To apply for an EB-2 NIW petition, applicants must first qualify either as an Advanced Degree Professional who holds an academic or professional U.S. degree above the baccalaureate level or a foreign degree equivalent above the U.S. baccalaureate level, or as an Alien of Exceptional Ability who holds a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the alien’s profession. It is not necessary to qualify for both. The following lists the documentation and forms for each qualification.
Most applicants who apply for an NIW petition hold advanced degrees rather than possessing exceptional abilities. For advanced degree holders, a Labor Certification and U.S. job offer are usually required. However, they are not required for a National Interest Waiver (NIW). In addition to Form I-140, applicants must submit either:
An Official Degree Certificate demonstrating that the alien holds a U.S. advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree above the U.S. baccalaureate level.
An Official Degree Certificate demonstrating that the alien has a Bachelor’s degree equivalent to the U.S. baccalaureate level in addition to Letters of Recommendations from current and/or past employers that show at least 5 years of progressive work experience in the alien’s field of profession.
Exceptional ability applicants must hold a degree and expertise significantly above most individuals normally encountered in the applicant’s field. Applicants must show that they will substantially benefit the national economy, cultural, educational interests and/or welfare of the United States because of their exceptional skills in the sciences, arts, or business. Applicants must submit at least three of the following documents:
Please keep in mind that meeting an advanced degree or exceptional ability qualification does not guarantee success for an NIW case as it is only the minimum requirement. An NIW applicant still needs to show that he/she meets other substantive requirements for an NIW.
(Updated 10/8/2012 by AD)
For more detailed information about the National Interest Waiver, including minimum requirements and USCIS policies, please click on the relevant links on this page: