Understanding the EB2 NIW Timeline for Applicants

Understanding the EB2 NIW Timeline for Applicants

Understanding the EB2 NIW Timeline for Applicants: 2 minutes read

When it comes to immigrant visas to enter the United States, few options have a higher success rate than the EB2 National Interest Waiver (NIW). In fact, according to USCIS, in Q1 of 2023, over 86% of applicant petitions for the EB2 NIW were approved.   


There are several reasons why this type of visa is successful, and why it appeals to applicants. Less known than other popular pathways to the US, such as the H1B, the EB2 NIW is a relatively quick and broad visa to apply for that does not require an employer sponsor and has a smaller applicant pool.  


To briefly cover what the NIW is, it’s a visa option for candidates with advanced degrees and/or exceptional abilities, and who can prove it with ample evidence exhibits such as accolades, publications, and other high profile, validated, and reference-able materials.  


So, just how long does it take for an applicant to petition for and receive approval for the EB2 NIW? 

While a variety of factors can impact the timeline of this waiver, the standard processing time is quite expedited in terms of immigration. Typically, applicants wait anywhere from approximately five to fifteen months, depending on the steps and additional information, such as a request for evidence (RFE) that may be requested. Depending on the processing center backlog, this could be slightly longer. Working with an experienced EB2 NIW attorney can help you ensure you have a compelling (and complete) petition from early on—which should save you time in the overall process from start to finish.  

The process overall looks like this:

  • Complete the I-140 petition with the guidance of an immigration attorney 
  • Wait for approval, RFE, or rejection 
  • Submit evidence as requested  
  • Check for priority date in the visa bulletin (EB2 second preference category) 
  • File I-485 application when a visa number is available  

There is a three step approach that USCIS tends to lean on when evaluating applications, which as as follows: 

  1. The applicant’s proposed endeavor has an impactful benefit to the United States 
  2. The applicant is well revered and well positioned in their area of expertise 
  3. That it would be beneficial to waive DOL certification for this specific candidate   

To keep the process expedited, gathering the evidence that will speak to your case’s credibility can be quite helpful. Items such as awards, publications, licenses, degrees, letters of recommendation from professional mentors or colleagues, pay stubs, and any other records of success will be helpful in positively building your profile.  


If you’re an exceptional foreign national looking to bring your talents to the United States, we encourage you to contact our team of immigration attorneys today. With several years of success in EB2 category visas, your future is in good hands with Loigica.  


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