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Are you eligible for a NIW Green Card?

Step 1: The General EB-2 Eligibility

You can pass the General EB-2 Eligibility Test by meeting 1 of the following 2 criteria:

  1. You have an advanced degree (Master's or Ph.D Degree), or its equivalent (Bachelor's Degree and 5 years of experience); or

  2. You have demonstrated exceptional ability in your field.

Most NIW Green Card applicants easily pass the General EB-2 Eligibility Test by having an advanced degree or its equivalent.

Step 2: The National Interest Waiver

After passing the General EB-2 Eligibility Test, you must also satisfy all 3 elements of the National Interest Waiver test, which are:

  1. Your proposed work has both substantial merit and national importance;

  2. You are well-positioned to advance your proposed work; and

  3. When balancing all the factors, it would be in the national interest of the U.S. to grant you a waiver of the normal job and labor certification requirements.

This National Interest Waiver test was set out in the 2016 Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) precedent decision called Matter of Dhanasar, 26 I&N Dec. 884 (AAO 2016), which established a new framework for evaluating NIW Green Card applications.

What are the Main Advantages of Applying for an NIW Green Card?

Employer Sponsorship is Not Required:  

You can file an NIW Green Card application independently (sometimes called a "self-petition") without sponsorship from your employer.


A Specific Offer of Employment is Not Required:

You can file an NIW Green Card application even if you do not have a job offer from a U.S. employer.

PERM Labor Certification is Not Required:

Unlike most other Employment-Based Green Card categories, you do not need to go through the PERM Labor Certification process to show a shortage of U.S. workers in the labor market for your occupation to be eligible to file an NIW Green Card application.

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