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EB-2 National Interest Waiver For STEM Professionals


With the understanding that technological advancement is a viable and feasible feeder for the United States economy, the government of the United States led by president Joe Biden is taking drastic and progressive steps in ensuring increased economic growth and technological competitiveness. To achieve this, the United States government permits a national interest waiver for the EB-2 visa to STEM professionals.

The EB-2 National Interest Waiver is a green card given to immigrants based on their skills. In other words, it expels the usual prerequisite document of a labour certification or proof of job offer. The national interest waiver is granted in the belief that the migration of STEM professionals is in the best interest of the country. Therefore, granting this waiver to such professionals will ensure more productive research and technological advancement which will boost the United States economy and its technological competitiveness in the international sphere.

Eligibility Status For The EB-2 National Interest Waiver

While the original prerequisites of labor certification or proof of job offer can be excluded, to be awarded a waiver, the applicant must satisfy the requirements of the following two-step test.

Step 1: The General EB-2 Eligibility Test

To pass this test the following are the required criteria that the applicant must meet.

  1. Advance Educational Qualification
    1. The applicant should possess an advanced level degree that is either a Master's degree or a Doctor of Philosophy degree in their chosen field; OR
    2. In the case where the applicant for an EB-2 national interest waiver doesn't possess any of the above, a suitable equivalent is a Bachelor's degree and a proven 5 years of experience in their specific field of study. (Note: USCIS will consider an advanced degree in a related STEM field, particularly Ph.D., as an “especially positive factor”.)
  2. The applicant must possess demonstrated exceptional ability in their specific field. This ability usually should be shown as being relatively above what is ordinary in that field.

According to USCIS to qualify for EB2 based on exceptional ability one has to:

be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability “means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.” You must meet any requirements specified on the labor certification as applicable. This test is usually easy to pass especially with proven evidence of the advanced educational qualification.

To prove that you met this prong, one must meet 3 conditions out of 10:

  • “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"

Step 2: The National Interest Waiver(NIW) Test

The second test that must be passed is the national interest waiver test. This test presents three criteria that must be fulfilled, which are:

  1. The intended task that the applicant wishes to carry out must have great value and must be profitable to the United States or “The proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance”
  2. The applicant must be well-positioned to advance the task he intends to carry out.
  3. When considering all aspects of the task on a balance, it should be valuable to the United States, because it is on this ground that a waiver of the usual prerequisite documents of an employment offer and the labor certification can be granted.

The Benefits Of Applying For An EB-2 National Interest Waiver

No Need For An Employer's Support: An applicant can file for an EB-2 national interest waiver without an employer’s petition.

Presenting An Offer For A Job Is Not Necessary: You can file for an EB-2 national interest waiver without any proof of employment or a contract with a potential employer. However, you do need to provide a statement outlining your past experience, qualifications, and future endeavors. A recommendation letter form an employer, explaining that only few individuals would qualify for such a position is recommended.

There's No Need For A Labor Certification: When applying for an EB-2 national interest waiver, there's no need to obtain a Labor Certification from the United States Department of Labor.

A More Accommodating Eligibility Criteria Compared To EB-1:The EB-2 national interest waiver application process offers less strict and more accommodating eligibility criteria when compared to the EB-1. It's a whole lot simpler to apply for with such fewer eligibility criteria to fulfill.

Processing An EB-2 National Interest Waiver Application

In initiating the request for an EB-2 National Interest Waiver, the applicant should be able to obtain the I-140 Immigrant Petition and the I-485 Adjustment of Status Application. Be that as it may, two possible methods for obtaining the EB-2 NIW are the Concurrent and Separate Filing Methods.

Concurrent Filing: In this case, an applicant who possesses a concrete profile, may decide to pursue both the I-140 Immigrant Petition and I-485 Adjustment of Status Application at the same time. This is called concurrent filing. For this filing method to hold, the applicant's EB-2 preference date must be current. This is why persons from India and China cannot use this method since their preference date in the Visa Bulletin of the U.S. Department of State is not current.

Separate Filing: When an applicant is not sure of the concreteness of their NIW profile, they can easily subscribe to the separate filing method. In this case, an applicant can first file for the National Interest Waiver I-140 Immigrant Petition, after which they can proceed to file for the I-485 Adjustment of Status Application( if the EB-2 preference date is current) when the first has been granted.

The EB-2 National Interest Waiver allows for wide range of talented immigrants to gain permanent residency in the United States, including STEM professionals with advance degrees or those who meet the work experience test.

If you need help with EB2 NIW, reserve your confidential consultation at 917 885 2261.

31 January 2022
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