EB2 NIW requirements

Obtaining a green card to live and work in the United States is a goal for many people worldwide. One pathway for eligible individuals is the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) program, which allows professionals with exceptional ability and skills to apply for permanent residency without employer sponsorship.

Now, let’s dive into the requirements, standards of evidence, and criteria for EB-2 NIW, as well as how our immigration attorneys at Leon Law Firm can help you navigate the application process.

If you are a foreign national with exceptional abilities in your proposed endeavor, it would be our honor to represent you during the application process.

Green Card: EB-2 National Interest Waivers (NIW)

Green card

The EB-2 NIW program is a subcategory of the EB-2 visa program. It is reserved for professionals with advanced degrees or those who can show that their science, business, or artistic talents are exceptional.

The EB-2 NIW program waives employer sponsorship and labor certification requirements, allowing eligible individuals to self-petition for a green card based on their own qualifications and merits. The program is designed to attract and retain highly skilled professionals who can contribute to the national interests of the United States.

Qualifications for EB2 NIW

To qualify for an EB-2 NIW green card, an applicant must meet the following qualifications:



One of the qualifications for EB-2 NIW is possessing at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in the field of the applicant’s exceptional ability. However, having a degree is optional if the applicant can demonstrate an equivalent combination of education, training, and experience in the field. This means that an applicant who has yet to complete a bachelor’s degree but has other relevant experience or training may still qualify for EB-2 NIW.

Work Experience

Another qualification for EB-2 NIW is having a minimum of five years of progressive experience in the field of the applicant’s exceptional ability. The background must be post-baccalaureate and demonstrate increasing levels of responsibility and expertise. This means that an applicant who has worked in the field for several years and has taken on more challenging roles over time may be more likely to qualify for EB-2 NIW.

Exceptional Ability

Exceptional ability

To qualify for EB-2 NIW, the applicant must demonstrate exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. This means the applicant must have expertise generally not seen in the industry.

Exceptional ability can be demonstrated through achievements such as an advanced degree (or multiple), publications, awards, patents, licenses, or other supporting evidence of professional standing. For example, a scientist with multiple patents and publications may demonstrate exceptional ability in science.

National Interest

Finally, the applicant must demonstrate that their work is in the national interest of the United States. This requirement is satisfied by showing that the applicant’s work has substantial merit and national importance and that the applicant is in a good position to enjoy a long and fruitful career. This means that the applicant’s work must have the potential to significantly benefit the United States in economic, scientific, technological, cultural, educational, or other areas of national importance.

For example, a business executive who has developed a new technology that could revolutionize the industry may demonstrate national interest.

Standards of Evidence for EB2 NIW

Standards of evidence

To meet the EB-2 NIW requirements, an applicant must present compelling evidence of his exceptional ability and the national interest of his work. The evidence must be clear, convincing, and objective and should be presented to demonstrate the applicant’s qualifications and merits.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses a totality of the circumstances approach to evaluate the evidence presented by the applicant. This means that the USCIS looks at all the evidence as a whole and decides based on the preponderance of the evidence. The more persuasive the evidence, the greater the likelihood of approval.

Primary Criteria for EB2 NIW

To demonstrate eligibility for EB-2 NIW, an applicant must meet the following primary criteria:

Benefit to the United States

The applicant must demonstrate that his work has the potential to benefit the United States significantly. This can be shown by explaining how the proposed work will contribute to economic, scientific, technological, cultural, educational, or other areas of national importance.

To establish this, applicants can present a well-reasoned argument or provide supporting documents such as letters of recommendation, press coverage, or industry reports highlighting their work’s importance and potential positive impact on the nation.

National Importance

The applicant must demonstrate that his work is of national importance. This can be shown by presenting evidence of how the proposed work will address a significant issue or advance a critical area of research or innovation that interests the US government, industry, or society.

Applicants should provide a detailed explanation of the broader implications of their work, including its potential to solve pressing problems, improve living standards, or enhance national security. Supporting documents include government reports, industry studies, or endorsements from recognized experts in the field.

Degree of Influence

The applicant must demonstrate that he is well-positioned to advance the proposed work. This can be shown by presenting evidence of the applicant’s unique skills, knowledge, or experience that makes him a key player in the field and how his work will significantly impact the area and the US.

To support this claim, applicants can provide a history of their career achievements, a list of their most significant accomplishments, and testimonials from peers, supervisors, or collaborators that attest to their role as a leader or innovators in their field.

Unique Skills

The applicant must demonstrate that his skills are unique and not easily replaceable by a US worker. This can be shown by presenting evidence of the applicant’s expertise, accomplishments, and contributions that set him apart from others in the field. A US worker cannot easily replicate his work.

Applicants can showcase their specialized training, certifications, or licensures, and any proprietary methods, tools, or techniques they have developed or mastered, to demonstrate their unique value and the difficulty of replacing them with a US-based worker.

Secondary Criteria for EB2 NIW

In addition to the primary criteria, an applicant may also present evidence of the following secondary criteria to strengthen his case:

Academic Achievements

Academic Achievements

The applicant may present evidence of his academic achievements, such as publications, conference presentations, teaching experience, or research grants, to demonstrate his exceptional ability and potential for future contributions.

Applicants can provide a comprehensive list of their scholarly output, including citation counts, journal impact factors, or other indicators of the quality and reach of their work. We need an official academic record showing you have the credentials to serve as an industry expert.

Professional Achievements

The applicant may present evidence of his professional achievements, such as patents, awards, leadership roles, or industry recognition, to demonstrate his exceptional ability and the significance of his work. Supporting materials include patent records, award certificates, news articles, or commendations from professional or business organizations that underscore the applicant’s stature and influence in their field.



The applicant may present evidence of his expertise in the field, such as testimonials from experts, professional associations, or colleagues, to demonstrate his exceptional ability and unique skills. Applicants can gather endorsements from authorities in their field, detailing their specific areas of expertise, contributions to advancing knowledge, and why their skills are in high demand.

Demonstrated Success

The applicant may present evidence of his past successes, such as commercialization of research, significant contributions to the field, or improvements in a particular technology or process, to demonstrate the potential impact of his proposed work. Examples include sales figures, adoption rates, or documented improvements in efficiency or effectiveness.

How Our Immigration Attorneys Can Help You

Applying for an EB-2 NIW green card can be challenging and complex. It requires a thorough understanding of immigration laws and regulations and the ability to present compelling evidence to the USCIS. That’s where our experienced immigration attorneys at Leon Law Firm can help you.

A few of the specific ways we can assist you include:

  • Expert Guidance: Navigate the complex immigration process confidently as our experienced attorneys provide personalized advice and direction.
  • Application Assistance: Benefit from our lawyers’ expertise in preparing and submitting accurate and complete applications, increasing your chances of approval.
  • Case Review: Receive a thorough evaluation of your unique situation, ensuring you meet the eligibility requirements for your desired immigration pathway.
  • Documentation Support: Obtain assistance with gathering and organizing essential documents, guaranteeing a smooth and efficient application process.
  • Legal Representation: Secure professional representation in immigration court hearings and other legal matters, protecting your rights and interests.
  • Updates on Immigration Laws: Stay informed on the latest changes to immigration policies and regulations, helping you make well-informed decisions.
  • Appeals and Waivers: Rely on our attorneys’ expertise in handling appeals and waivers, increasing the likelihood of a favorable outcome in challenging situations.
  • Family-Based Immigration: Get support with family reunification efforts, ensuring your loved ones can join you in the United States.

Our attorneys can assist you in assessing your eligibility for EB-2 NIW, preparing your application, gathering the necessary supporting documents, and presenting your case to maximize your chances of success. Our attorneys can also represent you in any appeals, hearings, or interviews that may be required during the application process and provide you with guidance and support throughout the entire process.

Schedule a Case Evaluation With Our Immigration Attorneys at Leon Law Firm Today

Schedule a case evaluation with our immigration attorneys

Are you considering applying for an EB-2 NIW green card, or do you have any inquiries regarding the eligibility or guidelines? We encourage you to arrange a case assessment with our skilled immigration lawyers at Leon Law Firm. During the consultation, our legal team will attentively address your concerns, evaluate your qualifications, and offer transparent and sincere advice on your likelihood of success.

To organize your consultation, kindly contact us or explore our website. We are eager to assist you in accomplishing your immigration objectives and fulfilling your professional ambitions in the United States. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our team, and let us help you.