EB-2 NIW Startup Green Card - Dhanasar

Immigration Law for Founders, Talent and Investors.

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EB-2 NIW Startup Green Card under Dhanasar Explained

In this video Sophie discusses changes to the EB-2 NIW green card to make it more friendly to startup founders.  This new interpretation of old case law makes it easier for foreign-born startup founders, entrepreneurs, and other self-employed individuals to live and work in the United States and build their companies as permanent residents. In the materials on this page we discuss the status of the legal changes, the qualifications for EB-2  National Interest Waivers, the changes from the NYSDOT standard to the Dhanasar standard, and what factors will be considered in your application.  The EB-2 NIW National Interest Waiver Startup green card under Dhanasar is a great new addition to the toolkit to help startup founders build amazing companies in Silicon Valley and throughout the United States!

EB-2 National Interest Waiver

Individuals with “exceptional ability” in the sciences, arts, or business, may be eligible for a waiver of the labor certification requirement for an EB-2 green card.

The National Interest Waiver (NIW) eliminates the need for a U.S. employer to embark on the lengthy and expensive process of getting a labor certification if it can show that permanently employing the exceptional individual would greatly benefit the U.S.

A labor certification requires a U.S. employer to prove to the U.S. Department of Labor that no qualified U.S. workers are available for the position sought by the foreign employee. The labor certification process is designed to ensure that the employment, wages and working conditions of U.S. workers employed in the same field are not adversely affected.  The labor certification process takes at least six months.


Eligibility Requirements

A candidate seeking an NIW must show that:

• The work has both substantial merit and national importance—not just geographical importance, but in its significance and prospective impact. Evidence may include a letter from the candidate or company describing the job; letters from experts in the field attesting to the importance of the candidate’s work; articles or other published media discussing the candidate or the company’s work; contracts, agreements or licenses showing the scope and impact.

• The candidate will advance the company’s work. Evidence may include the candidate’s education, skills, knowledge, record of success, past progress, future plans and interest of customers, users, investors and others.

• Waiving the labor certification requirement would benefit the U.S. Given the candidate’s qualifications and the work, the U.S. would benefit even if Americans could do the work or with an urgent national interest. Evidence may include copies of published articles recognizing the candidate’s achievements; contracts, patents, grants, or licenses showing how the candidate’s work is being implemented by others.


What Happens Next?

USCIS may request more information, evidence or an interview with the EB-2 candidate. At an interview, you may be fingerprinted, photographed or asked for your signature to verify your identity or to update background and security checks. USCIS will notify you in writing of its decision.



$700 filing fee for Form I-140

$1,140 filing fee for Form I-485

$85 biometrics service fee for green card applicants ages 14 to 78.


Related Forms

Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker

Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status


Immigrant Intent

Yes, you intend to live in the U.S. permanently.


Approx USCIS Processing Time

About six months for concurrent filing.


Who Qualifies

An individual with an advanced degree or exceptional ability whose work is in the national interest.


Period of Stay