EB-1 Green Card vs NIW

April 15, 2022 by Piotr Messerszmidt

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Everything you need to know about the Green Card

Getting a green card through employment based categories such as EB-1A or EB-2 NIW is one of the most popular methods of immigration into the United States. For both of these categories, you can self-petition without going through and employer. Neither an offer for employment in the United States nor a labor certification is required for both classifications. Both categories are also for people who have a high level of expertise in their fields. An EB-1A petition can be appropriate for anyone who has reached the top of their area of specialty. That can include business, arts, athletics, and many different fields in science, engineering, and medicine. For EB-2 NIW petition, your work must have substantial merit and national importance to the United States.

Types of Green Cards

The United States government created many categories of green cards, and the most common types are family based green cards and employment based green cards. Family based green cards are for close relatives of U.S. citizens, such as spouses, children, parents and siblings, as well as the spouses and children of those spouses, adult children, and siblings). Under employment based green cards multiple subcategories of workers can apply for permanent residence. In some cases, their spouses and children may qualify for a green card, as well. The employment based green card is divided into the following categories: 

  • EB-1 –  Priority workers
  • EB-2 –  Professionals with advanced degrees and exceptional abilities
  • EB-3 –  Skilled, professional, and other workers
  • EB-4 –  Special immigrants
  • EB-5 –  Investors

From the above categories EB-1A and EB-2 NIW are unique because they do not require a job or a job offer in the United States. This allows potential immigrants to self-petition, rather than to find an employer to file a petition on their behalf. Understanding the differences between the two types of visas can help you make a better decision on how to proceed. At Passright, we work with people from around the world who are interested in EB-1 and EB-2 NIW visas. You can read more about our success stories here

Requirements of immigration with EB-1A visa

In order to be eligible to obtain an EB-1A visa you must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. Your achievements must be recognized in your field through extensive documentation. You do not need to have an offer of employment. However, you must provide evidence showing you are coming to the United States to continue work in this area of expertise. You can provide evidence of a significant one-time achievement, such as a Pulitzer Prize, an Oscar or an Olympic Medal, or meet three out of ten criteria that prove extraordinary ability in a particular field. Those criteria include: 

  • Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
  • Membership in associations in the field, which require outstanding achievements of its members, as judged by recognized national or international experts;
  • Published material about the applicant in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
  • Participation as a judge of the work of others in the same or an allied field of specification for which classification is sought;
  • Original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance;
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional or major trade publications or other major media;
  • Display of the applicant’s work at artistic exhibitions or showcases;
  • Having performed in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation;
  • Have Commanded a high salary or other significantly high remuneration for services;
  • Commercial successes in the performing arts.

What is a NIW visa? Requirements of immigration with NIW visa

An EB-2 visa is an excellent option if you do not fit into the criteria for an EB-1 visa, but you still wish to work permanently in the United States. The EB2-NIW is an employment-based visa that does not require employer sponsorship. The NIW stands for “national interest waiver.” This means that the U.S. government will waive the requirement of a job offer if your continued work is in the national interest of the country. 

To be eligible for a national interest waiver, you must first qualify for the EB-2 category, by having either an advanced degree or exceptional ability. To fit the advanced-degree requirement, you would need to have a Master’s, Ph.D., or other post-baccalaureate degree (or a Bachelor’s degree and five years of experience). Alternatively, to fit the “exceptional ability” in your field requirement, you would need to prove by extensive documentation that you satisfy at least three of the following criteria:

  • An official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to your area of exceptional ability.
  • Letters documenting at least ten years of full-time experience in your occupation.
  • A license to practice your profession or certification for your profession or occupation.
  • Evidence that you have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability.
  • Membership in one or more professional associations, usually ones that require achievement in order to be a member.
  • Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, or professional or business organizations.

After establishing you have an advanced degree or exceptional ability (or both), you will need to satisfy all parts of a three-prong test. This involves proving that:

  • the work you propose to do in the U.S. has both substantial merit and national importance
  • you are capable to advance your proposed work, and
  • your employment will be a substantial benefit to the “national interest” to the United States

The EB-2 NIW visa category will now be available with premium processing. For a $2,500 extra fee, your application will be processed within 45 days. The regulation is anticipated to take effect on May 31, 2022. It  was introduced in order to reduce backlogs and to provide timely access to unemployment authorization documents. Historically, the premium processing was only available for certain non immigrant petitions (Form I-129) and limited employment-based immigrant visa petitions (Form I-140), by submitting Form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing Service). 

Conclusion

Filing a petition for an immigration visa is a complicated process which require complex strategy and strong evidence. The Passright team worked with numerous clients to obtain either EB-1A or EB-2 NIW.. We helped people from various countries and industries around the world. We can help you to determine eligibility and we know how to create, develop and implement a strong strategy that will lead you to permanent residency in the United States. Please contact us at [email protected] if you want to get a green card stress-free. 

FAQs

  • What type of visa can I make if I have won prizes for participation in international or national professional contests?

    After winning a prize in a national or international contest, you may be eligible to apply for an EB-1 visa. Check out our previous articles on our blog to find out more!
  • How do you get a US work visa without a job offer?

    The options to relocate to the United States without a job offer are very limited. When you want to apply for a visa without a job offer, you have to prove your exceptional ability or professional track record. For this purpose the U.S. government created the EB-1A, EB-2 NIW and EB-5 investors visas category. Contact our legal team at Passright ([email protected]) and find out which visa might be best for you.
  • When will premium processing be available for EB-2 NIW?

    The EB-2 NIW visa category will now be available with premium processing. For a $2,500 extra fee, your application will be processed within 45 days. The regulation is anticipated to take effect on May 31, 2022. It was introduced in order to reduce backlogs and to provide timely access to unemployment authorization documents. Historically, the premium processing was only available for certain non immigrant petitions (Form I-129) and limited employment-based immigrant visa petitions (Form I-140), by submitting Form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing Service).
  • What type of visa can I make if I have abilities on a national level?

    If you are recognized for your achievements in your country, you most likely will fall under the EB-1A visa criteria. You will need to show your sustained acclaim through press articles, awards, memberships, or other comparable evidence.