If you are a pilot with exceptional ability and/or an advanced degree, you can obtain a National Interest Waiver (NIW) and self-petition for your own green card without a job offer or a labor certification (PERM).

The National Interest Waiver (NIW) visa is part of an employment-based second preference section of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). It is applicable to those who are foreign nationals holding advanced degrees or those who possess exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.

Typically, an applicant for an employment-based visa must present an approved labor certification and a permanent job offer from a U.S. employer. For EB 2-NIW, these requirements shall be waived if the talents and skills would be in the National Interest of the United States.

What are the types of EB 2-NIW petitions?

  1. Advanced Degree- those individuals with advanced degrees (master’s degree or higher) or those with a bachelor’s degree plus five (5) years of progressive experience in the field may qualify for the EB2-NIW category.
  2. Exceptional Ability- those individuals with exceptional ability in arts, sciences, or business that will significantly advance the future welfare, economy, or cultural interests of the U.S may also qualify for this category.

The applicant must provide any of the three (3) requirements as proof of exceptional ability:

  • Official academic record showing that the applicant has a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university or other institution of learning relating to the area of exceptional ability; 
  • Letter from current or former employers documenting at least ten (10) years of experience;
  • A license to practice a profession or certification for a profession or occupation;
  • Evidence of a salary or other remuneration for services demonstrating exceptional ability; 
  • Membership in a professional association; or
  • Recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by peers, governmental entities, or professional, or business organizations.

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