A lot of immigrants have been wondering what the best immigration preference to apply for during this economic climate could be. Could it be the National Interest Waiver (NIW) or Employment-Based Immigration First Preference EB-1 Extraordinary Ability visa?
With this publication, we will uncover valuable insights of immigration attorneys that can point you in the right direction while we then let you decide which best fits your preference during this economic climate.
An Overview of the National Interest Waiver (NIW)
The National Interest Waiver (NIW) is a powerful option for highly qualified foreign national who poses exceptional ability in art, science, and business, and any other relevant fields. To be qualified for a national interest waiver, the applicant’s presence must substantially benefit the national economy, health, educational, cultural interests or welfare of the United States. A successful NIW applicant must satisfy a three-pronged test to be granted a waiver of the labor certification requirement which includes:
- The applicant’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance,
- The applicant is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor, and
- It would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer and labor certification regarding the applicant.
The NIW waives the labor certification process and the necessity of having an offer of employment or being sponsored by an employer to get a visa. Often, there is no wait time for EB-2 visa availability, unless you are from a country where the visa numbers are retrogressed. National interest waivers are appropriate based on the applicant’s educational and professional background.
An Overview of the EB-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa
EB-1 is a first-preference work visa. Applications are subject to enhanced scrutiny by immigration officials. It is one of the most difficult visas to acquire. The EB-1 is awarded to individuals who have shown extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through consistent national or international acclaim with recognizable achievements. You may also be eligible for an employment-based first-preference visa if you are an outstanding professor or researcher, or are a multinational executive or manager. Applicants who can demonstrate their extraordinary ability are not required to have a permanent offer of employment or undergo labor certification process. They are eligible to self-petition, however, they must intend to work in the U.S. in their field of expertise. One outstanding benefit of the EB-1 is that immigrant visas is in most cases immediately available. Any individuals who are interested in applying for EB-1 extraordinary ability visa must show that he or she either holds a major international award (Nobel Prize, Olympic medal, among others) or meet at least three out of the ten following criteria:
- Evidence of receipt of national or international awards
- Evidence of membership to an association that demands exemplary achievement
- Evidence of published material about the applicant in professional or major trade publications or other major media
- Evidence of significant and original scholarly, artistic, scientific, or business-related contributions to a specific field
- Evidence of authorship of articles in renowned media or trade publications
- Evidence that the applicant has been requested to judge work by others in the field
- Evidence that the applicant has worked or occupied a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
- Evidence that applicant’s work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases
- Evidence that the applicant commands a high salary or remuneration from others in that field
- Evidence of applicant’s commercial successes in the performing arts
Similarities Between National Interest Waiver and EB-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa
- The EB-2 National Interest Waiver and all EB-1 categories do not require Labor Certification.
- The EB-1 Extraordinary Ability and EB-2 NIW categories can be self-petitioned; i.e., you do not even need an offer of employment and your employer’s sponsorship. However, for EB-2 Outstanding Researcher or Professor petition, you need a job offer and your employer’s sponsorship.
- You can submit both NIW and EB-1 petitions at the same time to increase your approval chance if you meet their qualification requirements.
Things To Look Out For
Getting an Extraordinary Ability Visa is not easy task because the standards are so high. However, you may qualify for EB-1 visa if you can prove that you have an established expertise in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. USCIS officers will exercise their discretion in the evaluation of your case.
The EB-2 NIW visa is considered a second preference employment visa. Priority dates for this type of visa also depend on an applicant’s country of origin. For this reason, EB-2 NIW visa applicants from certain countries have historically been waiting longer for availability of the visa than when applying for the EB-1 visa.
How Our Immigration Attorneys Can Help
To ensure that you are making the best decision for your case, it’s a great idea to have an immigration attorney where an experienced immigration lawyer can handle your case.
At CFUIS, we assign an experienced immigration attorney that will help you decide which is the best option between the EB-1 and the NIW for self-sponsorship, as well as help you put together the documents that you will need.