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

The EB-2 is an employment-based visa for foreign nationals, which the USCIS sets requirements for.

The EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) enables foreign nationals to pursue US permanent residency (also known as a Green Card) without needing employer sponsorship, a job offer, or labor certification.

When analyzing eligibility for this National Interest Waiver green card, USCIS considers whether:

  • The proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance.
  • You are well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor.
  • On balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the job offer requirement and the labor certification requirement.

“National interest” is a broad concept, but it means that if the work or abilities of a foreign national are considered of strategic importance to the United States, they can be granted a National Interest Waiver, allowing them to get a Green Card to work in the US.

Why You Should Work With an EB2 NIW Lawyer

Applying for an EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) Green Card is time consuming and challenging, requiring expert knowledge of immigration policies and a thorough understanding of the specific requirements for NIW petitions, so having a specialized lawyer defining your strategy maximizes your chances of approval.

Immigration law knowledge and expertise: A lawyer with experience in EB2 NIW applications specializes in immigration and is well-versed in the National Interest Waiver’s intricacies. They stay up-to-date with immigration laws and regulations, ensuring your petition is in full compliance with the latest requirements. They can navigate the complexities of the NIW process, providing invaluable guidance throughout the application.

Case evaluation: A specialized lawyer assesses your case and determines your eligibility for the NIW Green Card category. They thoroughly evaluate your credentials, achievements, and contributions to the field of your proposed endeavor. They then advise you on the most appropriate strategy to present your case and demonstrate that your proposed endeavor is of national interest to the United States.

Assistance with documentation: A lawyer will guide you in gathering the necessary documentation to support your petition. This includes recommendation letters, publications, awards, premium processing forms and fees (if required), and evidence of your exceptional ability and contributions. They’ll ensure that all materials are organized and the proposed endeavor is presented in a compelling manner.

Developing a legal strategy: Each National Interest Waiver case is unique, and an experienced lawyer will develop a tailored legal strategy based on your specific qualifications and achievements. They know how to emphasize the significance of your work and how it benefits the United States (such as making significant contributions to the national economy or educational interests).

Communication with USCIS: A lawyer serves as your representative in all interactions with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They’ll communicate on your behalf, address any inquiries, and respond to USCIS requests during the petition process, which can be invaluable if you aren’t familiar with the US immigration system or if English isn’t your native language.

Choosing the Best Lawyers for EB2 NIW

When selecting an immigration lawyer to work with for your EB2 NIW application, consider the following factors:

Track record: Look for a lawyer with a proven track record of successful NIW petitions. An experienced attorney will have handled numerous cases, giving them valuable insights and strategies to handle your green card application.

Expertise: Ensure they specialize in EB-2 National Interest Waiver cases. Expertise in this category will indicate they have in-depth knowledge of the unique requirements and can address the complexities involved.

Reputation: Check the lawyer’s reputation and reviews from previous clients. Positive testimonials and feedback can be strong indicators of their reliability in handling National Interest Waiver petitions.

Responsiveness: Choose someone who communicates clearly and promptly. Effective communication is essential to keep you informed about your case’s progress and address any questions or concerns you may have.

Budget considerations: Discuss the lawyer’s fee structure during the initial consultation to ensure it aligns with your budget. Consider the potential benefits of  professional assistance against the cost of the attorney fee and other legal services.

A Lawyer's Role in the Petition Process

Initial consultation and case assessment

The process begins with an initial consultation; the lawyer will assess your credentials, achievements, and eligibility for the NIW category. They’ll provide insights into the application process and recommend the best approach to present your case.

Document preparation and review

Your lawyer will guide you in gathering the necessary evidence to support your petition (such as proof that you have exceptional ability and hold advanced degrees and any relevant official academic record), and how to describe your proposed endeavor as deserving of a national interest waiver. They’ll review all materials to ensure they’re complete, accurate, and meet USCIS requirements.

Guidance on recommendation letters, publications, and awards

A lawyer can advise you on obtaining recommendation letters from experts in your field and help highlight your publications, awards, and contributions to showcase your exceptional ability.

Presenting a compelling case

With their legal expertise, your lawyer will emphasize the national interest aspects of your work and how it benefits the United States, strengthening your case for the NIW green card.

Handling USCIS correspondence and requests for evidence

Your lawyer will serve as the point of contact with the USCIS and handle all communications on your behalf. In the case of Requests for Evidence (RFEs), they will respond promptly and thoroughly.

Timelines and expectations for the process

Your lawyer will guide you through the timeline and expectations for the petition process, keeping you informed about key milestones and possible outcomes.

How Global Citizen Solutions Can Help

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. Our multilingual team has extensive experience in US Visas and a track record of successful applications. We guide 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 transparent pricing covers all the processes from start to finish, with no hidden costs.
  • 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 visa. 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 Hiring an EB-2 NIW Visa Lawyer

Can an EB2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) lawyer assist with the adjustment of status or consular processing?

Yes, a lawyer can help you navigate the adjustment of status or consular processing after the National Interest Waiver approval to obtain lawful permanent residency, also known as a Green Card.

What is the EB2 NIW denial rate?

With a success rate of 88.8 percent, according to the most recent available data, the EB2 NIW denial rate is currently about 11 percent. Foreign nationals who want to apply for EB2 NIW Green Card can minimize their chances of denial by working with an attorney.

What happens if my NIW petition is denied?

Your lawyer can help explore options for submitting a request to the administrative appeals office, or suggest alternative visa pathways that may be suitable for your qualifications and goals. They can guide you in addressing the reasons for the denial and strengthening your case for future applications.

What are the requirements for the NIW green card?

To be eligible for the NIW Green Card, you must have extraordinary ability and demonstrate that your proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance. You can do so through self-petition, without going through the PERM labor certification process (which can involve tasks such as demonstrating to the Department of Labor that there is a shortage of US workers in the labor market for your occupation), or have a job offer from an employer.

Do I need a job offer to apply for the EB-2 NIW?

No. These National Interest Waivers exempt an applicant  from the labor certification process usually involved in employing a foreign national in the United States. You won’t have to worry about labor certification requirements when applying for the NIW Green Card.

You must demonstrate exceptional ability and that your proposed endeavor has significant merit and is important to the United States. You also need to show that, as a foreign national, you are the right person for the National Interest Waiver, being well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor in the US.

Can a lawyer help me meet the requirement that the foreign national's proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance?

A lawyer can help you to compile and provide evidence that the work that you intend to do in the US has both substantial merit and national importance.

This could include advising you on and providing feedback on a business plan; letters of interest from clients, customers, and/or partners; and providing information about details of investments or grants.

Can I qualify for the EB-2 Visa National Waiver with a bachelor's degree?

It is possible to qualify for the EB-2 National Interest Waiver if you have a bachelor’s degree and no advanced degree, but you must convince the USCIS that you have exceptional ability, on balance, it would be beneficial to waive the job offer and labor certification requirement.