Employment Green Cards

EB-2 NIW Green Card

EB-2 National Interest Waiver Green Card is a sub-category of second preference employment Green Cards. It is issued to individuals who have exceptional ability in sciences, arts, or business, or whose employment would greatly benefit the U.S. economy.

What separates EB-2 National Interest Waiver from other EB-2 Green Card categories is that you can apply for a green card without PERM Labor Certification, which means that you can be issued an EB-2 Green Card without a valid job offer from a U.S. employer.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • The applicant must have the U.S. or its equivalent advanced degree  
  • Or the applicant must prove exceptional ability in sciences, arts, or business that is considerably higher than average which would make you a unique candidate for the application. 
  • Apart from meeting either of these two requirements, the applicant must also meet three criteria listed by USCIS: 
  • The applicant’s academic background or exceptional abilities must prove to be of national importance and outstanding quality 
  • The applicant must be equipped with the necessary tools to advance his/her  academic or career goals 

The U.S. must see a national interest in waiving the requirement of a job offer needed generally when applying for a Green Card.


Family Members:

The spouses and unmarried children (under the age of 21) are eligible to accompany the applicant. Spouses may seek admission in E-21 and children in E-22 immigrant status.  


If you do not have a job offer from a U.S. employer, you may seek a National Interest Waiver that will exempt you from the labor certification process of the Department of Labor (DOL).

However, you will still need to file Form ETA 750B (Application for Alien Employment Certification) with the USCIS. National Interest Waiver enables you to file all these forms without a sponsor! 

As indicated above, no! EB-2 National Interest Waiver Green Card applicants can self-petition Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker)

Priority date is the date you filed your Form I-140. This date will then give you an educated guess as to when your priority date might become current to be able to file for adjustment of the status application. 

This is a question that lacks a definitive answer. Various steps are leading to your Green Card approval, and each of these steps requires varying wait times.  

However, if you are inside the U.S. As a lawful nonimmigrant seeking an adjustment of status, here is a breakdown of the approximate wait time for every phase:  

  • Processing Forms I-140 and ETA 750B (Application for Alien Employment Certification) takes between 8 and12 months on average. Unfortunately, USCIS’s premium processing service is not available for Form I-140 under the EB-2 NIW application. 
  • Wait time for your priority date to become current depends on your country of origin. It ranges from two months to 10 years.  
  • Processing time of Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, takes between 8 and 12 months.

If you are outside the U.S. and using consular processing: 

The first two steps above apply to you as well. However, after your priority date becomes current, you will need to complete the DS-260 immigrant visa application online and schedule an interview at the U.S. consulate or embassy in your country of origin. Therefore, the wait time until your immigrant visa is approved entirely depends on the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your home country. However, you should not expect to wait more than a year.  

It is possible to apply EB-1A under premium processing categories with additional payment.


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