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Difference between the EB2 NIW and the EB1 Extraordinary Ability Application

Hi William,

I want to know the difference between the EB2 NIW application and the EB1 Extraordinary Ability application. What are the advantages of one over other in case one applies and gets them approved.

I feel in NIW one is restricted to work in a very narrow specific area where the approval happened. But in EB1 Extraordinary Ability, one is free to work in any area of one's field- related or unrelated. Please correct me if I am wrong and let me know your thoughts.


The EB2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) and all EB1 categories (Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Researcher or Professor, and Multinational Executive or Manager) do not not require Labor Certification. For the EB2 Exceptional Ability category (not EB2 NIW), your employer can submit the Form I-140 petition only after obtaining the Labor Certification from U.S. Department of Labor. 

The EB1-Extraordinary Ability and EB2 NIW categories can be self-petitioned, i.e., you do not even need an offer of employment and your employer's sponsorship. But for EB2-Outstanding Researcher or Professor petition, you need a job offer and your employer's sponsorship.

The scope for NIW petition does not have to be very narrow. You can submit both NIW and EB1-EA petitions at the some time to increase your approval chance, if you meet their qualification requirements. If you are from a visa retrogressed country, such as India or China, then EB1 category is more desirable route, so the wait for filing I-485 form is much shorter.

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