How Do I Get a Green Card Through a National Interest Waiver

By Jacob Tuimaualuga

The second-preference employment category (EB-2) allows individuals of exceptional ability and individuals who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees to get a Green Card (permanent residence). section 203(b)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act

For EB-2s a job offer and a labor certification is generally required. This requirement can be waived if the petitioner demonstrates that granting the EB-2 petition would be in the national interest of the United States.

I will list a number of questions I field regarding the national interest waiver

  • Why do I need to do a national interest waiver?
  • How do I know if I am eligible?

The experience of at least five years of progressive, post-baccalaureate experience in the specialty plus the bachelor’s degree will be sufficient for the advanced degree requirement

  • What If I don’t have an advanced degree, how do I prove that I have exceptional ability?

USCIS defines an Alien of Exceptional Ability as a professional who has a degree of expertise above that ordinarily encountered in his or her field. To show the INS that you are an Alien of Exceptional Ability in the sciences, arts, or business, you must be able to provide at least three (3) of the following items:

An official academic record showing that the alien has a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to the area of exceptional ability;
Evidence in the form of letter(s) from current or former employer(s) showing that the alien has at least ten years of full-time experience in the occupation for which he or she is being sought; A license to practice the profession or certification for a particular profession or occupation; Evidence that the alien has commanded a salary, or other remuneration for services, which demonstrates exceptional ability;
Evidence of membership in professional associations; or Evidence of recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by peers, governmental entities, or professional or business organizations.

Please remember that one needs only to be able to supply three of these items, not the whole list.


How hard is it to get approved?


  • I have a plan for what I intend to do if granted residency in the United States. How do I know if it satisfies “substantial merit” and “national importance”?
  • I already showed that I have an advanced degree or exceptional ability. Do I really have to prove that I am “well positioned” to advance my endeavor?
  • What factors does USCIS consider “on balance”, is this just arbitrary discretion?
  • Can you give me some examples of some approvals you’ve worked with so I have an idea of what works?