What is the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) Visa?

The EB-2 National Interest Waiver Visa is an immigrant visa that provides one of the quickest pathways to permanent residency (or a Green Card) in the United States for foreign nationals. This is because it can be beneficial to the United States to waive the job offer and labor certification requirements of an EB-2 Visa in order to attract individuals who have exceptional ability.

As such, the EB-2 National Interest Waiver Visa is suitable for applicants whose proposed endeavor is of national interest to the United States. In short, this means that it is ideal for applicants who have an advanced degree or exceptional ability.

In this article, we will examine the benefits of the EB-2 National Interest Waiver Visa and the processes involved in obtaining one for Indian nationals.

What are the benefits of the EB-2 National Interest Waiver Visa?

remote-working-in-portugal-pngNo need for a job offer or labor certification: Unlike many employment based green cards, the EB-2 National Interest Waiver visa doesn’t require you to demonstrate that you have a job offer in the United States or provide labor certification from a sponsor. Instead, you can file the immigrant petition yourself.

Short process: In comparison with other visas and employment based green cards, the process of obtaining an EB-2 National Interest Waiver Visa is relatively short, largely because there is no need for labor certification from the Department of Labor. The opportunity to self petition saves a great deal of time.

It is worth noting, however, that while there is no need for a job offer or labor certification, there is a backlog of EB-2 Visa applications in both India and China, which will affect processing times for Indian nationals applying for this visa.

What are the EB-2 National Interest Waiver requirements for Indian nationals?

There are no specific requirements for EB-2 National Interest Waiver Visa applications from India. Instead, Indian nationals must meet the general eligibility requirements, which are: 

You must be eligible for the EB-2 immigrant category

To be eligible, you must be either an advanced degree professional or an individual with exceptional ability.

The requirements to qualify as an advanced degree professional are that you must demonstrate that the field you intend to work in requires an advanced degree, and you must either have an advanced degree (any degree above a bachelor’s degree or a foreign equivalent degree) or a bachelor’s degree as well as five years of work experience in the field that you intend to work in (in this case, you should include letters of recommendation from current or former employers to confirm that you have at least five years of progressive work experience).

To be eligible as an individual with exceptional ability, you have to meet at least three of these requirements:

  • A degree in the field you intend to work in
  • A license to work in that field
  • Ten years of experience in the field
  • Salary or remuneration that is reflective of your exceptional ability
  • Recognition of significant contributions and achievements to your field from peers, professional or business organizations, or government entities
  • Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable

Your proposed endeavor in the US must have substantial merit and national importance

To be eligible for the National Interest Waiver, you must also demonstrate that your proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance.

What is substantial merit?

In order to meet the substantial merit requirement, the field that you plan to work in while in the United States must be valuable to the country’s national interest. This means that when you are providing evidence to support your application, you should focus on the specifics of your proposed endeavor and the impact that it will have within the country in any field in order to demonstrate why the US ought to waive the job offer and labor certification requirements.

What is national importance?

In terms of providing evidence for the national importance of your proposed endeavor, you should focus on the potential national or even international impact that it could have. Additionally, it is also advisable to demonstrate that it has the potential to create jobs for US workers or have other substantial positive economic effects.

You must be well positioned to advance your proposed endeavor

To meet the national interest waiver requirements, you are also required to demonstrate that you are well positioned to advance your proposed endeavor. With this in mind, you should try to prove to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that you have the ability to make an impact on the national interest with the work you intend to do in the United States.

In order to meet this requirement, you need to provide evidence that you are more likely than not to succeed in your endeavor, and you should focus on how you are qualified to do so. This means you should focus on factors such as:

  • Your education (provide an official academic record showing your qualifications)
  • Your knowledge
  • Your skills
  • Your record of success in similar or related projects
  • Your plans for your proposed endeavor
  • Any progress you have already made in working toward your proposed endeavor
  • Interest from any potential clients and investors

Scientific research: If you are engaged in groundbreaking scientific research that contributes to advancements in areas such as medicine, renewable energy, or environmental conservation, your work could qualify for an NIW.

Economic impact: If your work has a direct positive impact on the US economy, such as creating jobs, promoting innovation, or attracting foreign investment, it may meet the NIW criteria.

National security: If your work is related to national security and helps protect the United States from potential threats, such as developing advanced cybersecurity systems or contributing to defense technology, it could qualify for an NIW.

Healthcare: If your work is in the healthcare field and addresses critical healthcare needs, such as developing new treatments or medical devices, improving healthcare delivery systems, or conducting research in public health, it may meet the NIW requirements.

Cultural or artistic contributions: If your work involves significant contributions to the cultural or artistic landscape of the United States, such as renowned artists, musicians, or performers, and it enhances the nation’s cultural heritage, it may qualify for an NIW.

EB-2 NIW Document Checklist

When preparing your EB-2 NIW petition, it is essential to include all the necessary supporting documents. While the specific requirements may vary depending on your case, here is a general document checklist: 

  • An official academic record showing proof of degrees, certificates, or licenses 
  • Publications, research papers, or patents 
  • Letters of recommendation from experts in your field 
  • Evidence of professional achievements and awards 
  • Documentation showcasing the national interest aspect of your work 
  • Professional plan or business plan 

EB-2 NIW Visa Application Process

Prepare your application, gathering evidence to demonstrate your qualifications, such as academic degrees, awards, publications, letters of recommendation, and any other relevant documentation.

Write a personal statement explaining how your work benefits the US national interest and why you qualify for the NIW.

Complete the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140) and submit it to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), together with the supporting documents.

Once USCIS approves your Form I-140 petition, you will receive a Notice of Approval. This indicates that your petition has been accepted.

Now there are two options: if you are already in the US with some valid non-immigrant status, apply for an adjustment of status (Form I-485). If you are abroad, apply for your green card at a consulate or embassy (Form DS-260).

Attend your green card interview and provide biometric information, such as fingerprints and photographs.

Once your application is approved, you will receive your green card, officially known as the Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551).

Why Work with Global Citizen Solutions for Your EB-2 NIW Application?

If you think the EB-2 NIW may be the right option for you, or if you’d like to know more about other US visa options, don’t hesitate to contact us and book a complimentary 30-minute call with one of our experts. 

Global Citizen Solutions is a boutique investment migration consultancy firm focused on finding the right residency or citizenship by investment program for individuals wishing to secure their future and become global citizens. 

With offices in Portugal, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Brazil, our multilingual team guides individuals and families from start to finish, providing expert advice considering freedom, mobility, taxation, and security. 

  • We have helped hundreds of clients from 35+ countries in all the top Residency by Investment and Citizenship by Investment programs. 
  • With an in-depth and comprehensive understanding of the area, we provide our clients with solid guidance. 
  • We have a team of immigration lawyers and immigration advisers specialized in US immigration. 
  • Our team has never had a case rejected. Our 100 percent approval rate sets us apart from our competitors and guarantees that you can expect a successful application. 
  • Our transparent pricing covers all the processes from opening your bank account, document certification, and legal due diligence to investment and submission. 
  • As there is one fee for the entire process, you can be confident that you will not face any hidden costs later. 
  • All data is stored within a GDPR-compliant database on a secure SSL-encrypted server. You can be safe knowing that your personal data is treated with the utmost security. 
  • Global Citizen Solutions provides an all-encompassing solution. Our support can continue even after you receive your passport. 
  • We offer additional services such as company incorporation, Trusts, and Foundations formation. 
  • The BeGlobal Onboarding System® allows you to access the status of your application every step of the way, something that sets us apart from our competitors.

Frequently Asked Questions About the National Interest Waiver Visa

What is the National Interest Waiver program?

The EB-2 National Interest Waiver Visa is an immigrant visa that provides one of the quickest pathways to permanent residency (or a Green Card) in the United States for foreign nationals.

What are the benefits of the National Interest Waiver program?

If you are successful with your National Interest Waiver application, you will be granted permanent residence (and receive Green Card) for the United States. Additionally, you do not need a job offer in order to apply.

What are the requirements for the National Interest Waiver program?

The USCIS states that a foreign national’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance, he or she is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor, and on balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the job offer and labor certification requirements.

Do the National Interest Waiver requirements differ for an Indian national to those of another foreign national?

No, the requirements for a National Interest Waiver are the same for Indian nationals as for all foreign nationals.