From the recent surge of commercial pilots applying for the USA EB2 National Interest Waiver, it can lead some to presume this program is specific to pilots – nothing could be further from the truth.

To clarify, the EB2 category is part of the US employment-based immigration programs, designed for professionals holding advanced degrees or possessing exceptional ability. It is not a program specific to pilots, but instead is focused on the individual itself and whether they meet the criteria for exceptional ability in their respective field.

The "National Interest Waiver" category of the EB2 waives the job offer requirement and the subsequent US labour certification on the basis that having this individual in the US is in its national interest. As a result of this job offer waiver, successful applicants can instead work in a variety of positions and employers and their immigration status is not bound to their job status with a particular employer. This is in direct contrast to other employment-based visas, since the NIW program allows foreign nationals to the freedom to navigate various employers in their areas of expertise.

Upon a successful application, the applicant and their accompanying dependents (spouses, and dependent children under 21-years-old) would receive an unconditional green card valid for 10 years. Should the applicant and their dependents meet the residency requirements of citizenship, they will be eligible to apply for US citizenship within 5 years of holding their green card.

To qualify for the EB2 National Interest Waiver, applicants must meet specific criteria:

  1. Exceptional Ability: Applicants must demonstrate outstanding expertise and exceptional skills in their profession, usually through sustained national or international acclaim.
  2. Advanced Degree: Alternatively, candidates may possess an advanced degree or its equivalent in their field.
  3. National Interest: The crux of the application lies in proving that the individual's work is of substantial intrinsic merit and has a significant positive impact on the United States' national interests.

A myriad of individuals, including professionals in the STEM fields, distinguished entrepreneurs, business management personnel, acclaimed persons in the arts, and others were all successful candidates for the EB2 NIW program. As such, a large variety of individuals have found success through this program and a new life in the US.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to mention that the EB2 NIW program is a discretionary one – the success of which rests on the immigration officer reviewing the file. As such, it is imperative that the initial petition submitted is carefully drafted and prepared to fully demonstrate how the applicant meets the EB2 criteria. We encourage those interested in the EB2 National Interest Waiver to speak with one of our lawyers to evaluate and discuss their options available.

At the end of the day, we understand that often immigration can be an overwhelming and daunting experience. Whether you are retiring abroad, starting a business, or looking to obtain a second citizenship without having to reside in a particular country, the USA EB2 NIW program offers a wide range of benefits that may suit your needs. If you are interested in learning more, please contact your local HLG office here for more details. Founded in 1992, Harvey Law Group (HLG) is a leading multinational law firm headquartered in Hong Kong. Our lawyers are based across Asia, North and South America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to cater to your specific needs for immigration and beyond.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.