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EB-2 NIW Visa: A Comprehensive Guide for Entrepreneurs (2023)

George Araman
Posted on Fri Jun 16
10 min read

Learn everything you need about the EB-2 NIW visa in 2023 with a spotlight on the processing time, requirements, approval rates, cost, premium processing, and how to apply.


You are considering applying for the EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) Visa program.


As an entrepreneur from an emerging country, the EB-2 NIW visa is certainly a life changer. Applying to the EB-2 NIW visa program is a promising path to help you obtain permanent residency in the United States.

In this guide, we will provide a comprehensive guide to the EB-2 NIW Visa, including:

  • The requirements to obtain this permanent resident visa
  • The processing times
  • The approval rate for the visa
  • The benefits the visa offers to qualified applicants

Whether you plan on receiving the Green Card for yourself alone or your family, this guide will give you all the knowledge and insights you need to help you understand the EB-2 NIW Visa which can open doors to new opportunities for you and your family.

Let’s dive in.

Part I What is the EB-2 NIW Visa?

The EB-2 NIW Visa is an immigration visa type also known as the employment-based second preference category and is designed for individuals with exceptional abilities in the sciences, arts, or business, as well as advanced degree holders, also known as STEM.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regularly updates its policies about the different types of visas.

And good news!

In 2022 USCIS relaxed the standards for foreign nationals with STEM qualifications to get a permanent residency or Green Card.

Unlike the other two employment-based visas, the EB-2 NIW Visa allows applicants to bypass the labor certification process by obtaining a national interest waiver. This waiver acknowledges that the applicant’s work is in the national interest of the United States and that the individual’s contributions outweigh the need for a labor certification.

In short, the eb-2 niw visa is:

  1. Employment-based designed for STEM
  2. Regularly updated
  3. Helps you get your permanent residency

Part II EB-2 NIW Visa Requirements

Like all visa types and government-issued documents, there are some requirements we need to fill to qualify for the eb-2 niw visa. And in that case, below are the requirements you must adhere to obtain your permanent residency in the United States of America:

a. Exceptional Ability: Demonstrating exceptional ability in your field, which is defined as a degree of expertise significantly above that normally encountered.

b. Advanced Degree: Possessing an advanced degree, usually a master’s degree or superior, or a bachelor with at least five years of experience in your field demonstrating exceptional ability.

c. National Interest: Providing evidence that your work is in the national interest of the United States and that granting the waiver would benefit the country significantly.

d. Substantial Intrinsic Merit: Showing the proposed work’s intrinsic merit and national importance.

e. National Impact: Demonstrating that your work will have a substantial positive impact on the field and a broader scope beyond your immediate job responsibilities.

f. License (if applicable): the license or certification of your profession

g. Documents showing your exceptional achievements and contributions in your field such as patents, awards, and publications.

h. Membership in a professional association

You need to match at least three requirements to be considered eligible. Not all master’s degree ranks the same for the eb2 visa. While STEM degrees have the most chances, there can still be a way for you with your experience. Now that we’ve explored what are the requirements for the eb-2 visa, let’s have a look at recent approval rates.

PART III EB-2 NIW Visa Approval Rate

Statistics from USCIS showed in for the first three quarters of 2022 an approval rate of 11477 and a rejection of 1448, which shows the approval rate of the eb-2 niw visa is 88%.

This visa has one of the highest approval rates for employment-based visas. However, it is important that you have all the right documents and can showcase your expertise to have the chance of receiving your green card.

PART IV EB-2 NIW Visa Processing Time

The processing time for the EB-2 NIW Visa can vary depending on various factors, including the USCIS workload and the complexity of the case. On average, the processing time ranges from three to nine months. The process can even be extended if some of your documents are missing.

If you’re in a rush, you have the option to expedite the process through premium processing, which guarantees a faster review within 45 calendar days upon payment of an additional fee of $2500.

PART V Benefits of the EB-2 NIW Visa

There are four major benefits you and your family gain from obtaining an EB-2 NIW Visa:

  1. Permanent Residency: You receive your Green Card, granting you permanent residency in the United States.
  2. Flexibility: Unlike other employment-based visas that tie you to a specific employer, the EB-2 NIW Visa allows you to pursue your professional goals and switch employers or start your own businesses.
  3. Eligibility for Citizenship: After holding the EB-2 NIW Green Card for at least 60 months, you may become eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship and a U.S. Passport.
  4. Education and Healthcare Benefits: As a Green Card holder you can enjoy access to quality education for your children and affordable healthcare options.

One of the major benefits of EB-2 NIW’s compared to other EB visas is waiving the labor certification.

It’s important to keep in mind that every case is unique and that your profile might better match one of the other two employment-based visas. We recommend you reach out to a NIW lawyer to guide you with the process.

PART VI How to Apply for the EB-2 NIW Visa

Applying for the EB-2 NIW Visa is a four-step process, which you can find below:

  1. Petition Filing: Prepare and file Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, along with supporting documents, such as evidence of exceptional ability, advanced degrees, and proof of national interest. Once you have applied, you can check the progress.
  2. Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing: Once the I-140 petition is approved, you can proceed with either the adjustment of status or consular processing, depending on your circumstances.
  3. Consular Interview (if you’re not in the US): If you’re applying through consular processing, you must attend an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country.
  4. Medical Examination and Biometrics: You must undergo a medical examination and provide biometrics (fingerprinting and photographs) as part of the visa application process.

Take your visa process to the next level

Let us help you.

With offices in the US and around the world, we know everything you need to know about the eb2 visa, and we can help you get it. After all, we helped our clients with more than 50’000 Green Cards approved in several categories, in the past 27 years.

While it’s great to do everything by yourself, hiring an immigration expert will help you avoid the hassle and lengthy procedures awaiting you.

You can start by connecting with one of our representatives who will be answering your questions.

It’s time for you to become an American citizen. Once you are American, your spouse, and unmarried children under 21 can also apply for citizenship.


The EB-2 NIW Green Card, is a visa which provides a viable pathway for entrepreneurs with families from emerging countries to secure permanent residency in the United States. By understanding the requirements, processing time, and benefits of the EB-2 NIW Green Card, entrepreneurs can take advantage of this opportunity to further their careers and provide a better future for their loved ones. It is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to navigate the complexities of the application process and increase the chances of success.

In this comprehensive guide, you discovered what is EB-2 NIW green card, the requirements to be eligible, and the processing time. You also found out about the approval rate and benefits of receiving the visa. And finally, you learned the steps you need to undertake to apply for the eb2 visa.

Send us a message on LinkedIn, and we’ll send you tools, processes, and strategies to help you and give you the best chance in your visa application.

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Frequently Asked Questions about the eb-2 niw visa

Who is eligible for EB-2 NIW visa?

For you to be eligible for the EB-2 NIW visa, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Exceptional Ability: You must demonstrate exceptional ability in your field, meaning your expertise significantly surpasses the norm.
  2. Advanced Degree: You should have an advanced degree or its equivalent (STEM), or you can show exceptional ability as mentioned above.
  3. National Interest: You must provide evidence that your work is in the national interest of the United States, and granting the national interest waiver would bring significant benefits to the country.
  4. Substantial Intrinsic Merit: You must establish the intrinsic merit and national importance of your proposed work.
  5. National Impact: You need to demonstrate that your work will have a substantial positive impact on your field and extend beyond your immediate job responsibilities.

Is it difficult to get an EB-2 NIW?

Obtaining an EB-2 NIW visa can be challenging due to the rigorous requirements and the need to prove exceptional abilities and national interest. However, with careful preparation and proper documentation, the chances of success can significantly improve. It is recommended to work with an experienced immigration attorney who specializes in EB-2 NIW cases to enhance the likelihood of a positive outcome. With 5 years of experience and 50’000 green cards approved (do you have an infographic we can link here?), we can help you.

Can I apply for EB-2 NIW myself?

Yes, you certainly can apply for the EB-2 NIW visa yourself and without any assistance. However, it is recommended to seek some guidance from a well-reputed Attorney or Global Mobility Company due to the complexity of the application process and the importance of presenting a strong case. We at Hayman Woodward can help you navigate the requirements, gather the necessary evidence, and ensure that your application is comprehensive and persuasive, increasing the chances of a successful outcome.

How much does EB-2 NIW cost?

The cost of the EB-2 NIW visa consists of several components. Here are some of the fees you may be asked to pay:

  • Premium processing fees: $2500 (to have a decision within 45 days)
  • Application processing fees: $405Form l-140 petition fees: $700
  • Form I-485, the application to register for a permanent resident or adjust status: $1,140
  • If you’re based in the US, Medical exam fees: are up to $400, and Biometric fees: are $85
  • If you’re not based in the US, Consular fees: $345
  • Document translation feesAttorney feesCredential evaluation fees (if applicable)
  • Other associated costs

The specific fees can vary depending on the complexity of the case and if you’re using an attorney the cost of their service. It is recommended to consult with an attorney or global mobility company to obtain an accurate estimate of the total cost based on your circumstances.

Is EB-2 NIW visa a Green Card?

Once you receive your eligibility approval for the EB-2 NIW visa, you can consider yourself Green Card approved. Unless you have admissibility issues related to prior immigration violations or criminal records. You will need to finish the process and pay the remaining fees to formally receive your Green Card.

Is a foreign diploma eligible for the EB-2 visa?

Yes. You might need to translate it from a certified translator in case it is not in English.

Written By: George Araman
George Araman is a writer, coach, and trainer with 13 years of experience in the fields of marketing, self-improvement, and relationships. He holds a master’s degree, is a certified Canfield Trainer, and has over 21 certificates. George is an international bestselling author.

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