USA EB-2 NIW Ultimate Guide

USA EB-2 NIW Immigration Program for Experienced Pilots

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Commercial Airline Pilots are “Flying” to America

The EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) is a visa created for foreign professionals of exceptional ability and an advanced academic background who can make valuable contributions to the American economy.

A pilot shortage in 2023?

This visa has recently become particularly relevant for experienced pilots as the American aviation industry is suffering a severe shortage of pilots.

A CNBC report last week estimated that there are currently at least 8,000 pilot vacancies or about 11% of the total workforce of 90,000. In addition, it is forecasted by 2025, the number of vacancies will rise to 30,000 with retirements, natural attrition, and industry growth. Over the next 20 years, there will be 260,000 positions available for experienced pilots in America.


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 NIW 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.

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.)


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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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