FAQ: What Is the Difference Between a Regular EB-2 Petition and an NIW EB-2 Petition?

In this blog post, we’ll look at the principal difference between the regular EB-2 petition and the National Interest Waiver (NIW) EB-2 petition.

The principal difference is that, in regular EB-2 petitions, the petitioner (who must be–in the case of a regular EB-2 petition–a US employer) petitions on behalf of the foreign national, without seeking to waive the job offer and labor certification requirements that generally must be met.

This US-employer petitioner must, along with the petition (Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers), submit a labor certification. A labor certification certifies that the foreign worker is not replacing a qualified, available US worker who wants the job. Getting a labor certification, from the Department of Labor, requires that the US-employer petitioner run advertisements, interview applicants, reject–in good faith–applicants, and more. All of this means that before the US employer can file the Form I-140, the employer must participate in an effort, expense, and time-requiring process.

In contrast, the NIW EB-2 petitioner need not file a labor certification alongside the petition.

However, a NIW EB-2 petitioner (who may be–in the case of an NIW EB-2 petition–the foreign national herself) must, alongside with the NIW I-140, file documents showing that the job offer requirement and the labor certification requirement should be waived in the national interest.