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Houston Immigration Lawyers > Blog > EB-2 Visa > Frequently Asked Questions about the National Interest Waiver Visa (EB-2 NIW)

Frequently Asked Questions about the National Interest Waiver Visa (EB-2 NIW)


The possibility of migrating to the United States professionally opens up a horizon full of opportunities but also uncertainties. One of the lesser-known but highly valuable pathways is the National Interest Waiver Visa (EB-2 NIW).

Have you ever wondered how certain professionals manage to move to the United States without the need for a specific job offer? Here we begin a journey towards understanding this migration option, clearing up your doubts and guiding you on a path to success.

But what makes this visa so special, and why should you consider it? Stay tuned, because the answer could change your professional future.

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

The EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) is a visa category that allows professionals with exceptional skills or a post-graduate degree to migrate to the United States without the need for a job offer, under the premise that their work significantly benefits the country. This benefit not only speeds up the immigration process but also provides unparalleled freedom to work on own projects or seek employers once in the country.

Requirements for the National Interest Waiver Visa

First, you must demonstrate that you qualify as EB-2 and then that you qualify for the national interest.

USCIS has published an in-depth policy manual regarding the EB-2 visa for individuals of exceptional ability or with an advanced degree, including a long section dedicated to the job offer national interest waiver and the three aspects that the petitioner must demonstrate.

Our EB-2 NIW lawyers at BBA Immigration have spent a lot of time dealing with the complexities of the NIW and have successfully assisted many individuals with their EB-2 NIW petitions, achieving a 97% approval rate for applications for this visa.

Frequently Asked Questions about the National Interest Waiver Visa

  1. Who qualifies for the EB-2 NIW Visa?

The National Interest Waiver (NIW) under the EB2 category is designated for foreigners who demonstrate that their work in the U.S. would significantly benefit the nation. To qualify, an applicant must first demonstrate that they meet the EB2 category criteria because they possess an advanced degree (such as a Master’s or Doctorate) or have “exceptional ability” in sciences, arts, or business.

Applicants must prove that their contributions to their field have substantial merit and national importance, and that they are in a good position to advance that effort forward, thus making the case that the U.S. would benefit more from their activities than through the traditional job offer and labor certification process. Therefore, an EB2 NIW allows individuals to self-petition and avoid the need for employer sponsorship and labor certification, leveraging their exceptional qualifications to advance U.S. national interests.

2. Do I need a job offer to apply?

No, one of the advantages of the EB-2 NIW is that it does not require a specific job offer or labor certification.

3. How long does the application process take?

The time can vary, but generally ranges from 6 to 12 months, depending on the workload of USCIS and the accuracy of your application.

4. Can I include my family in the application?

Yes, your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can be included in your application and are eligible to migrate with you.

5. What documents do I need to apply for EB-2?

You will need to demonstrate your exceptional ability or advanced degree, the impact of your work, and how it benefits the United States, among other personal and professional documents.

6. Is it necessary to have an immigration lawyer?

While not mandatory, it is highly recommended to have the assistance of a lawyer specialized in immigration to navigate the complex process and maximize the chances of success. Adriana Bello and Diego Bustillos would handle your case at BBA.

7. How can I demonstrate the national benefit of my work?

Through publications, letters of recommendation from experts in your field, awards, contracts, and any other document that evidences the impact and recognition of your work.

8. Can I work for any employer in the United States with an EB-2 NIW?

Yes, once in the United States, you can work for any employer or even start your own business.

9. What is the difference between EB-2 NIW and other work visas?

The main difference is the exemption from the requirement of a job offer and labor certification, offering greater flexibility for qualified professionals.

10. Can I apply for permanent residency (Green Card) if I have a National Interest Visa (EB-2 NIW)?

Yes, the EB-2 NIW is a pathway to permanent residency in the United States.

At BBA Immigration, we understand the complexity of the migration process and are committed to assisting you at every step towards success. Our experience is your best ally.

Tips to Enhance Your Application

  • Prepare solid documentation: A well-documented application is key. Include all proofs of your impact and exceptional ability.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Obtain letters from recognized professionals in your field who can testify about your work and its national impact.
  • Stay updated: Migration policies can change. Stay informed about any updates that may affect your application.

The EB-2 NIW Visa offers a unique opportunity for those whose work can make a significant difference in the United States. If you consider yourself among these professionals and are ready to take the next step in your career, contact us now. Together, we can clear the path to your success in the United States!

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