Understanding the Differences and Choosing the Right One for You
This article is dedicated to exploring the EB2 (View the program) and EB2 NIW visas (View the program), which are often mixed up, causing confusion among applicants. We aim to provide an in-depth understanding of the differences between the two visas, their unique features, prerequisites, advantages, and disadvantages.
The EB-2 visa program is available to non-U.S citizens but is complex and involves obtaining unconditional Green Card (permanent residency status) for those with an advanced degree, exceptional abilities to entrepreneurs with innovative ideas that will drive economic growth.
While the EB-2 visa may be easier to obtain than the EB-2 NIW, there is a long backlog due to Covid. On the other hand, the EB-2 NIW allows applicants to bypass the employment requirement known as the labor certification.
The National Interest Waiver grants candidates a quicker processing time. However it is subjected to more scrutiny from immigration officials whereby successful applicants must meet the (3) National Interest Waiver criteria and prove that it is in the national interest of the United States to grant this discretionary waiver.
The major difference between the two programs is the EB-2 visa requires sponsorship by an employer, by way of a job offer and labor certification. One route many take is starting your own business within the states and having yourself become the employer.
What is the EB-2 Visa Program
The employment-based, second preference visa, also known as the EB-2 Visa Program was introduced in 1990 and this program grants an unconditional Green Card (permanent residency status) to non-U.S citizens who possess an advanced degree or exceptional ability. It is also suitable for entrepreneurs with innovative ideas who will spur economic growth.
How hard is it to get the EB-2 Visa?
Generally, it is easier to obtain the EB-2 Visa, as there is more scrutiny from immigration officers in applications to the EB2 NIW Visa however with this comes a long back-log due to Covid for the EB-2 Visa. This lengthy back-log could make the applicant wait years before their application is even considered whereas with the EB-2 NIW Visa, applicants could apply for premium processing which speeds up their application to have a response within 45 days.
What are the requirements of the EB-2 Visa?
The EB-2 Visa is an employment-based visa, the job the applicant applies for must require an advanced degree and you must possess such a degree or its foreign equivalent, the applicant must also provide an approved I-140 petition from a verified employer, evidence of the applicants diplomas or other certifications as well as a DOL (Department of Labor) certificate.
Is EB2 the same as a green card?
The EB2 Visa Program is a program that can lead to obtaining a Green Card, which provides permanent residency status in the United States. The EB2 Visa is an employment-based visa that grants an unconditional Green Card to entrepreneurs with innovative ideas that will spur economic growth, who possess an advanced degree or exceptional ability.
Therefore, while the EB2 Visa is not the same as a Green Card, it is a pathway to obtain one. Once an individual has successfully obtained the EB2 Visa, they can apply for a Green Card, which will provide them with permanent residency status in the United States.
What is an EB2 NIW Visa?
The NIW (National Interest Waiver) allows applicants to by-pass the employment requirement, where the EB-2 Visa requires an employer in the U.S to submit the I-140 petition, the EB-2 NIW requires the applicant to go through this process themselves. The National Interest Waiver is subjective, where the proposed endeavour has both substantial merit and national importance for example currently there is a pilot shortage in the U.S and this gives pilots the opportunity to apply for their green cards via the EB-2 NIW program.
What is the advantage of the EB2 NIW Visa Program?
The EB-2 NIW program provides candidates a faster processing time as the NIW (national interest waiver) allows candidates to not require a job offer as well as it is in the best interest of the United States to accept the application as it is in the national interest to do so.
What is the rejection rate of the EB-2 NIW?
Unfortunately, there is no real answer, for the EB-2 NIW it is recommended the applicant have a legal professional to assist in gathering the documents as well as in writing the petition letter which will help prove the national importance and the applicant being a key person to help the endeavour. With this being said each case is different, each pilot is different and each USCIS case officer is different, therefore there can’t be a definitive number for the rejection rate.
EB-2 vs EB-2 NIW Visa Comparison: Key Differences at a Glance
|Job Offer Requirement||Yes||No|
|Processing Time||Years or even decades depending on the applicant's location||5-12 months, with premium processing available (45 days)|
|Legal Assistance Requirement||No, employer files I-140 petition and labor certification||Yes, applicant must prove the proposed endeavor's benefits|
|Bringing Dependents||Yes, but approval may not occur before they turn 21||Yes, if they are below 21|
|Requirements||Advanced degree, exceptional ability, job offer||Advanced degree, exceptional ability, proposed endeavor with substantial merit and national importance, applicant well-positioned, beneficial to waive job offer requirements|
EB-2 vs EB-2 NIW Visa Comparison: Key Differences at a Glance
- Job Offer Requirement: Yes
- Processing Time: Years or even decades depending on the applicant’s location
- Legal Assistance Requirement: No, employer files I-140 petition and labor certification
- Bringing Dependents: Yes, but approval may not occur before they turn 21
- Requirements: Advanced degree, exceptional ability, job offer
EB-2 NIW Visa
- Job Offer Requirement: No
- Processing Time: 5-12 months, with premium processing available (45 days)
- Legal Assistance Requirement: Yes, applicant must prove the proposed endeavor’s benefits
- Bringing Dependents: Yes, if they are below 21
- Requirements: Advanced degree, exceptional ability, proposed endeavor with substantial merit and national importance, applicant well-positioned, beneficial to waive job offer requirements
Why should you get expert advice?
In the United States, immigration-related advice is reserved for lawyers. Harvey Law Group (HLG) has more than 30 years’ experience in the immigration field and more than 20 offices around the world.