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NIW: Complete Guide to the EB-2/NIW

NIW: Complete Guide to the EB-2/NIW


The Employment-Based second preference immigrant visa or the EB-2 immigrant visa is categorized into three types, namely, a holder of an advanced degree (EB-2A), a person with exceptional ability (EB-2B), or a person with a National Interest Waiver (EB-2C). The NIW or National Interest Waiver or EB-2C type of immigrant visa is a type of visa where foreign nationals request the waiver of requirements such as the offer of employment and labor certification in the employment-based immigration process. The jobs that qualify for this category are not defined by statute but are usually granted to applicants whose employment would greatly benefit the US. This is because the immigration of such foreign nationals would significantly contribute to the US’s national interest and the economy.

It is pertinent to note here that only after satisfying the second preference employment-based immigrant visa threshold can a person be considered for NIW.

Why an EB-2C Immigrant Visa?

  • There is no requirement for labor certification or a job offer
  • There is no evidence required to prove a permanent job position.
  • You can file the petition yourself.

Factors affecting the admission of an NIW:

  • Whether the applicant can improve the US economy
  • Whether or not the applicant contribute to the wages and working environment of the US workers
  • The environmental impact of the applicant in the US.
  • The interest of any US government agency in such an applicant.
  • Impact of the applicant on the citizens and the society of the US.

Eligibility of the Applicant of an EB-2C Immigrant Visa:

  • It is not defined specifically as to what will constitute national interest and the exact eligibility for applying for such a visa. The eligibility of the applicant is judged on the merits of his/her case.
  • National Interest for NIW had been defined in the Matter of Dhanasar. It established a three-pronged test to evaluate if the waiver is in the nation’s interest. As per the requirement, the proposal of the foreign national should have not only substantial merit but also national importance. It must be established that the applicant is more than capable of reaping the proposed results, and the national interest is supposed to be adversely affected if a job offer or a labor certification is required.

Process and Evidence Required for the EB-2C Immigrant Visa:

Applicants may file their labor certification directly with USCIS attached with Form I-140, i.e., Petition for Alien Worker, along with the petition materials such as petition letter, recommendation letters, and other documents discussed hereinafter.

Evidence to be produced to prove eligibility in this category are as follows:

  • Evidence of Advanced Degree or Exceptional Ability.
  • A proposed endeavor that has both substantial merit and national importance.
  • Evidence to prove that you are well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor.
  • It is beneficial in the interest of the nation to waive the requirements of a job offer.
  • Recommendation letter (USCIS has not indicated any particular number, but three to seven recommendation letters are considered desirable)

Other evidence that can create a strong case for you are:

  • Membership in the applicant’s field of expertise requires exceptional achievements.
  • Evidence of Government Funding or Grants demonstrating your involvement in the applicant’s field of expertise.
  • Patent records or other similar evidence such as license or technology transfers to prove the implementation of ideas of the applicant.
  • Evidence to prove that the work of the applicant has been acknowledged and relied upon by outside researchers or institutions

Labor certification, in this case, is not required before the filing of form I-140. The time for processing an I-140 petition depends on the types of processing where the regular processing ($700) takes around six to nine months. In contrast, premium processing (currently $2500, and as of Feb 26, 2024, $2805) takes fifteen days. Also, note that rejection of the I-140 petition can be appealed in the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) of the USCIS.

The fee for the following forms is as follows:

  1. $700 for filing of I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker)
  2. $1140 for filing of I-485 and $85 for extracting biometrics (if applicable).
  3. There is no fee required to file ETA Form 9089.

The fee may vary depending on your filing category and age. You can check the costs at www.uscis.gov/feecalculator.

Dos and Don’ts

Careful planning can go a long way in increasing the chances of getting an NIW approved. There is a need to:

  • Write about all the accomplishments related to the field of your expertise concerning education, skills, and experience.
  • Make creative and concrete arguments about intrinsic merit and national scope.
  • Mention the achievements that cannot be put on the labor certification application.
  • Ensure to document everything, including reference studies and related statistical data.
  • Clearly write about your impact on the field of your choice and how you can act as an
  • Asset for the US.
  • Also, ensure to put forward evidence to support the utility of the field of your choice.
  • Be innovative and use the elimination method to eliminate all sources of errors from your application.

However, at the same time, it needs to be ensured that the application remains subtle and appeals to the rationale of the decision-makers. Hence, you need not:

  • Overwhelm USCIS with too many reference letters.
  • Submit reference or cover letters with unsupported documentation
  • Focus on the position on which the petitioner will work.
  • Make a case out of the argument that the petitioner should qualify for an NIW because of
  • the US’s shortage of labor in the field.
  • Cite unreliable sources like Wikipedia.
  • Exaggerate or misrepresent the evidence.


That is it for NIW. Suppose you still have any queries related to NIW, or you need help in your visa case. In that case, you can contact Sethi and Mazaheri law firm, and our experienced immigration attorneys will assist you in the best possible way. 

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