We have successfully applied for US green card under category EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW). We would like to share all useful information which we have learned when going through this process and help other people to prepare their self petition even without a lawyer.
You can buy our NIW DIY Kit with sample petition, including all necessary documents (cover letter, reference letters, evidence etc.), free bonuses (ready-to-use templates) and start guide (steps to follow, notes to DIY kit), see details here.
Advantages of National Interest Waiver category
- possible without permanent job offer from U.S. employer – self petition
- very fast process (usually months, sometimes even weeks) – NIW waives lengthy Labor Certification
- EB2 NIW green card is not tied to one employer and change of the job is possible (still need to have a job in the “national interest” area)
EB-2 NIW green card not only for scientists and PhDs
Eligibility for National Interest Waiver (NIW) category is given by satisfying ONE of two statutory requirements:
- Advanced Degree Professional (master’s degree or above) – very popular by postdocs, scientists, researchers or even PhD students
- Exceptional Ability – thanks to these criteria also non highly educated people such as entrepreneurs, artists etc. can qualify
However, this is only basic minimum requirement and doesn’t guarantee successful approval of EB2 NIW petition. Read posts in eligibility category.
We collected records about successful NIW cases to give an idea about sufficient credentials of applicants. More in credentials and cases.
National Interest Waiver requirements
Except minimum requirements mentioned above, EB2 NIW applicants must provide evidence that it is in national interest to grant them Permanent Residency in USA. According to precedent NYSDOT case all 3 following criteria must be satisfied:
- The beneficiary must seek to work in an area of substantial intrinsic merit.
- The beneficiary’s work must have a benefit which will be national in scope.
- The beneficiary must serve the national interest to a substantially greater degree than would an available U.S. worker having the same minimum qualifications. The national interest would be adversely affected if a labor certification were required for the beneficiary.
Well, this doesn’t say much about how to prove national interest. In NIW requirements posts we describe more in detail each rule and what may be considered as national interest. We learn from previous cases and precedent NYSDOT case. This is most important part of EB2 NIW petition.
Petition for EB2 NIW case
Petition for National Interest Waiver usually consists of:
- petition letter (cover letter)
- recommendation letters (reference letters)
- evidence – publications, list of citations etc.
- required forms
We published samples of NIW reference and cover letter as well as tips how to build successful petition, what evidence to include in EB2 NIW petition and how to avoid common mistakes. Read more in category NIW petition.
Green card process
NIW green card application process requires filing forms in two stages:
We have considered to file both steps concurrently and reap the benefits of faster process. This would allow us to apply immediately for work (EAD) and travel authorization (Advance Parole).
Finally we filed both stages separately. In case I-140 is denied we would save thousands of dollars paid for second stage (I-485).
EB2 NIW application procedure is described in green card process category.