USA EB-2 NIW for Commercial Airline Pilots

National Interest Waiver visa for experienced pilots

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What is the visa USA EB-2 NIW?

The USA EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) visa is a lifeline for highly skilled professionals. It’s a key solution to the current pilot shortage in the United States, with over 8,000 pilot vacancies, representing about 11% of the industry’s workforce. By 2025, this number is expected to reach 30,000, driven by retirements and industry growth.

Over the next two decades, the demand for experienced pilots in America is set to grow to a staggering 260,000 positions. The EB-2 NIW visa is an avenue for these professionals to meet the aviation industry’s needs and make a significant impact on the U.S. economy.

USA EB-2 NIW National Interest Waiver pilots in the USA EB2 NIW Canadian pilots working in us

How much do pilots earn in the USA?

The average salaries for these posts range between USD 90,000 and USD 160,000 per year, but with bonuses and overtime, this can rise to well over USD 200,000 (United States Bureau of Labour and Statistics).

However, the academic standard is demanding, and the training is relatively long, therefore the number of intending pilots among American college students has dropped.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many airlines have also grounded planes and given early retirement packages, which has exacerbated the situation.

How much do pilots earn per month in USA?

One of the ways the government is endeavouring to address this problem is by using the EB-2 National Interest Waiver Visa to attract overseas pilots to the country.

The program is designed for experienced foreign pilots with exceptional abilities who are interested in settling in the USA. While the process can be challenging, successful candidates and their qualifying family members can obtain an unconditional Green Card (permanent residency status) in the USA in 8 to 16 months.

Qualifying family members may include a spouse and dependent children up to the age of 21.

The EB-2 (NIW) visa has several advantages, including the right to reside, work, and study anywhere in the United States for the applicant and their dependants. After five years of residency, applicants will be eligible to apply for American citizenship. Under the National Interest Waiver, there is also no need for a pre-existing job offer or proof of a deficiency of available local workers for the job type.

The process is quite rigorous, as noted, and involves a pre-assessment and various substantiating documents and relevant letters of support.

The USCIS (the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service) has indicated that they are seeking individuals with a minimum of several of the following characteristics:
10 or more years of full-time experience and holds a license to practice or has the necessary certification, evidence that they have been receiving a salary commensurate with this level of expertise and membership in relevant pilot professional associations, and an academic record demonstrating a degree, diploma, or certificate, from a college, university, school, or comparable institution.

Recognition of achievements and a significant contribution to the aviation industry by your peers, government, or professional organizations would also be beneficial.

Managerial or teaching duties relevant to the industry that makes their training or service notable is also considered.

Canadian pilots working in us

In the year 2022, a notable surge in applications was observed, with no fewer than 147 Canadian pilots submitting requests for licenses to operate commercial aircraft in the United States. This figure marks a substantial escalation compared to the 39 applications received in the preceding year, as detailed in a Reuters report that has drawn upon hitherto unpublished data sourced from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The table below summarizes the key elements of the main programs for you.
(Please note: the table is a summary only. For more details, please talk to a trusted legal professional.)

How long does it take to obtain the EB2 NIW visa?

Initial EB-2 NIW processing estimate: 8-12 months. Some clients receive feedback in 3 months, but plan for 8-12 months. USCIS processing times vary based on past cases, so maintain realistic expectations.


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    A New Opportunity

    “This is a fairly new opportunity, launched only in January of 2022,” Jean-François Harvey, Founder and Worldwide Managing Partner of Harvey Law Group (HLG) clarifies.

    “Some of the criteria are objective, some may be subjective, and in some cases, they reflect our understanding of what facilitates approval we can discuss them with you to see if they can contribute to your application.”

    Mr Harvey continues, “The process can be difficult, and an inadequate submission will certainly result in a denial. Nonetheless, we have had a number of approvals, so it is achievable. Further, our experience has been that age, nationality, rank, and similar considerations do not seem to count against an applicant. We have had successes for captains, as well as senior first officers; pilots in their 30s, as well as their 50s; and from various nationalities, including Australian, Canadian, Chinese, Indian, Spanish, Hungarian, British, and so on. Every case is assessed by the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) on its own individual merits.”

    In the United States, immigration-related advice is reserved for lawyers In the United States. Harvey Law Group (HLG) has more than 30 years’ experience in the immigration field and more than 20 offices around the world. Unlike agents or non-authorised firms, HLG is a professional immigration law firm, and as such, has an obligation to advise you on the best options and on the programs most suited to your goals.

    For more information about the EB-2 NIW for experienced pilots, please visit

    If you would like to receive a complimentary assessment of your eligibility for the program, please contact us at [email protected]

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