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How to write a proposed endeavor that meets the national importance criteria?

Writing a proposed endeavor on laptop

A statement of proposed endeavor is one of the most important elements of an EB2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) green card petition. USCIS relies on the statement of proposed endeavor, and supporting documents supporting the importance of the proposed endeavor, to determine whether the applicant’s proposed endeavor has “substantial merit and national importance.”

As illustrated by a series of AAO cases discussing NIW petitions for engineer applicants, even among applicants with similar credentials, a different outcome can result from a differently prepared proposed endeavor. These AAO cases also give some insight into what elements to include in a proposed endeavor that is likely to be persuasive for substantial merit and national importance.

1. Developing and implementing new processes or products that may offer advantages beyond what is currently available in the market.

In one AAO case discussing an NIW petition by an engineer, who proposed to continue operating a electrical contracting and construction business focused on making upgrades for sustainable and energy efficient solutions. The petitioner argued this work would advance U.S. national priorities to respond to climate change. However, to indicate a potential to have a broad enough impact, the government looked for evidence the company would develop and implement any new processes or products that may offer advances in energy savings beyond what is currently available on the market. By contrast, simply proposing to implement sustainable practices and energy efficient technologies which are already in use did not rise to the level of national importance.

In another AAO case, the self-petitioner, a computer network architect, proposed to open his own company specializing in providing advice and consultancy services in IT, cybersecurity, and computer networking. To indicate a potential to impact the field of IT more broadly, the government looked for evidence on how the petitioner’s services were different, better, or cost less than existing IT/cybersecurity services. If the petitioner claimed to have developed new cybersecurity measures, the case would hold more potential for national importance. By contrast, plans limited to implementing or installing cybersecurity measures already known and in existence would not rise to the level of national importance.

2. Distributing products or services on a large scale that rises to the level of national importance.

Another way a Petitioner could meet the “national importance” requirement is by showing that the Petitioner’s work would advance U.S. policy objectives on a large scale. For example, a different AAO case discussed an NIW petition for a developer of a mobile app, who proposed to develop and distribute an app to assist individuals with disabilities with scheduling appointments, filing prescriptions, and tracking medical records, and easily find relevant resources.  The AAO noted the fact that this app could be distributed to millions of people who would benefit from the improved accessibility to services, and found the potential impact to rise to a level of national importance.

3. Potential to broadly enhance social welfare.

In another AAO case, the petitioner proposed to operate a small consulting firm to coordinate various non-profit and governmental groups to undertake projects to improve services to veterans and wounded warriors, and facilitate their re-integration into productive society. The potential to improve existing programs, and letters of interest from leading U.S. organizations that provide support and advocacy to U.S. veterans describing the need for this work was a significant positive factor to find national importance.

Similarly, the AAO found that a mobile app developer’s plans to distribute a mobile app to improve the quality of life with people with physical and intellectual disabilities presented a potential for broadly enhancing societal welfare, in part due to the nature of a mobile app that can be downloaded by millions of people.


In sum, a successful proposed endeavor may indicate the potential of qualitatively advancing the field, such as by developing new procedures or products that offer improvements over conventional solutions, involve distribution in a large scale, or offer the potential to broadly enhance societal welfare.

To learn more about applying for a green card through an EB2 NIW petition, check out our resources below. You can also schedule a consultation at a time and date convenient for you.

Related posts:

The 4 steps of building a successful NIW case in any field


How can I show my work will have a broad impact in my field?


Can I secure an NIW approval with a small consulting firm?

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