your exceptional ability.

Demonstrating Your Work’s National Impact

Highlighting the national significance of your proposed endeavor is a vital aspect of your NIW application. It is essential to demonstrate that it has the potential to bring about substantial benefits for the United States, whether through groundbreaking research in your field, promoting positive social change, or generating significant economic gains.

To illustrate its national impact effectively, provide supporting evidence showcasing how your work will improve societal welfare, positively influence the U.S. economy, and enhance wages and working conditions for American workers. Such evidence will assist USCIS in understanding the future potential impact of your undertaking on the country.

Letter of Recommendation: Whom to Ask

A letter of recommendation can significantly bolster your NIW application. They should come from individuals who are experts in your field, including those from:

  • Government agencies
  • Universities
  • Think tanks
  • U.S. government officials

These experts should be capable of affirming your outstanding ability and the national interest of your work.

When requesting a letter of recommendation, be sure to:

  • Articulate the significance of their endorsement
  • Provide details about your case
  • Maintain a professional demeanor
  • Suggest the optimal number of letters of recommendation for your case.

The Role of DOL in NIW Applications

The EB-2 national interest waiver offers a tempting perk of being exempt from the permanent labor certification process. This procedure typically requires American employers to go through the United States Department of Labor (DOL) and prove that qualified U.S. workers are only available for a job once they can hire someone from another country.

By demonstrating that your contributions hold significant value and positively impact your field, you may be able to bypass traditional labor certification requirements through these waivers focused on national interest – saving both time and resources during your immigration process under the E.B. 2 category.

In the traditional procedure for employment-based immigration, obtaining labor certification is mandatory and involves satisfying specific requirements. This typically requires employers to advertise the job opening and test the availability of qualified workers in the labor market. This process can be waived under EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver).

This exception is based on the premise that their work will ultimately benefit the United States, thus justifying waiving this typical requirement of a license from the United States Department of Labor before being granted a green card via an E.B. two application.

The Impact of Your Professional Network

The importance of a solid professional network cannot be understated when it comes to successfully obtaining an EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW). One of the critical factors evaluated by the USCIS in an EB-2 NIW application is the evidence of your qualifications and achievements in your field of expertise.

Your professional network plays a vital role in this regard, as it can provide valuable testimonials, letters of recommendation, and evidence of collaborations and accomplishments. The USCIS assesses the impact and significance of your work by considering the opinions of experts and peers in your field.

Having 4 to 6 well-crafted and relevant letters of recommendation can effectively showcase your qualifications and demonstrate their potential impact in the U.S. These letters of recommendation should come from colleagues you have worked with and peers outside of these inner circles. Together, they provide a comprehensive picture of your expertise for immigration authorities considering granting an EB-2 visa.

Therefore, a strong network comprising respected professionals familiar with your work can be a powerful endorsement, enhancing your overall credibility and increasing your chances of success.

Additionally, a well-established professional network can provide you with access to invaluable resources and opportunities. It can open doors to collaborations, projects, and research initiatives that contribute to your field’s development and highlight your exceptional abilities.

By actively engaging with professionals in your industry, attending conferences, publishing research papers, and participating in relevant professional organizations, you strengthen your network and enhance your profile as a distinguished individual in your field of expertise.

Strategic Considerations for NIW

When obtaining a National Interest Waiver (NIW), self-petitioning can be an innovative and efficient route for foreign national professionals seeking permanent residency in the United States. However, the National Interest Waiver must approach the process with careful strategic considerations to maximize its chances of success.

First and foremost, a strong understanding of the NIW requirements and eligibility criteria is paramount. NIW self-petitioners must demonstrate that their work is in the national interest of the United States and that they possess exceptional ability in their field.

Additionally, compiling thorough and compelling supporting evidence is critical. This can include but is not limited to letters of recommendation, publications, citations, patents, conference presentations, and any other documentation that showcases the petitioner’s significant contributions and impact. The more robust and well-documented the evidence, the stronger the case for the NIW self-petitioner.

Another crucial strategic consideration is the presentation of the case. The self-petitioners must craft a persuasive and coherent argument that clearly articulates their contributions and why granting them a National Interest Waiver is in the best interest of the United States.

Furthermore, seeking the guidance and expertise of an experienced immigration attorney or law firm can significantly enhance the strategic planning process. A skilled lawyer can provide valuable insights and advice on navigating the complexities of the NIW self-petitioning process, ensuring that all requirements for successful NIW self-petition are met and the case is presented most robustly.

Navigating the Application Process

The application process for EB-2 NIW involves several steps, starting with submitting the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (I-140 form). This form is crucial in beginning your green card application under this category.

Once you have submitted your I-140 form, processing typically takes about 7 to 8 months. During this time, there may be a request for additional evidence or an interview as part of the decision-making process.

Filing the Immigrant Petition (I-140)

The initial step in your NIW application is completing the I-140 form. This document requires a thorough account of your qualifications and how they relate to the national interest.

It is crucial to include comprehensive details and all essential paperwork, such as academic transcripts, evidence of achievements, and endorsements from respected individuals within your field when submitting the I-140 form. You must provide accurate and complete information for a successful application process.

After Submission: What Happens Next?

After submitting your I-140 form, the waiting period begins. The processing time for NIW petitions can vary significantly from case to case. On average, it takes approximately 7-8 months for a decision to be made.

During this waiting period, you may receive requests for additional evidence or an invitation to attend an interview with USCIS officials who will assess whether your work truly serves the national interest of the United States. It is essential to prepare thoroughly for this interview as its outcome could significantly impact the success of your application.

The Timeline of Achieving NIW Approval

The time frame for obtaining approval for an EB-2 NIW green card can significantly vary, ranging from a few months to over two years. The processing duration of Form I-140, the application form for EB-2 NIW status, typically falls between 10.5 and 26.5 months, depending on factors such as the number of applications received by USCIS and the complexity of each case.

On average, it takes about three to nine months for USCIS to process NIW green card applications. This timeline may differ based on individual circumstances and other variables involved in the review process at immigration services offices across different locations nationwide.

Understanding these timelines is crucial in effectively planning and managing expectations while pursuing your goal of securing or simply applying for a National Interest Waiver towards acquiring U.S. citizenship through a Green Card program administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Visa bulletin for EB-2 NIW

The Visa Bulletin is a crucial resource for foreign nationals seeking employment-based immigration to the United States. In particular, the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) category is a popular choice for foreign workers with exceptional abilities or those whose work would significantly benefit the nation.

The Visa Bulletin provides updates on the availability of immigrant visas and plays a significant role in determining when individuals can apply for green cards. It is essential to stay up-to-date with the latest information in the Visa Bulletin.

The Visa Bulletin operates under a priority date system, which determines the backlog of applications for a specific category and country. It categorizes applicants into two groups: those with a visa number immediately available and those with a visa number available in a future month, creating a waiting period.

The Bulletin updates monthly, and the Department of State determines its contents based on visa availability and processing times. By understanding the current status for this category, professionals can make informed decisions regarding their immigration plans, such as deciding whether to file their I-140 petition or when to prepare supporting documents for adjustment of status.

Premium Processing Service: Is It Worth It?

Premium processing service is available for individuals applying for an EB-2 national interest waiver immigrant visa, which allows them to expedite the processing time in the priority date system. Your I-140 form will be processed within 45 days by paying an additional fee.

While choosing premium processing may speed up the application process, carefully weigh its benefits against the cost. The fee for premium processing in national interest waiver applications is separate from the regular I-140 form fee and can be driven from the USCIS fee calculator page.

It’s crucial to consider if a shorter timeline justifies this extra expense before opting for premium processing.

Understanding Premium Processing Fees

The premium processing option for your I-140 form can result in a quicker decision, but it is essential to know the associated fees. The cost for excellent processing with national interest waiver applications is about $2,805 and must be paid separately from the regular filing fee.

Various methods are available to pay this fee, including credit or debit cards using Form G-1450, cashier’s checks, personal checks, or money orders. It should be noted that choosing premium processing may come at a significant cost, and careful consideration should be taken before making this choice.

Impact of Changing Jobs During NIW Processing

Changing jobs during the National Interest Waiver (NIW) processing can significantly impact an applicant’s case. The NIW is a category of employment-based green card where an applicant demonstrates that their work is in the national interest of the United States. This process involves significant documentation, evidentiary support, and a lengthy review by immigration authorities.

When an applicant changes jobs during the NIW processing, it can create complexities and uncertainties. The USCIS evaluates applicants based on their qualifications and the potential national benefits they bring.

Changing jobs may require applicants to prove their continued eligibility, potentially leading to delays and additional documentation. This can be particularly challenging if the new job differs significantly from the original position described in the NIW petition.

One crucial factor in the national interest waiver process is the applicant’s ability to demonstrate that their work is of substantial national interest. Changing jobs can impact this requirement, as the USCIS may reassess whether the new position aligns with the national interest criteria.

Changing jobs while a National Interest Waiver (NIW) petition is being processed should not affect the status of your case as long as the new position meets National Interest Waiver requirements.

The petition will remain active, and USCIS will review evidence to determine if your advanced degree or exceptional ability aligns with national interest factors for an approved EB2-National Interest Waiver self-petitioned I-140.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and the United States Department of Labor carefully assess whether the new job satisfies the conditions outlined in labor certification processes, including those related to advanced degrees or exceptional abilities.

Legal Insights: Working with Immigration Attorneys

Having the guidance of an immigration attorney during the EB-2 National Interest Waiver process can offer valuable insights and aid in making well-informed decisions.

Their knowledge of past trends of approval and denial rates for this visa category can significantly increase your chances of success. You may schedule a consultation with an experienced National Interest Waiver lawyer to receive personalized assistance throughout the application process.

Working with a law firm allows you access to step-by-step support in obtaining a strong letter of recommendation. This professional advice can significantly strengthen your EB-2 National Interest Waiver petition and simplify the procedure.


The journey to an EB-2 National Interest Waiver might sound harsh, but you can do it with a good grasp of the rules, thoughtful planning, and a strong case. The perks of an EB-2 National Interest Waiver are huge, like the freedom to work without needing a boss or a labor certification, and it might even speed up the process. Think of it as an investment in your future, opening doors to fantastic career growth and personal fulfillment in the United States.

We’ve walked through the National Interest Waiver journey – from grasping the basics to handling the application process, eligibility, and possible hurdles. Getting a green card might sound scary, but you can make it happen with a carefully prepared case and guidance. Remember, your efforts could be the key to making your American Dream come true.

The National Interest Waiver is a great way for talented foreign professionals to get a green card in the U.S. based on their skills. What’s remarkable is that it allows folks like you to contribute to the country’s interests in your field and is flexible with requirements. By acknowledging exceptional skills, the National Interest Waiver promotes innovation, diversity, and growth in the U.S., helping those who get it and the whole nation.

How does this opportunity sound to you talented folks out there?

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