EB2 NIW - Exceptional Ability

Program Overview

  • EB-2 is a type of Employment-Based Immigration program in the United States (US), it is also called Second Preference Visa.
  • There are two sub-categories under EB-2 with different requirements:
    • EB-2 Advanced Degree
    • EB-2 Exceptional Ability
  • EB-2 Exceptional Ability applicant must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, or business with a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the fields.
  • EB-2 Exceptional Ability applicant must meet at least 3 of the 7 evidence criteria below:
    1. Official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to your area of exceptional ability
    2. Letters from current or former employers documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation
    3. A license to practice your profession or certification for your profession or occupation
    4. Evidence that you have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability
    5. Membership in a professional association(s)
    6. Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations
    7. Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable
  • EB-2 applicant with a National Interest Waiver (NIW) waives the request of job offer and labour certification in the interest of the US under the 3 factors below:
    1. The proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance
    2. The applicant is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor
    3. On balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer, and thus the labor certification
  • Spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be eligible to apply for green cards.
  • Processing time is estimated within 24 months based on 80% of cases. It may change at the sole discretion of the US government.

Program Requirements

  1. Advantages of EB-2 NIW program:
    1. No need of a job offer from a US employer
    2. No need of labour certification process
    3. Flexible with job changing option
    4. Faster processing with concurrent filing of petition and permanent residency application
    5. Premium processing option is available.


  1. Applicant must:
    1. be at least 18 years old;
    2. have no criminal record; and
    3. be able to provide evidence documents to support their extraordinary ability.

Application Process

Applicant submits required documents such as Passports with Visa Stamps, Birth Certificates, Photo IDs, Photos, Evidence Documents, Financial Documents, Letters of Recommendation, Bank Statements, as well as Questionnaire Forms.


    1. I-140
      1. Applicant can file a “self-petition” on the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) I-140 form without any job offer from a US employer.
      2. The immigrant applicant can choose either I-140 regular processing (US$700) or premium processing (for an additional US$2,500). The premium processing guarantees faster response (45 days) from USCIS whereas the regular processing will take up to 9 months to be processed. Processing time varies and is solely up to the US government.
      3. Applicant can file I-485 form concurrently with I-140 form.


  1. I-485 / DS-260
    1. Applicant in the US can file I-485 form (US$1,140) for adjustment of status.
    2. Applicant outside the US can file DS-260 form (US$220) online for an immigrant visa upon the approval of the I-140 application.
    3. After submitting the DS-260 application and required documents, the immigrant petition will be forwarded to a US consulate of the Applicant’s country. An interview is usually scheduled within a month from the issue of an Interview Notice.