National Interest Waiver (NIW) – EB-2 Visa

An EB-2 visa is for those who wish to live and work in Los Angeles (or elsewhere in the United States) and who have obtained an advanced degree, as well as have acquired a minimum of five years of “progressive experience in the specialty.” The following explores the requirements of an EB-2 visa, as well as how a National Interest Waiver (NIW) relinquishes an applicant from the labor certification and employer-sponsored requirements.

Employment-Based Immigration: Second Preference EB-2

According to the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS), an individual may be eligible for an EB-2 visa if they:

  • Are a professional who holds an advanced degree or equivalent; or
  • Are a foreign national with exceptional ability.

There are three subcategories of the second preference EB-2 visa, outlined below:

  • Advanced degree. As stated above, an individual may be eligible for an EB-2 visa if they are applying for a job in the United States that requires an advanced degree, and said individual possesses such advanced degree. In addition to the possession of an advanced degree, the individual is also required to have no less than five years’ work experience in the field related to their degree.
  • Exceptional ability. A person who does not have an advanced degree and five years’ experience may still be able to obtain an EB-2 visa if they are of ‘exceptional ability’ in a specific field, and meet at least three of the following criteria:
  • Record of degree, certificate, diploma, or comparable documentation from a legitimate institution that offers proof of exceptional ability;
  • Proof of at least 10 years’ experience in the applicant’s occupation;
  • Proof of membership in professional associations;
  • Proof of recognition of exceptional achievement;
  • Proof of license or certification for profession/occupation; and
  • Other evidence that is relevant.

It should also be noted that in addition to the above, EB-2 visa petitions must be accompanied by an approved U.S. Department of Labor labor certification. Further, an EB-2 visa petition will not be approved unless it is filed by the beneficiary’s (the person seeking entrance into the United States) U.S.-based employer.

  • National Interest Waiver. The third subcategory for the EB-2 visa is the national interest waiver. This waiver allows for the labor requirement explained above to be waived under the claim that doing so is within the best interests of the United States.

How to Apply and Qualify for a National Interest Waiver

In order to have the labor certification requirement waived, you must prove that the waiver is within the best interests of the nation. In order to qualify for the waiver, you must meet the following requirements, as outlined by the Official Website of the Department of Homeland Security:

  1. Show that you plan on working in the U.S. in an area of ‘substantial intrinsic merit’;
  2. Show that the work that you plan on performing is of national interest and will have a national impact;
  3. Show that waiving the labor certification requirement would indeed benefit national interests.

If you believe that an EB-2 visa with a NIW exception is right for you, you may file your USCIS Form I-140 on your own, without an employer sponsor. Because you do not need an employer to sponsor you, you can file your petition directly, as well as your labor certification. In addition to the criteria listed directly above, you must also meet at least three of the criteria described in the subsection directly below the exceptional ability subcategory.

If you have family members who wish to travel to the United States with you, your spouse and children (under 21 years of age) may seek E-21 (for spouses) and E-22 (for children) immigrant status.

How an Experienced Los Angeles Immigration Attorney Can Help

Thousands of foreign nationals attempt to enter the United States every year, and USCIS is responsible for processing these applications. To reduce the risk of unnecessary delays or complications, and to ensure that your application is filled out accurately and completely the first time, you should consider working with an experienced Los Angeles lawyer. The Southern California immigration attorneys at the Law Offices of Joshua L. Goldstein, P.C. have helped countless foreign nationals lawfully immigrate to the United States to pursue important work or research.

If you believe that the EB-2 Visa with a National Interest Waiver classification is appropriate for you, our attorneys can help. Contact our Los Angeles office today for a consultation with an experiences immigration attorney.