EB-2 National Interest Waiver

The EB-2 National Interest Waiver (EB-2 NIW) petition is an application for eligibility to apply for an employment-based green card and permanent residence within the United States.
The EB-2 National Interest Waiver was created and intended as an exemption to the more common employment-based, employer-sponsored petitions that require a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor, which can take anywhere from approximately 8 months to over 18 months. The EB-2 NIW petition allows a qualified individual to bypass the labor certification process, thereby providing a significantly quicker process for obtaining a green card and permanent residence

EB-2 National Interest Waiver


To qualify for the EB-2 green card category, the foreign national must meet at least one of the following:

  • Advanced degree or equivalent in his/her intended field of employment 
  • Exceptional ability in his/her intended field of employment

An advanced degree is generally understood to be a doctoral (Ph.D.) or master’s degree.

In order to show exceptional ability, the foreign national must meet at least 3 of the 7 criteria below:

  • University degree, diploma, or certificate in a field related to the stated field of exceptional ability
  • At least 10 years of full-time experience in the stated field
  • License or certification to practice in the stated field
  • Membership in a professional association related to the stated field
  • Salary or other remuneration that reflects exceptional ability in the stated field
  • Recognition for achievements or other significant contributions to the industry or stated field 
  • Other comparable evidence of eligibility

To qualify for a national interest waiver, the foreign national must meet each of the following three requirements:

  • His/her proposed endeavor in the field of stated exceptional ability has substantial merit and national importance
  • He/she must be in a position to advanced the proposed endeavor
  • The United States would, on balance, benefit from waiving the requirement of a job offer for the foreign national
  • Substantial merit and national importance can refer to a field that is traditionally considered of high importance or has significant implications for future scientific or economic advancement.  This could include industry-wide impacts, key innovations, spillover to other industries, etc.
  • Position to advance the proposed endeavor can refer to the foreign national’s educational background, experience, relevant skills, or record of success in the stated field.  It can help to have a detailed plan for present and future success as well.
  • Benefit from waiving the requirement of a job offer can refer to the impracticality of requiring a job offer or an urgent need for the foreign national’s contributions, among other potential benefits.



On average, it takes 8 – 16 weeks for Bay Immigration Law to prepare an EB-2 NIW case to file with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Depending on the particulars of your background and situation and your near and long-term intentions, the process is generally as follows:


We have an introductory phone call and go over your plans, requirements, and the documentation/ information that will be necessary to proceed.

We send out an Engagement Letter establishing the Attorney-Client Privileged relationship, and outlining the legal and government costs for the preparation and filing of the case.

Once the Engagement Letter has been returned to us, we will make a formal request for documentation and information to begin preparation of the case.


We will work with you to frame the ways that you meet the specific criteria to this petition category, including pursuing testimonials and other potential evidence of your accomplishments and recognition you have received for them.


We will prepare your forms, letter of support, and evidence to create a complete case packet to be submitted to USCIS. Once everything is complete, we finalize the case packet and ship it to USCIS for processing.


125 University Avenue, Suite 185, Palo Alto, CA, USA, 94301
+1 (650) 739-9111


Can I file an EB-2 NIW petition as a self-petitioner?

Yes, one of the main advantages of the EB-2 NIW petition category is that you do not need an employer to sponsor your petition.

Do I need to have a current job in order to file an EB-2 NIW petition?

You do not need to be currently employed to file an EB-2 NIW petition, though being employed in your field of stated exceptional ability helps with showing that you are in a “position to advance the proposed endeavor.”

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