What is the Difference Between a Regular EB2 and an EB2 with National Interest Waiver?

What is the Difference Between a Regular EB2 and an EB2 with National Interest Waiver? They are vastly…

What is the Difference Between a Regular EB2 and an EB2 with National Interest Waiver?

They are vastly different in terms of their requirements, processing times, and the documentation required for each. Generally, an EB2 visa or other employment- based visas require a formal employment offer for an applicant to be eligible to apply. Additionally, it requires a Labor Certification from the Department of Labor.

On the other hand, an EB2 with a National Interest Waiver (NIW), does not require an employment offer. The applicant is not required to go through the labor certification process with the Department of Labor -As  long as the petitioner (applicant) can prove that their admittance to the United States would be of national benefit.

The following individuals are eligible to apply for an EB2-NIW:

  • A foreign national who meets the educational requirements (either a masters degree or a bachelor’s degree with at least 5 years of work experience in their field), and
  • A foreign national who meets the three-prong test in Matter of Dhanasar decision listed below:
  1. The proposed endeavor has substantial merit and national importance
  2. The applicant is capable of advancing the proposed endeavor
  3. Substantial benefits for the “national interest” of the United States

What type of evidence can entrepreneurs use to meet the 3 prong test to qualify for a National Interest Waiver?

In January of 2022, The United States introduced policy guidance that specifically recognizes incubator and accelerator participation as an endorsement of the substantial merit of the foreign entrepreneur’s proposed endeavor and the entrepreneur’s own qualifications.  Awards and grants from federal, state, or local government entities with expertise in economic development, R&D, or job creation, are also valuable in showing all three prongs of Dhanasar. The entrepreneur’s ownership interest and/or active and central role as an officer in the U.S. company may also go toward proving that the entrepreneur is well positioned to advance the endeavor. Last but not least, the January 2022 policy guidance instructs USCIS officers to consider growth metrics for the start-up entity as related to revenue generation, job creation in the U.S., and the entrepreneur’s contribution to both.


If you’re interested in participating in our EB2-NIW Startup Investor Visa Program with our internationally recognized incubator, please fill out our online inquiry form located here.


About Empowered Startups
Empowered Startups is an Innovative Startup Incubator and foundry headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. With offices in Canada, the United States, France, and Portugal, we train/mentor/ and network entrepreneurs to successfully launch new businesses in diverse markets. As a foundry we also conceive, build and launch our own products and solutions. Our training tools and mentorship are used and recognized by leading global university labs, Startup incubators, and innovation hubs.