Are you a scientist or working in a field with National Interest? EB-2 NIW may be right for you

Green card without sponsorship and without attorneys:
you can do it too!

About me: A scientist with a successful greencard application

My name is Oscar and I am just a scientist who a few years ago decided to apply for EB2 NIW permanent residency in the US. Even though I had no other help than a couple of friends who had gone through similar processes, and what I could find online, I ended up sending my application to USCIS.

No lawyers. No high commissions, or long waits. Just the government fees and the processing time as published in the official bulletins. I received my approval in a few months. In this website I tell you more about my case and about this green card category.

I have direct experience with the following visas and green cards: J-1, F-1, F-1 on OPT, H-1B, EB-2 NIW and EB-1. As you can see, I had quite the experience with the US immigration system! 


What can you find here?

In this site I will compile all the information I wish I had when I started this journey of Green Card petitioning. You can also find me on my YouTube channel Oscar’s Green Card

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Not legal advice

I am a scientist, not a lawyer. This website is just for educational, motivational purposes, and is not legal advice. You are free to use this information at your own risk. 

Latest Posts

ETA-9089 form new version
New version of ETA-9089 form
Screenshot of new version of ETA-9089 The Department of Labor has released a statement announcing they will finally issue a new version of form ETA-9089. This form is known as the Application for Labor Certification and EB-2 NIW applicants need to include it in their petition package.  I say “finally” because the current version...
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Retrogression visa bulletin
Understanding Retrogression: What It Means, Why It Happens, and How to Manage It
What is Retrogression? In this blog post, we will discuss the concept of retrogression. Retrogression generally means “the process of returning to an earlier state, typically a worse one”, according to Google. In the context of the green card process, retrogression refers to the backward movement of priority dates, resulting in a longer...
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Azeez success story EB2 NIW civil engineer
EB2 NIW Success Story: Azeez, a civil engineering PhD student
Azzez’s story is one of a Do-It-Yourself man. He clearly has no fear about taking his matters into his own hands. And he did exactly that with his immigration future, when he decided to apply for an EB2 NIW green card all by himself.  He used online resources, such as the USCIS website and my YouTube channel, to educate himself about...
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Mohamed EB2 NIW success story
EB2 NIW Success Story: Mohamed, a finance expert
Mohamed is a financial expert from Egypt. He has over a decade of experience in big projects supporting the industry. This article is a summary of the conversation I had with him for my YouTube channel. In the interview, I asked him about his profile, his proposed endeavor for the United States, what type of evidence he used, his timeline and what advice...
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Domestic visa renewal pilot program
Domestic visa renewal for H-1B and L visas in 2023
The State Department has announced that they will implement a pilot plan to allow H and L visa holders to renew their visas in American soil, Bloomberg Law reports. Until now, visa holders had to travel abroad when their visas were expired or close to expiration. In their home countries, they would request and schedule an interview appointment in their...
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Alfred NIW success story teacher STEM
EB2 NIW success story: Alfred a teacher on STEM
Alfred is a high school teacher with a focus on STEM (which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). In this article we go over an interview I recorded with Alfred for my YouTube channel, which I will also leave at the end of the blog post. In summary, Alfred obtained his EB2 NIW approval is less than two months with regular processing, which...
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New green card design by USCIS
USCIS releases new green card design
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will be issuing a new green card and EAD (employment authorization document) design on January 30, 2023. In a press release, the immigration agency argues that this change will be beneficial in terms of security, as the new design incorporates more modern features...
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Workers laid off in 2022-2023 source
Layoffs and H-1B visas: how to protect yourself
In the recent few months, the United States is going through a layoff wave that has affected hundreds of companies and thousands of workers. According to the website, more than 68,000 employees were laid off in January 2023 from 200+ companies in the tech sector alone. Some of the most well-known organizations engaging in these practices...
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green card petition in one week?
An EB-2 NIW petition in one week?
I receive multiple emails and Youtube comments every single day. Recently, I have been getting messages in which readers or viewers say they want to file an EB2 NIW (National Interest waiver) petition within one week. So I think it is time to stop and think: is it really doable an realistic to believe one can file a green card petition in only seven...
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Premium Processing for EB2 NIW Screenshot from USCIS website
USCIS fully implements Premium Processing for EB2 NIW
USCIS announced on January 12, 2023 that they are making Premium Processing fully available for green card applicants filing under the EB2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) category, as well as those under the EB-1C category for Multinational Executives and Managers. Premium Processing for EB2 NIW will cost $2,500 and will guarantee a decision in 45 calendar...
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Interview waivers 2023
Many in-person nonimmigrant visa interview waivers in 2023
The Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced in December 2022 that they will extend the the visa interview waivers during 2023. This measure may affect thousands of people under nonimmigrant visas in the United States, particularly those on F, H-1, H-2, H-3, H-4, academic J, L, O, P, and Q visas. Conditions for the...
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Summary of USCIS fee increases in 2023
USCIS fees to increase in 2023
The United States Immigrations and Citizenship Services (USCIS) agency has published a proposal that would increase the fees most immigration applicants pay. Among the reasons for this increase, USCIS cites the insufficient revenue collected from petitioners to cover the high workload they have. USCIS funds 96% of their operations through costumer...
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Total number of GC issued
USCIS processed a record number of green cards in 2022
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released their annual report “Fiscal Year 2022 Progress Report”. In this document they summarize the main challenges and progress achieved during the fiscal year, which ran from October 2021 to September 2022.  Key Takeaways from the report The report is an easy-to-read 14 page document...
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Screenshot travel gov website
Guide to Consular Processing for EB2 NIW green card
When applying for a green card there are two paths one can follow once the initial petition is approved by USCIS (this is the famous I-140 for EB2 NIW). If you are in the United States under a visa (for example an F-1 student visa or H-1 working visa), you can apply for an adjustment of status (I-485). This converts your current visa status into lawful...
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USCIS logo
How to prove exceptional ability for EB-2 NIW
The EB2 NIW category of green card has two types of requirements. One is the famous 3-prong system from the Matter of Dhanasar that we have extensively discussed in this blog. The other one is the general second priority employment-based green card requirement. Typically, we refer to it as “advanced degree”, because the petitioner must have...
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The Adjustment of Status for EB2 NIW
Good news: the Adjustment of Status (or I-485) is a much simpler process than the I-140 step. In the I-140 part, you must convince the USCIS officer that you qualify under the National Interest Waiver category (the infamous three Dhanasar prongs!). Now, you only need to submit a lot of documents to prove, among other things, that you have been in good...
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USCIS Fireside chat
USCIS committed to reduce backlogs - but fees may go up soon!
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is not only aware of the backlogs that many applicants suffer, but is committed to find solutions to tackle this problem. Last month, the USCIS Director Ms. Ur Jaddou, and the CIS Ombudsman, Ms. Phyllis Coven, sat down for a rare Fireside chat. This one-hour long conversation was an...
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Hand holding diploma
Evaluation of Education Credentials report for EB2 NIW
One of the requirements for EB2 NIW green card is to have an advanced degree. In some cases, this can be substituted by other achievements such as experience or extraordinary abilities (check out this post to learn about all the requirements).  Many petitioners hold MS or PhD degrees from non US countries. Regardless of the language spoken in those...
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Screenshot USCIS website expands premium processing
USCIS expands Premium Processing for EB2 NIW further
September 2022 – A few months ago we were talking in this blog about how USCIS was aiming for an expansion of Premium Processing to categories of green card that did not have this option. EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) falls in this category.  Last week, on September 15, USCIS moved to the next phase of this staggered approach...
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How to pay the EB2 NIW fees to USCIS?
Many green card applicants asked me how to pay the EB2 NIW fees to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services).  The answer can be found in the official source: the USCIS website. In this article I will provide a summary of what you can find there, and also the relevant links to the source. Recap: How much is the EB2 NIW process going...
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Screenshot of form ETA-9089
Labor Certification form for EB2 NIW: ETA-750 or ETA-9089?
In the EB2 NIW category, the petitioner does not need a labor certification (also referred to as PERM). However, the form relative to this PERM process needs to be enclosed in the I-140 petition together with the I-140 form, the cover letter, and all the attachments even for EB2 NIW.   In this blog post, we will discuss which form to use to...
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Personal statement for EB2 NIW - Photo by Cytonn Photography
Personal Statement for EB2 NIW
When preparing the cover letter for the I-140 petition, it is important to gather and present as much information and evidence as possible. Remember that the I-140 is not just the form, but the whole petition where you should prove you meet all the requirements for EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver). To show you comply with each requirement, you should...
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Separate or concurrent EB2 NIW filing
Concurrent or separate EB2 NIW application?
As for other types of green card petitions, EB2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) allows concurrent or separate I-140 and I-485 filings. In this article, we will learn what these two options are and what advantages or disadvantages they may present so you can use the one that best suits your case. The steps of the EB2 NIW process Unlike other employment-based...
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EB-1A vs EB-2 NIW
EB-1A vs EB-2 NIW : Similarities and Differences
The EB-1A and EB-2 NIW green card categories share similarities such as allowing self-petitioning and requiring high skill levels, but display some differences like wait times, different standards for requirements, or availability of premium processing. In this article, we discuss the EB1 vs EB2 NIW green card categories. By the end of this article,...
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picture of 2 hole punch
How to assemble the I-140 petition for EB2 NIW
In this blog post, we will cover how to assemble the I-140 petition for EB2 NIW. This can be especially interesting for those of you thinking about a do-it-yourself petition. It includes what documents comprise the petition, how to organize them, how to physically bind the application together, and the process of mailing it to the United States Citizenship...
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Scientific Papers
Publications and citations for NIW green card
In this article, we will cover one of the most frequently asked questions for researchers that are considering applying for this green card: how many publications and citations for NIW? Do you need publications for NIW? No, there is no official requirement for publications. This includes peer-reviewed publications, poster or oral presentations at professional...
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EB2 NIW cover letter picture
EB2 NIW cover letter : what it is and how to prepare one
To obtain a National Interest Waiver, a petitioner should provide the evidence to fulfill the requirements. Under EB2 NIW the US government waives the need for a job offer to get a green card. However, one must prove to hold an advanced degree or show exceptional ability. Furthermore, the applicant should clearly explain why their endeavor...
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EB2 NIW Recommendation Letters screenshot
A guide to EB2 NIW Recommendation Letters
Screenshot of EB2 NIW Recommendation LetterThe letters of recommendation for a National Interest Waiver green card application are an important tool to strengthen your case. These letters are technically not a requirement by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, they are a versatile way to demonstrate your experience...
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Scan of Request for Evidence (RFE) letter
How to respond to a Request for Evidence (RFE)
What is a Request for Evidence? Request for Evidence, or RFE, is a letter in which the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) asks for more information. In other words, the officer in charge of the case needs more documentation before making a decision. An officer may issue an RFE for multiple types of applications, including green...
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EB-2 approval rate image of thumbs up
What is the EB-2 approval rate?
Approval and denial rates for EB-2 green card petitions (I-140) The EB-2 approval rate is high, an average of 93%, according to USCIS data. Depending on the year, the I-140 approval rate for this employment-based green card category oscillates between 83 and 96%. When looking at specific approval EB-2 approval rates for petitioners from India and...
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Traveling during green card process
Traveling during green card process
One of the questions I heard the most over the years was: can I travel abroad while waiting to hear from USCIS? Indeed, traveling during the green card process is a hot topic: Can I go to India while waiting to hear back from USCIS about my I-140? Will I have issues if I leave the country before the adjustment of status is completed? Like in most cases...
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Screenshot of Visa Bulletin Website
How to read the Visa Bulletin in 2023 If you have been reading about the green card process, chances are that you heard about the Visa Bulletin. You may have tried to interpret them and maybe you are lost. If that is the case, you came to the right place. In this article, we will explain what is and how to read the Visa Bulletin in 2023. If you prefer, I have...
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Misconceptions about EB-2 NIW
8 misconceptions about EB-2 NIW green card process
The green card process may look complex and scary. There are many misconceptions about EB-2 NIW green cards that need to be debunked. In this article, we go over the main wrong ideas or myths about this permanent residency category to help you navigate this process. Misconception #1: Not having an advanced degree disqualifies you Nothing further from...
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Image of screaming woman
EB2 NIW application mistakes to avoid
Putting together an EB-2 NIW green card application may seem a daunting task. On this website, I compiled important information to guide you through the process. Specifically, this article can help you avoid some common EB2 NIW application mistakes. #1 Outdated forms or no signature The first top mistake is using wrong forms. Particularly, I am referring...
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Screenshot of the Matter of Dhanasar case decision
How to qualify for National Interest Waiver
Screenshot of the Matter of Dhanasar decision The EB-2 National Interest Waiver is different from any other EB-2 visa in that the government waives the requirement for employment certification. However, to be eligible for this green card, the petitioner needs to prove their work is in the national interest. In this article, you can learn how to qualify...
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Premium processing for EB-2 NIW in 2022
One of the drawbacks of filing an EB-2 NIW application until now was that there was no premium processing for this category of green cards. However, this has changed slightly recently. Indeed, there is EB2 NIW Premium processing in 2022, but it is only available for certain cases for now.  In May 2022, the US government announced that certain petitions...
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EB-2 NIW processing time
The EB-2 NIW processing time can be from 6 months to a few years. The I-140 portion of the process can take between 3 months to 2 years, depending on the moment of submission. This can be reduced to 45 days using Premium Processing, which is available for I-140 in the EB2 NIW category since January 30, 2023. The I-485 adjustment of status portion...
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How much does the application for EB2 NIW cost?
The  total EB2 NIW cost for the green card process for one individual ranges from $2,175 to $2,950 without hiring attorneys, to approximately $10,000 when attorneys are hired (this cost varies depending on what firm is selected). In this article we will break down the costs of the EB2 National Interest Waiver application for permanent residency,...
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