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How do you measure “business success” in an NIW petition? How does the government evaluate the merits of a business endeavor?

Business success

Especially after the favorable USCIS policy manual updates since 2022, EB2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) has become an increasingly popular pathway to a green card for entrepreneurs. In determining whether the NIW could be a viable option for an entrepreneur, the most important question is the merits of the entrepreneur’s specific business project. Then what are the standards the government uses to evaluate the merits of a business endeavor?

Revenue generation

The scale of revenues is one of the first metrics that a government officer may look for, that gives a snapshot of the market traction the business has garnered. Especially relevant for entrepreneurs on E2 status who have already been operating their business, it is important to collect and submit corporate tax returns that show their business has been generating significant revenues.

Profitability, Cash Flow

Similar to revenue generation, profitability and cash flow is another metric that can support the merits of a business’s unique offerings, and also show that the business has already garnered significant interest from relevant industry actors. Bank account statements or audited financial statements showing such metrics could be helpful forms of evidence, in addition to the corporate tax returns.


In some cases, the growth potential of the business can be quantified as a valuation of the business, calculated by an independent (third-party) accounting firm. Depending on the business, the valuation could even show a figure that is multiple times higher than the nominal revenues the business is bringing in each year. It could be helpful in that case to include such third-party valuation reports.

Customer Adoption

Finally, customer adoption is another useful metric that businesses could rely on to show the traction they have garnered from the public and industry. For example, if a company has developed an innovative mobile app to streamline healthcare provision, the petitioner can show the number of users this app has been distributed to and has impacted – which can go up to the tens of thousands – in support of the substantial merit and national importance the business endeavor can have.

Other metrics can be of equal importance

In addition to the above, businesses can prove their merit through a number of other metrics that can have equal importance. For example: Intellectual property (patents) owned by either the founder or the business itself, can show the business is offering a significant innovation to the field. Published material about the petitioner, the petitioner’s entity, or both, evidencing public and industry recognition. Receipt of awards or grants from government entities. Contracts with leading industry actors, such as Google, can also support the fact that the business is already recognized as a top player.


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