FAQ: What Are the Steps in the EB-2 NIW Process?

Let’s break down some of the major steps you, the foreign national seeking permanent residence, take to obtain permanent residence through the EB-2 National Interest Waiver.

The First Step: Filing the Petition Along with Supporting Documents

You, or any person on your behalf, kickstarts the permanent residence process by filing a petition, Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers).

Alongside the Form I-140, you (we’ll assume you will be the petitioner) must file supporting documents showing you deserve inclusion into the EB-2 preference category. Put differently, you must file supporting documents showing you are Advanced-Degree Professional or an Exceptional-Ability Worker.

Also, alongside the Form I-140, you must file supporting documents showing you qualify for and merit a waiver of, in the national interest, the job offer requirement and labor certification requirement that typically must be met in EB-2 cases.[1]

The Second Step: Filing the Adjustment of Status Application or the Immigrant Visa Application

If you’re in the US

Generally, if you’re not from India or China,  you’ll be able to submit an adjustment of status application, Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) and related materials at the same time you submit the Form I-140 and related materials. Whether you should submit the Form I-485 when you submit the Form I-140 is another story. Under your application to adjust status to the status of a permanent resident, you’ll likely have an in-person interview. Should all go well, you’ll become a US permanent resident.

(It is worth noting that if you are eligible for adjustment of status and you wish to apply to adjust your status, you may submit the Form I-485 after submitting the Form I-140.)

If you’re outside of US

If you’re outside of the US (or if you are inside the US but not eligible to apply for Adjustment of Status), you will need to apply for an immigrant abroad, at a US consulate or embassy. You will also need to submit supporting documents to support your immigrant visa application. And, as an immigrant visa applicant, you will have a visa interview at a consulate or embassy.

[1] If the worker is eligible for a waiver of the job offer requirement on national interest grounds, the labor certification requirement will also be waived.