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The advantages of NIW over other visa categories for highly skilled professionals

A group og highly skilled professionals

Many highly skilled workers aspire to obtain a visa or green card to pursue their professional goals in the United States, but often find themselves struggling to fit their cases within the right category. For highly skilled professionals, the EB2 National interest waiver (NIW) green card provides a unique pathway to U.S. permanent residency that could fill in the gaps of other, more restrictive visa categories. This post will discuss some of the advantages of the NIW over other visa categories.

1. NIW does not require a job offer

One of the most definitive advantages of the NIW over other visa categories is that it does not require a job offer from a U.S. employer, unlike common visa options such as the H-1B. NIW allows individuals to self-petition for a U.S. green card without an employer sponsor. This makes it an attractive option for self-employed applicants or entrepreneurs, who need and welcome the freedom of not being tied down to one particular employer.

2. Flexibility in the type of work

NIW can be applicable for any field of industry, as long as the applicant can show their work has broader implications for that particular field. By contrast, other visa options such as the TN and H1B is only available for certain types of positions. For example, it may difficult for an artist to qualify for TN or H1B visas, but an artist may succeed in obtaining a green card through NIW if the artist can show their work will broadly enhance cultural or artistic enrichment in the United States.

3. Faster processing times than other employer-sponsored green card options

Another significant advantage is that the NIW is that it is one of the fastest options to obtain a U.S. green card through employment, second only to the EB1, extraordinary ability green card category.  This is because the NIW allows applicants to bypass the time-consuming labor certification process that is required for the traditional employer-sponsored green card pathways. This significantly reduces processing times and costs.  With premium processing now available, which guarantees USCIS response on the I-140 petition within 45 calendar days, EB2 NIW is increasingly becoming a preferred fast-track pathway to a green card.

4. A more accessible category than EB1A

Many highly skilled applicants compare the EB2 NIW with the EB1, extraordinary ability green card pathway, both of which allow an applicant to self-petition for a US green card. While the EB1 extraordinary ability green card is usually processed faster than the EB2 NIW and tends to be relatively free from backlogs, the EB1 category is highly restrictive and is reserved only to individuals at the very top of their careers, who are among the top 1% of their fields. By contrast, even professionals relatively at the beginning of their careers may well qualify for an EB2 NIW provided they can prove their work has national importance, and they are well positioned to advance this work. The EB2 NIW is a more flexible category, which makes it more accessible to a wider variety of professionals at various stages of their careers.

In conclusion, the EB2 NIW is a unique pathway to a U.S. green card that offers several key advantages. The ability to self-petition, flexibility in the type of work, faster processing times, and being a more accessible category for a wider variety of professionals make it an advantageous choice for many. While preparing an NIW petition requires significant effort and investment, many highly skilled applicants may find that NIW could serve as the best vehicle for developing their future projects in the U.S.

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