What Are the Benefits of the EB-2 National Interest Waiver?
- Business Immigration
Are you a foreign national with an advanced degree or a bachelor’s degree and post-graduate experience? Or have you been the brains behind important projects in your field? Would your work in the United States serve in the national interest of the country?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are, you’re a likely candidate for the EB-2 National Interest Waiver.
In this post, we’ll uncover the many requirements and benefits of the EB-2 National Interest Waiver so you can determine if this option is a good fit for you in your journey to becoming a lawful permanent resident of the United States.
What is the EB-2 National Interest Waiver?
You can qualify for the EB-2 National Interest Waiver if you fall under one of the following categories:
- You have an advanced degree,
- You have a bachelor’s degree with at least five years of post-graduate experience, or
- You have shown exceptional ability in your field.
On top of these requirements, you must be able to establish that your work in the United States would benefit the country. In 2016, Matter of Dhanasar set the “precedent” for the EB-2 National Interest Waiver’s qualifications. Dhanasar establishes that in addition to falling under one of the aforementioned categories, you must also have a “proposed endeavor,” or what you plan to accomplish through your work in the United States. You should be able to support that your endeavor positively impacts the country.
You must be able to prove all three of the following:
- Your proposed endeavor has “substantial merit” and “national importance.”
- You are “well-positioned” to take on the endeavor.
- “On balance,” it would be in the United States’ interest to waive the job offer and labor certification requirements for the applicant. 
In our blog post on the basics of the EB-2 National Interest Waiver, we highlight what each prong means and how you can provide evidence to support the prongs.
The Ability of Self-Petition
The last prong of National Interest Waiver requirement stands out as one of its major benefits. By eliminating the need for a permanent, full-time job offer and a labor certification, you can skip several steps in the application process. Self-petitioning can be a less stressful option than having to rely on an employer to sponsor you, mainly because you don’t have to seek out a full-time, permanent job. Finding a job is more difficult if you live outside of the United States, especially if you don’t have an employment authorization card. Some companies may not want to take on the process of petitioning a foreign national because it is time consuming and costly. Self-petitioning eliminates all of these obstacles and allows you to create your own pathway to living and working in the United States.
Quicker Processing Times
By self-petitioning, you don’t have to wait for your employer to obtain a labor certification. In our blog post on the PERM labor certification, we focus on the many steps required to obtain this certification. Getting a PERM will take at least a year and a half. There is also a chance that the PERM could be audited or denied, which tacks on even more time until you’re able to receive a green card.
As of October 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reported that it takes roughly 3 months for National Interest Waivers to be processed at the Nebraska Service Center, and 6 months at the Texas Service Center. These are very short wait times, especially in the world of business immigration. However, if you want to expedite the process, you can also submit the Form I-907, which allows you to receive premium processing for the Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) that you will be submitting with your EB-2 National Interest Waiver. Premium processing ensures your I-140 will be processed within 15 calendar days. This was put into effect in January 2023 as a means to “[expand] premium processing to additional form types as part of [USCIS’S] efforts to increase efficiency and reduce burdens to the overall legal immigration system.”  Although this form has a $2,500 fee, you may find that the reduction in wait time outweighs the cost.
Applicable to Most Professional Fields
One of the major perks of the EB-2 National Interest Waiver is the accommodation for various occupations and endeavors. Your proposed endeavor must be important to the United States, but, as explained in Dhanasar, this list is exhaustive. It could pertain to enhancing the medical field, strengthening manufacturing, or improving the economy of a certain geographical region.1
One example is a business owner interested in implementing a small grocery chain into rural communities. Not only would the business owner benefit from this plan, but the business proposition would eliminate harmful food deserts and provide new job opportunities. As a result, it could boost the community’s health and local economy. Another example is an experienced English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher with plans to establish curriculum for ESL students in communities that do not offer this type of program.
The important point to remember here is that there is not just one occupation or field of study that falls under the EB-2 National Interest Waiver. As long as you can provide the required evidence, you are eligible. This flexibility provides more opportunities for those in underrepresented professional fields, such as the humanities.
If you’re interested in applying for the EB-2 National Interest Waiver, it’s important to work with an experienced business immigration attorney. Eagan Immigration’s business immigration attorney Hannah Whaley can answer any questions you have about the EB-2 National Interest Waiver and can help you get started in applying for the EB-2 National Interest Waiver.
Give us a call today at (202) 750-5170 or visit this link to schedule a consultation with Attorney Whaley.
 Matter of Dhanasar, Petitioner, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Administrative Appeals Office, Dec. 27, 2016, Matter of DHANASA, 26 I&N Dec. 884 (AAO 2016) (justice.gov).
 Employment-Based Immigration: Second Preference EB-2, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Apr. 20, 2022, Employment-Based Immigration: Second Preference EB-2 | USCIS, (last visited: Oct. 23, 2023).
 USCIS Announces Final Phase of Premium Processing Expansion for EB-1 and EB-2 Form I-140 Petitions and Future Expansion for F-1 Students Seeking OPT and Certain Student and Exchange Visitors, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Jan. 12, 2023, USCIS Announces Final Phase of Premium Processing Expansion for EB-1 and EB-2 Form I-140 Petitions and Future Expansion for F-1 Students Seeking OPT and Certain Student and Exchange Visitors | USCIS, (last visited: Oct. 18, 2023).