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What are the Threshold Requirements for the National Interest Waiver (NIW)?

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Before you start considering applying for the National Interest Waiver (NIW), it’s crucial to understand the threshold requirements you must meet to qualify under the EB-2 category. Here’s a detailed breakdown of these prerequisites. You should keep in mind that these requirements are what has to be looked at just to be considered. After you meet these, the hard part begins.  You can see many videos on NIW on our YouTube channel.

Basic Eligibility for EB-2 Category

To qualify for the NIW, you first need to meet the basic requirements of the EB-2 category. This involves one of two key qualifications:

  1. Advanced Degree:
    • You must hold an advanced degree, which is defined as a master’s degree or higher.
    • Alternatively, a bachelor’s degree plus at least five years of progressive post-bachelor’s work experience in your field can be considered equivalent to an advanced degree.
  2. Exceptional Ability:
    • If you do not have an advanced degree, you can qualify based on exceptional ability in your field. Exceptional ability refers to a level of expertise that is far superior to what is typically seen in the fields of science, the arts, or business.
    • The U.S. government lists seven criteria for exceptional ability, and you must meet at least three of these criteria to qualify.

Criteria for Exceptional Ability

Here are the seven criteria used to determine exceptional ability. Meeting at least three is necessary to qualify:

  1. Official Academic Record:
    • An official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to your area of exceptional ability.
  2. Letters from Current or Former Employers:
    • Documentation in the form of letters from current or former employers showing that you have at least ten years of full-time experience in your occupation.
  3. License to Practice Your Profession:
    • A license to practice your profession or certification for your profession or occupation.
  4. Evidence of Salary or Remuneration:
    • Evidence that you have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability.
  5. Membership in Professional Associations:
    • Evidence of membership in professional associations.
  6. Recognition for Achievements:
    • Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations.
  7. Other Comparable Evidence:
    • Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also accepted.


Meeting the threshold requirements for the NIW involves demonstrating that you qualify under the EB-2 category, either through an advanced degree or exceptional ability. Understanding and gathering the necessary documentation to support your qualifications is the first step towards a successful NIW application.

For more detailed guidance on the NIW requirements and how to prepare your application, explore our free resources and schedule a consultation with our expert immigration attorneys.

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