Should I file an EB-1a or EB-2 NIW or Both?

The EB-1A and EB-2 NIW green card categories share similarities such as allowing self-petitioning and Premium Processing.

-Where a visa number is available an applicant may be able to obtain a green card in a matter of months!

The Requirements may be similar as the (EB-1A) requires proof of extraordinary ability while the EB-2 NIW requires an advanced degree or exceptional ability.  Both EB-1A and EB-2 NIW have requirements to show that the applicant will benefit the country.

The basic qualifications for the EB-2 NIW is many times lower for an EB-1A visa.   However, the EB-2 NIW is considered a second preference employment visa. The EB-2 NIW visa process has historically been longer than the process for an EB-1a.  In addition, the applicant will need to provide substantial evidence to prove proposed work has “substantial merit” and “national importance,”  as in well-positioned to advance a proposed endeavor, and that it would be beneficial to the U.S. to waive the labor certification process.

The EB-1A category is a higher standard to meet by applicants than EB-2 NIW. This is because this green card category is reserved for those candidates who display what USCIS calls “extraordinary ability”. (Must meet 3 out of 10 criteria that USCIS has set forth)

In EB-2 NIW the applicant may prove that they hold an advanced degree (master’s or Ph.D.) or show Exceptional ability. Only when the applicant does not hold an advanced degree, he or she must prove exceptional ability.  The exceptional ability criteria may be less burdensome than the EB-1a Extraordinary Ability criteria.

In many cases an applicant will meet overlapping criteria and as a strategy it may make the applicant may be able to file both and EB1A and also an EB2 NIW application concurrently.

Our office will certainly review the options to determine if filing Both the EB-1a and the EB-2 NIW is a good strategy for our client.