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Green Cards for Persons with Exceptional Ability: The EB-2 National Interest Waiver
US immigration, visas, and obtaining a green card are complicated processes. Some people can get a permanent resident card, or a green card, through what is called the National Interest Waiver.
Through the NIW, foreign nationals with exceptional ability in different fields may apply for an EB-2 green card. Common fields are those under the arts, sciences, or business. Professionals with advanced degrees, such as an M.A., M.S., M.D., or Ph.D. usually qualify and file at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). These immigrants apply for permanent residence under the employment-based green card category and make use of national interest waivers.
Following immigration laws, those qualifying for the EB-2 green card process can become a permanent resident by establishing that the waiver will benefit the U.S.
If am a person with exceptional ability, why would I opt for this immigration process?
Through the EB-2, the job offer and labor certification requirement are waived and you may file a green card petition at the USCIS on your own (or self-petition).
How would I know I am qualified?
Immigration law states that you must have exceptional ability in the fields mentioned above, or in the following areas: science and technology, health, business and entrepreneurship, arts and culture, and education among others. Being a foreign national, you must demonstrate that you are well-positioned for an endeavor in an area that is 1) of national importance and 2) with substantial and intrinsic merit. You must also prove that waiving the required labor certification will benefit the U.S., and is therefore of national interest.
How do I establish that I am a person having exceptional ability?
Working with an immigration lawyer, accomplish your petition form and prepare at least any three of these:
- official academic records, diploma, or certificates from the relevant school, university, or learning institution
- documentation of full-time experience in the field (10 years or more)
- license or certification for particular professions
- proof of salary or remuneration demonstrating exceptional ability
- membership in associations related to the profession
- documentation of achievements or contributions to the field
- awards given by peers, government agencies, or business groups
- other evidence showing eligibility and that may help you get a green card and enjoy a permanent resident status
How do I establish that the waiver will be of national interest?
The USCIS looks into several factors in determining national interest. These may be the improvement of:
- the economy
- wages and conditions of workers
- education or training for workers
- health care
- availability of affordable housing
- the environment
What forms or documents do I need to prepare?
Remember to discuss with your immigration attorney your background and plans in-detail. Requirements may be different for each field. Processing times may also vary. Immigration lawyers and professionals can help you with USCIS forms and other paperwork needed when you apply for a green card. Some of these documents would be coming from your home country, so plan your card application well.
Common to people applying for a green card under the EB-2, however, are the following:
- Copy of NOA or Notice of Approval for current visas
- Updated CV or resume specifying employment or research history
- University degrees, official transcripts, and other documents proving that the minimum educational background is met
- Recommendation letters
- Any publications, citations, or conference invitations or abstract
- Proof of academic honors, awards, or professional distinction
- Documentation of annual salary
- Proof of membership in associations related to the profession
- Other evidence that your work is of national interest and that may be useful for you green card application
Do I need to get the services of a legal professional?
Some benefits come with being a green card holder and permanent resident. When applying for a green card, make sure you contact a law firm specializing in permanent residency and immigration and citizenship services. If you need help getting a green card, contact as at Diener Law. Our experienced immigration attorneys are ready to help you with any information on immigration laws.