The EB-2 visa allows for obtaining permanent residency in the United States (Green Card). To qualify, the applicant must have:

  1. An advanced degree or its equivalent; or
  2. Exceptional ability.

Additionally, the applicant needs a job offer and an approved Labor Certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. This certification confirms that there are no available American workers with the required qualifications. Thus, the applicant cannot self-petition; the sponsoring employer submits the petition and obtains the labor certification.

Qualified foreign nationals for the EB-2 visa can request a waiver of the job offer and labor certification if they can demonstrate that their skills will substantially benefit the United States. This category of the EB-2 is known as the National Interest Waiver (EB-2 NIW).

Unlike the regular EB-2, the EB-2 NIW allows the foreign national to self-petition and submit the application directly to U.S. Immigration, without the need for an employer or labor certification. Those seeking the NIW argue that the labor certification should be waived due to the national interest of the United States. Consequently, this type of visa allows the beneficiary and their dependents (spouse and unmarried children under 21) to establish permanent residency in the United States.

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