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EB-2 Visa Categories: A Brief Overview 

National Interest Waivers (NIW) pave the way for U.S. lawful permanent residency through an EB-2 green card, allowing individuals to contribute to U.S. society without requiring employer sponsorship or labor certification. The EB-2 visa category encompasses three subcategories: EB-2A for advanced degree holders, EB-2B for those with exceptional abilities, and EB-2C for National Interest Waiver applicants.  

NIW vs. Traditional Routes: Easing the Green Card Process 

To qualify for EB-2A and EB-2B, applicants must secure an approved PERM Labor Certificate, a process involving extensive paperwork and potential delays. However, EB-2C, or NIW, eliminates the need for labor certification. NIW applicants must demonstrate that their work significantly benefits the United States, making them eligible to self-petition for their green card without employer sponsorship. 

Compared to EB-1 visas, which require extraordinary ability, NIW applicants do not need to meet such high standards. Instead, they must show their vital role and contributions to their field. Unlike PERM, which focuses on individual positions, NIW benefits extend to broader societal impacts, allowing applicants to bypass the labor certification requirement.  

The NIW Application Journey: From Form I-140 to Green Card: 

To apply for NIW, individuals must file Form I-140 either through self-petition or with employer sponsorship. The approval of Form I-140 marks the beginning of the green card process, enabling applicants to adjust their status to permanent residency. 

Meeting NIW Eligibility: The Essentials Simplified: 

NIW eligibility hinges on demonstrating national importance in the applicant’s work, the ability to execute their plan, and the overall benefit to the United States, justifying the waiver of a labor certificate requirement. An advanced degree or equivalent experience is necessary, with additional supporting documents reinforcing the applicant’s expertise.  

Work qualifying for NIW must contribute to societal advancements, encompassing various sectors such as the economy, education, public health, government, or the environment. While expertise is crucial, practical applications on a national scale are essential. The applicant must play a pivotal role in advancing their proposed work, and the work itself must have be of national benefit to the U.S. 

NIW Processing: What to Expect and Recent Changes: 

NIW processing time ranges from three to nine months, with potential delays if further documentation is requested. Recent changes, such as the Dhanasar ruling, which made the framework for decisions on NIW petitions more reliable, and the availability of premium processing, have made the NIW process more appealing and helpful to qualified applicants.  

NIW Document Checklist: Making the Application Hassle-Free: 

The NIW application necessitates a comprehensive document checklist, including Form I-140, evidence of an advanced degree or exceptional ability, letters of recommendation, recognition, achievements, expertise proof, affidavits from field experts, résumé, and other supporting evidence meeting EB-2 requirements. The USCIS filing fees for the entire process, including Form I-140 and Form I-485, range from $700 for the I-140 and $1,255 for the I-485, without premium processing.  Additional U.S. government fees may apply depending on the applicant’s specific circumstances. 

Facing Challenges: NIW Denials and Legal Support: 

In case of NIW denial, applicants can seek guidance from their NIW lawyer to explore options like case reopening or appeals. It’s essential to consult with legal experts to navigate the intricate NIW application process effectively. 

If you have any questions or need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us for a consultation. Our dedicated team is here to support you through the application process and address any concerns you may have.