Updated: Jun 10
This post is part of ProfVal’s series on the EB class of visas. Nothing posted here or anywhere on ProfVal.com is legal advice. ProfVal, LLC offers various services to support EB-2 NIW petitions, which include: EB-2 NIW Professional Plans, EB-2 NIW Expert Opinion Letters, and academic transcript equivalence evaluations (3rd party service). The purpose of this post is to help petitioners understand the type of content that would be included within an EB-2 NIW professional plan.
In this post:
A brief review of the EB-2 NIW visa and the core elements of Dhanasar (2016)
Content that is commonly included within an EB-2 NIW Professional Plan
The USCIS will commonly request an EB-2 NIW Professional Plan and/or EB-2 NIW Expert Opinion Letters within an RFE
Reminders of the various supporting documents that may be included in an EB-2 NIW petition
An overview of the EB-2 NIW
The Employment-Based, second preference visa (EB-2) is a permanent visa category available for certain persons who have earned an advanced degree or qualify as individuals of exceptional ability (read more about the EB-2 visa). An individual can either be sponsored by an employer who completes a Labor Certification Application (LCA) or can self-sponsor, which is where the EB-2 becomes more interesting.
Self-sponsorship provides highly capable individuals the option to apply for a green card without the encumbrance of being bound to a particular employer. It can thus be especially appealing for entrepreneurs, small business owners, managers, medical professionals, consultants, and other experienced professionals. Self-sponsorship, however, adds additional challenges to the petition.
Here is why.
Self-sponsoring through the EB-2 NIW
To self-sponsor, a petitioner must do so based on the USCIS’s acceptance of the claim that the approval of their visa aligns to the national interests of the United States America and is therefore deserving of a National Interest Waiver (NIW), thus leading to the EB-2 NIW sub-category.
When a petitioner’s endeavor will demonstrably benefit the United States, the approval of their petition aligns to the stated bipartisan intent of the 1990 Immigration Act that created the EB-2 NIW and other visas. The intent of the Act was simple; it was and remains to strengthen the United States via the contributions of immigrant workers.
In assessing a petitioner’s EB-2 NIW case, the USCIS will often request in an RFE a variety of documents including support letters, proof of EB-2 credentials, expert opinion letters related to EB-2 NIW criteria, and a petitioner’s professional plan.
What types of things are often included within an EB-2 NIW professional plan?
General Content within an EB-2 NIW Professional Plan
As a reminder, your immigration attorney should review all of your documents and may advocate a different approach. The customized approach developed by ProfVal and upon which this paper references is based on our significant experience with this category and our interpretation of the prongs of Dhanasar 2016, an important legal precedent for the EB-2 NIW.
An EB-2 NIW professional plan from Profval is a 10-15 page document that formalizes how his or her endeavor meets the criteria for the EB-2 NIW. Accordingly, an EB-2 NIW professional plan should be specific to your endeavor and may include the following sections:
Executive Summary: an overview of the endeavor, the petitioner’s credentials that position him/her to succeed in the endeavor, and a brief explanation demonstrating why the U.S. will benefit from the endeavor in areas related to Dhanasar (2016).
An in-depth discussion of the endeavor: USCIS may issue an EB-2 NIW RFE if it is unclear to the USCIS agent what the petitioner intends to do. This provides a discussion of the endeavor and also focuses on the prongs of Dhanasar (2016). When written by ProfVal, it cites relevant sources that may be referenced by the USCIS.
Detailed credentials discussion: after describing the endeavor, this section includes an in-depth discussion of the petitioner’s credentials related to the EB-2 categories of exceptional ability or advanced degree. The team at ProfVal.com believe that it is not just important to mention credentials, but also to explain in understandable terms why the petitioner's credentials position him or her to succeed in the endeavor.
For exceptional ability, these include:
10+ years of work experience with a reference to support letters
Certifications and licensure, which may include a U.S. equivalence evaluation
A salary discussion based on regional salary standards as per US government data
Memberships in professional associations
Recognition by peers based on support letters
Other evidence. For many clients, this may relate to EB-1 criteria such as scholarly publications, published material about the petitioner’s work, contributions within their field, or judging the work of others.
NIW Discussion: As per Dhanasar (2016), one can qualify for the EB-2 NIW visa if they demonstrate that: 1) their endeavor has substantial merit and national importance, 2) they are well-positioned to succeed in the endeavor, and 3) that the United States would benefit by waiving the requirement of a job offer and thus waiving the labor certification requirement. Depending on a petitioner’s endeavor, the composition of these sections may vary.
Certain key factors may be important and can include: a customized, in-depth, and relevant discussion of the industries related to the endeavor based on trends and other forces that affect the United States; discussions of areas of potential impact (economic, cultural, jobs, health, government focus areas); and other areas that demonstrate that the endeavor meets the prongs of Dhanasar (2016).
A conclusion that highlights some of the core elements of the plan.
This approach is consistent with and developed based upon successful petitions seen by ProfVal’s team. The approach does not, of course, provide a guarantee of acceptance of an individual’s petition. This professional plan does not in anyway constitute legal advice. If you are working on your EB-2 NIW professional plan, we hope that this document was of value to you.
Other pages you may find interesting:
ProfVal.com and H1Bexpert.com recognize the contributions made by immigrants and routinely share content to help them learn more about the visa process. ProfVal is dedicated to helping companies and nonprofits through its services and to producing social impact. ProfVal is a proud member of Pledge 1% and has committed to donating no less than 3% of profits to charities and nonprofits dedicated to promoting social welfare and education (learn more at profval.org).