We stand with the women of Iran!​

EB-2 Vs. NIW: Difference Between an Eb2 Visa and Eb2 NIW(National Interest Waiver) Visa Petitions

Difference Between an Eb2 Visa and Eb2 NIW


The United States provides foreign nationals to apply for employment-based green cards. Employment Visa – second preference(EB-2) visa is one of such categories. You can also apply for an EB-2 NIW(National Interest Waiver) petition to waive certain requirements that are mandatory in a regular EB-2 visa. This article will explain the difference between an eb2 visa and eb2 NIW (national interest waiver) visa petitions.

What is an EB-2 Petition? 

An EB-2 visa is an employment-based second preference immigrant visa. It grants US permanent residency to aliens with US advanced degrees or its foreign equivalent or who can prove exceptional ability in science, arts, or business. 

What is an EB-2 NIW petition? 

The EB-2 visas require a job offer and labor certification. However, you can seek a waiver in these requirements by establishing that your job is in the national interest of the United States. You file an EB2 NIW petition if you are seeking a waiver. 

What are the difference between an eb2 visa and eb2 NIW(national interest waiver) visa petitions?


EB-2 Visa – To qualify for an EB-2 visa, you must satisfy one of the following requirements: 

  • You can apply for an EB-2 visa if you hold a US advanced degree or its foreign equivalent. The advanced degree means that it is beyond a baccalaureate degree. For instance – MBA or Ph.D. You can also fulfill this requirement if you have a US bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent and a minimum of 5 years of progressive experience in your field.
  • Or, you can apply for an EB-2 visa if you possess exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. You can prove exceptional ability by showing evidence that you have a degree of expertise that is significantly above the ordinary encountered in the sciences, arts, or business. 

You can apply in either of the categories. You also require a job offer and a labor certification if you apply for a regular EB-2 visa. Further, you must meet any other requirements specified on the labor certification

EB-2 NIW Visa – To obtain the benefit of the National Interest Waiver category, you have to meet the 3 National Interest Waiver conditions in addition to the requirements for an EB-2 visa. It is a three-pronged approach decided in the Matter of Dhanasar. 

  1. The proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance – The alien must first demonstrate that his or her intended endeavor is considered to have substantial merit and national importance. This can be demonstrated through crucial areas like business, education, healthcare, science, and technology. The immigration authorities will review each application separately, so you should not consider this requirement fulfilled if you are employed in the above areas. 
  2. You are well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor – If you have relevant skills and plan to advance the proposed endeavor, you are in a strong position to fulfill this condition. Well, position means that you have knowledge, experience, skills, and a plan to succeed in your proposed endeavor. 
  3. It would be beneficial to the United States to waive the job offer and the labor certification requirements. 
  4. The US immigration authorities will determine whether waiving the job offer requirement is beneficial to the United States, meaning, whether your skills can be used in important sectors. 

If you think that you have fulfilled EB-2 requirements along with three prong-approach conditions, you are good to apply for an EB-2 NIW visa. Ensure to consult an attorney if you doubt your eligibility for the visa to avoid any possible chances of rejection. 

Difference between an eb2 visa and eb2 NIW(national interest waiver) visa petitions

Sponsorship Requirement

Suppose you are applying on a regular EB-2 visa. In that case, you will require a US employer to sponsor your visa and file your I-140 petition. The US employer (petitioner) has to obtain a labor certificate before he files your I-140 petition. 

However, you do not require a US employer to file your EB-2 NIW petition. You are allowed to do a self-petition.

Job Offer

You require a job offer from a US employer if you are applying for a regular EB-2 visa. However, you are exempted from the requirement of a job offer from a US employer if you are considering filing an EB-2 NIW petition.

Labor Certification

Labor certification is required for a regular EB-2 petition. You must meet all the requirements specified on the labor certification. This requirement is exempted if you are applying for an EB-2 NIW petition. 

Approval Rate

To get your regular EB-2 petition approved, you either are a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent or a foreign national who has exceptional ability. Your EB-2 visa petition typically gets approved if you fulfill the conditions laid down by the USCIS. 

For an EB-2 NIW petition to get approved, you have to show that your case qualifies for National Interest Waiver. The burden to prove the three-prong test remains on you. You have to show that your admission to the United States will be of national interest. Once you have submitted your petition, the immigration officer will check your case on merits, and if you satisfy the EB-2 NIW requirements, you will be granted the visa. You do not require a job offer and labor certification. Generally, the EB-2 NIW petitions require higher standard to get approved than EB-2 petitions. You have to fulfill the additional conditions of the three pronged-approach outlined in the Matter of Dhanasar.


You should go for an EB-2 NIW category if you fulfill the basic requirements. If you are doubtful or need help filing your visa petition, you can contact Sethi and Mazaheri Law firm. Our experienced immigration attorneys are well trained to handle all sorts of matters and will help increase the approval rate of your visa petition. 

Let us work on your case

Or simply fill out the form and one of our attorneys will get back to you pretty shortly.

We're Here
To Assist You

Subscribe to Sethi & Mazaheri’s monthly newsletter and receive important immigration-related  updates.

Skip to content