EB-2 Green Card

. . . with "National Interest Waiver"

EB-2 Green Card

. . . with "National Interest Waiver"

The EB2 category for green card applications is highly favored by many applicants because—in some instances—those applicants can apply for the green card without the need of sponsorship from an employer.  This is called a “self-petition.”  Green card applicants who self-petition do not need a job offer in the US.  However, in order to be able to self-petition, the applicant must qualify for a “National Interest Waiver.” 


EB2 Green Card

No.  “EB2” simply refers to the applicant category.  The resultant green card is the same as other green cards.

There are two alternative methods for qualifying for an EB2 green card:  have a relevant advanced degree or an exceptional ability.

  • Advanced degree. You may be eligible for an EB2 green card visa if you meet all three of the following criteria:
    1. You are a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent.
    2. The job you apply for must require an advanced degree
    3. You possess such a degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in the field).
  • Exceptional ability.  You must be able to demonstrate both of the following:
    1. You have exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business
    2. In the future that exceptional ability will substantially benefit the U.S. economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare.

No, not every individual with an advanced degree will qualify.  EB2 applicants must demonstrate that their occupation is a profession.  The term “profession” is defined as any occupation for which a U.S. baccalaureate degree or its foreign equivalent is the minimum requirement for entry into the occupation.  “Professional” occupations include (but are not limited to) architects, engineers, lawyers, physicians, surgeons, and teachers in elementary or secondary schools, colleges, academics, or seminaries

Exceptional ability means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.  EB2 applicants who claim to have Exceptional Ability must meet three out of the following seven criteria:

  • Official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to your area of exceptional ability
  • Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation
  • A license to practice your profession or certification for your profession or occupation
  • Evidence that you have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability
  • Membership in a professional association(s)
  • Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations
  • Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable.

Entrepreneurs should discuss which element (ie, national economy, cultural or educational interest, or welfare of the United States) their entrepreneurial enterprise is claimed to benefit.  For example, the educational interests of the United States may be met by an entrepreneurial enterprise that establishes tutoring instruction learning centers throughout the United States.

As another example, the entrepreneur could demonstrate that at least one aspect of the welfare of the United States will be “substantially” better off were the entrepreneurial enterprise to be located in the United States.  It should be noted that the term “welfare” as used by the statute is a broad concept and could refer to any number of areas. 

USCIS offers premium processing for EB2 green cards.  This expedited processing can reduce the processing time to 15 days.  However, if USCIS requests additional evidentiary documentation, the process can be extended by an additional 15 days after receipt of the requested documents.  Afterwards EB2 green card applicants who are overseas will then schedule an interview at their US consulate.

National Interest Waiver

The national interest waiver authorizes EB2 green card applicants to self-petition (ie, apply on their own behalf for the green card, rather than needing the sponsorship of an employer).  EB2 green card applicants who qualify for the national interest waiver file their labor certification directly with USCIS. 

National interest waivers are usually granted to those EB2 green card applicants who have exceptional ability and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the nation.  Applicants who otherwise qualify for EB2 classification may obtain a national interest waiver if they demonstrate all three of the following criteria:

  1. Their proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance
  2. They are well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor
  3. On balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer and thus of a labor certification.

Examples of work activities that greatly benefit the nation include the following:

  • Improving the US economy
  • Improving the public health or healthcare
  • Improving wages and working conditions of US workers
  • Improving educational and training programs in underserved areas
  • Increasing affordable housing opportunities
  • Improving the environment and use of natural resources
  • Specific request from a US government agency

Yes.  Entrepreneurs must first demonstrate that they either belong to the professions with holding an advanced degree or have an exceptional ability.

No.  Entrepreneurs do not need to have an actual job offer from a US employer if they qualify for a national interest waiver.  Those entrepreneurs may apply for the EB2 green card on their own behalf without sponsorship from an employer

Yes.  In fact, there is a national interest waiver (NIW) specifically for doctors who meet the following criteria:

  • The physician must agree to work full-time in a clinical practice. For most physician NIW cases, the required period of service is 5 years.
  • The physician must work in a primary care (such as a general practitioner, family practice, general internist, pediatrician, obstetrician/gynecologist, or psychiatrist) or be a specialty physician.
  • Applicants must serve either in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), Mental Health Professional Area (MHPSA – for psychiatrists only), a Medically Underserved Area (MUA), or a Veterans Affairs facility, or for specialists in a Physician Scarcity Area (PSA).
  • Applicants must obtain a statement from a federal agency or a state department of health that has knowledge of their qualifications as a physician and that states their work is in the public interest. (This statement is known as an attestation.)



During the EB2/NIW VISA CONSULTATION you will be explained the requirements, processing time and governmental fees involved in EB2/NIW visa applications. 

You will also receive feedback on factors of your case that may weaken or strengthen your EB2/NIW visa application.

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