The EB1 VS The EB2 NIW Visa

The EB1 and EB2 visas have distinct requirements, and as a result, the application and documentation needed for each differ significantly.

The EB1 VS The EB2 NIW Visa

For applicants intending to work and live in the United States, obtaining lawful permanent residency by getting a green card or work visa is commonly their primary goal. With a green card, the cardholder can live in the U.S. permanently. They can work and make a living in the U.S. They can also leave the U.S. on a short-term basis and come back freely.

Still, getting approved for a green card can be difficult. There are specific steps that an individual can take to attain legal permanent residency. Among the more popular choices is through an employment-based visa, such as the EB1 and EB2-NIW (National Interest Waiver) visas.

The requirements for the EB1 (EB1 Extraordinary Ability, and EB1 Outstanding Researcher or Professor) and National Interest Waiver (EB2-NIW visas are quite different, and the application and documentation required are significantly different between these two types of visa. An immigrant could qualify for EB2 National Interest Waiver and be ineligible for an EB1 Extraordinary Ability (EB-1A) and EB1 Outstanding Researcher or Professor (EB-1B).


The EB-1 group has three distinct categories. An EB-1A visa is the first choice for visa applicants who are leaders in the fields of art, business, science, education, or athletics.

EB-1A – This category is exclusively for applicants with extraordinary abilities. The applicant must demonstrate that they fall within the top percentile in their field. The EB-1A category has 10 different eligibility criteria. However, an applicant must satisfy at least three of the 10 requirements to qualify. Applicants typically submit international awards, exclusive memberships, or verifiable salary history to prove that they meet the criteria. Applicants can apply for the EB-1A without a job offer or sponsoring employer.

EB-1B – The category is for applicants who are professors or outstanding researchers. To be eligible, the applicant must show their contributions to their specific field of study or research. Additionally, the applicant must have three years of experience, international recognition, and a job offer for a permanent position. Additionally, this category also has six separate eligibility criteria, and applicants must meet a least two of these six.

EB-1C –The last category of the EB1 green card is tailored towards the executives and managers of international companies that have a branch in the U.S. and at least one other nation. To qualify, you need to meet the USCIS criteria for executives and managers. You must also have functioned as an executive or supervisor in the firm’s international branch for a minimum of one year in the three years before your EB-1C application.

As such, this is a difficult green card to obtain for those in the U.S. under a nonimmigrant visa classification like the L-1 or H-1B visas. The EB-1 visa does not require the PERM Labor Certification.


An EB-2 visa is another option for immigrants applying for an employment visa. The EB2 visa is designed for applicants who have earned advanced degrees. Alternatively, applicants who have demonstrated exceptional aptitude in business, science, or art fields, can apply for an EB-2 visa. Notably, applicants who have succeeded in athletics or academics are not eligible for an EB-2 visa but are eligible under the EB-1 category.

The EB-2 visa category requires an employment offer in addition to a PERM Labor Certification. However, an applicant can waive these requirements by seeking an EB2-NIW Visa, which doesn’t require either. To be eligible, the USCIS office must determine that a waiver of these requirements would be in the national interest of the U.S. to approve this applicant. The applicant must supply specific documentation to support their EB-2 NIW visa application.

EB-1 Visas Compared to EB-2 Visas

EB-1 Visas Compared to EB-2 Visas

Both the EB2 NIW and the EB1 visas have unique benefits over employment-based visas requiring a candidate to go through the Labor Certification Process.

For applicants to obtain either visa, they must thoroughly document their experience and qualifications. An experienced immigration attorney can assist you with assembling a successful application and completing the required immigration forms and paperwork for your immigration petition.

Benefits of EB1 Visa

In general, the EB-1 visa is more beneficial and prestigious than the EB2-NIW. As such, the EB2-NIW visa is most applicants’ second choice. Additionally, the EB2-NIW visa procedure has traditionally been longer than the application process for an EB-1 visa.

The main benefit of the EB-1A visa is that it doesn’t require a candidate to have a sponsoring employer or a job offer. Also, the top priority date waiting time is typically much shorter for the EB-1A visa than for the EB-2 NIW visa. The EB-1A visa is exceptionally hard to certify for under present law. This visa is scheduled for people in the top percentile of their field. Overall, the USCIS officers have a large amount of discretion over each case.

Benefits of EB2-NIW

By either the degree requirement or extraordinary ability, the requirement for eligibility for the EB-2 NIW is lower than petitioning for an EB-1A visa. The primary benefit of an EB2-NIW is that it is open to a larger pool of applicants instead of those who are leaders of their field. Like the EB-1A visa, the EB-2 NIW visa petitioners can avoid the labor certification process. Therefore, applicants can submit a permit application simultaneously with the EB-2 NIW visa.

Keep in mind to waive the labor certification process, the applicant must provide substantial evidence. The evidence must show that their proposed work is of “national importance” or “substantial merit.” Also, you must show that you are in the position to pursue your work. Lastly, your work must be beneficial to the United States.

Contact Us Today to Apply for your EB1 or EB2-NIW Visa Today

Contact Us Today to Apply for your EB1 or EB2-NIW Visa Today

If you have concerns about whether your work qualifies as “extraordinary ability,” speak with an experienced immigration lawyer ASAP.

We highly recommend seeking the help of an immigration lawyer to analyze your specific situation. At IBP Immigration Law, we have helped individuals from all over the world receive EB2-NIW visas. It is important that you work with a professional that can give you an honest assessment. As well as help you achieve your objectives. If you have any questions, you can speak to Attorney Ingrid Perez. Click here to schedule your consultation