What Are the Educational Requirements for an EB-2 NIW?

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Securing a green card through employment is one of the most common ways to immigrate to the United States. There are several opportunities available to skilled foreign professionals to pursue a green card, but many require sponsorship from a United States employer. For business owners, startup founders, and other individuals who do not have a qualifying job, petitioning without a United States employer is often necessary. In some cases, there are green cards that have specific educational requirements, such as the EB-2 NIW.

The EB-2 green card is designed for individuals who possess exceptional ability in their respective fields as well as professionals who hold advanced degrees. Typically, EB-2 green cards require sponsorship from an employer and a PERM Labor Certification. The National Interest Waiver (NIW) allows EB-2 applicants to bypass these two requirements by demonstrating that their future work will greatly benefit the United States. The EB-2 NNIW is an attractive option for self-employed entrepreneurs and professionals who operate their own private practice. As long as an applicant is able to prove that their work will benefit the national interest of the United States, they may apply for an EB-2 NIW. 

What Degree Must I Have to Obtain an EB-2 NIW?

There are also additional educational requirements and criteria in place for EB-2 NIW cases. These requirements include: 

  • For Advanced Degree-holders: the desired job must require an advanced degree for entry into the position. To prove this, documentation must be submitted to show that the applicant holds an advanced degree from a United States institution or its foreign equivalent. Alternatively, official academic records may be submitted to demonstrate that the applicant has a United States baccalaureate degree or its foreign equivalent and letters from current or previous employers stating that the applicant has a minimum of 5 years of professional experience in the profession. If a doctorate is traditionally required to perform the occupation, it must be demonstrated that the applicant holds a United States doctoral degree or its foreign equivalent. 
  • For individuals with exceptional ability: the applicant must prove that they possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, or business. This can be demonstrated by submitting a range of evidence, including academic records, letters from current or past employers documenting ten years of experience in the profession, professional licensure, or membership in a professional organization, for example. 

In addition to these requirements, the evidence must also be provided to support the following: 

  • The applicant’s proposed activity (proposed endeavor) in the country has national importance and substantial merit.
  • They are well-positioned to advance their proposed endeavor. 
  • It would be beneficial for the United States government to waive the requirements for a PERM Labor Certification.

If the applicant meets the educational requirements and is able to sufficiently prove that the three criteria for the NIW are met, they may self-petition for an employment green card in the United States using Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers. An Alcorn Immigration Law attorney will work closely with EB-2 NIW applicants to craft the strongest application possible to enhance their likelihood of success in this lucrative visa category. 

Can I Have Another Petition While Applying for an EB-2 NIW?

It is possible to have another petition while applying for an EB-2 NIW. An individual may apply for a National Interest Waiver if they have a PERM Labor Certification pending, for example. These two processes are handled by distinct organizations: the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services oversees NIW applications while the Department of Labor manages PERM Labor Certification applications. Applying for both at the same time could be an opportunity to optimize the chance of success. If the labor certification is denied, the applicant may still have hope for approval via an NIW application. 

Alternatively, individuals with extraordinary ability in their field may choose to file their EB-2 NIW petition concurrently with an EB-1A petition. Generally speaking, if a case is incredibly strong, an applicant may have a faster route by applying via the EB-1A Extraordinary Ability classification, as this category is first priority for green cards. If there is any doubt regarding the strength of their case, the NIW is a valuable option. The NIW petition allows for greater opportunity to craft a tailored case and gather an array of evidence to support the fact that their work will benefit the United States and is worthy of waiving the PERM Labor Certification. 

Consider Contacting Alcorn Immigration Law Today

A major aspect of our practice involves working closely with United States companies and startups to secure top talent from across the globe. With offices in Mountain View, CA and New York, NY we have the resources and experience necessary to successfully manage all aspects of your immigration case and secure your employment green card. To learn more, consider connecting with Alcorn Immigration Law today at +1(855) 546-0015 today.