US Immigration Visa Approval

EB-2 Visas – Permanent Residency through National Interest Waiver (NIW). A Case Study

Davies & Associates obtained an EB2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) approval for an Organizational/Industrial Psychologist from South Africa. The client had initially wanted another visa, but our immigration attorneys proposed NIW as the better route.

Our client is a highly experienced and inherently talented Organizational/Industrial Psychologist with an advanced degree in Organizational/Industrial Psychology and extensive experience in her field.

Industrial & Organizational Psychology

Industrial and organizational psychology (“I/O psychology”), which is also known as occupational psychology, is an applied practice within the multi-discipline and esoteric field of psychology.  It is the science of human behavior relating to work and applies psychological theories and principles to organizations and individuals in their place of work as well as the individual’s work life in a more general manner. I/O psychologists are trained in the science-practitioner model.  They contribute to an organization’s success by improving the performance, motivation, job satisfaction, and occupational safety and health as well as to the overall health and well-being of its employees.  An I/O psychologist conducts research on employees’ behaviors and attitudes, and how they can be improved through hiring practices, training programs, feedback, and management systems.

How did we obtain the NIW?

D&A successfully presented the client’s outstanding body of work in the field and demonstrated how she meets the rigorous criteria for NIW classification. Although the jobs that qualify for a National Interest Waiver are not defined by statute, national interest waivers are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the nation.

Those seeking a national interest waiver may self-petition (they do not need an employer to sponsor them) and may file their labor certification directly with USCIS along with their Form I-140, Petition for Alien Work.

What is the National Interest Waiver (NIW)?

The NIW (National Interest Waiver) is the third subcategory of the second-preference employment-based visa category (EB2 visa). Employment-based visas – anything with the prefix “EB” – are immigrant visas in that they offer permanent residency / Green Card.

In the NIW category, an applicant can request that labor certification be waived because it is in the US national interest to do so (the other EB-2 categories require labor certification). People working in any industry could apply for NIW, but the applicant should be able to demonstrate their role is in the national interest. This makes it especially popular for people in science and healthcare.

Other EB2 Visa Subcategories

The two other subcategories for EB-2 are “Advanced Degree” – anyone with an advanced degree plus at least five years of credible work experience – and “Exceptional Ability”. This is for people who have exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business. In this regard it is similar to the EB-1A category for people with extraordinary ability and the EB-1C category for international managers and executives. Unlike the NIW subcategory, these two subcategories do require labor certification. 

The client initially approached Davies & Associates with another visa category in mind and our team was able to recommend the EB-2 route instead. This highlights the importance of engaging with an immigration attorney early in the process. Our team offers an initial free consultation to prospective clients as part of this determination process.

Contact us to request your appointment.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Switching from an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa to an O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa: Client Case Study

By Verdie Atienza, Senior Immigration Attorney, Head of L-1 & E-2 Visa Practice

In 2015, D&A assisted a Romanian national to apply for E-2 Treaty Investor visa by investing $100,000 in a start-up company. The company specializes in intellectual property assets technical and financial consulting with a focus in global brokerage and facilitation of Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) addresses and AS Numbers.

Despite having grown into a multi-million-dollar private company, the company has not been able to meet its employment targets within 5 years because it made better business sense to employ independent contractors. The E-2 Visa requires a business plan as part of the application, which helps the authorities with the subsequent evaluation at the time of renewal.

As the E-2 visa was about to expire, we advised the client that renewing the visa prove to be very challenging due to the employment situation. D&A discussed all other options for the client and it was determined that the client may have a good chance of qualifying for the O-1A category based on his credentials and qualifications.

O-1A is for people with extraordinary ability in education, business, science or the arts.

Since the client has established networks in the US through his E-2 company, it was easy for him to find a petitioning US employer. Since the US employer has been a client of the E-2 company and since they saw how valuable the client us based on his expertise and experience, they did not hesitate in filing a petition for our client.

D&A filed the petition for our client as a person of extraordinary ability to occupy the position of  Global Internet Resources Manager and Facilitator.  In the petition, we carefully outlined as to how the client meets the requirements for an individual to be classified as someone with extraordinary ability in his field.

With a tailor-fit solution, the client no longer has to leave the US despite the inability to renew the E-2 visa. With a change of status application approved, he and his family maintain their lawful nonimmigrant status for an additional period of three years on O-1A status. Should they need to depart the US prior to the expiration of the three-year period, they can apply for the O-1 visa at a US Embassy or Consulate by submitting an application and presenting the O-1A approval notice.

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa allows a beneficiary to move to the United States to run a business. It is a non-immigrant visa in that it does not offer a Green Card, but our attorneys are able to advise on options for transitioning to a Green Card at a later stage. The visa is also renewable indefinitely provided the underlying business is still operating and meeting its targets.

There are not annual quotas or caps for the E-2 visa based upon country of origin. However, eligibility is determined by the applicant’s country of citizenship. You must hold citizenship of a country with an E-2 Treaty with the United States. If you do not, please contact our attorneys. We have helped people from non-E2-treaty countries like India and Vietnam become citizens of E-2 Treaty countries like Turkey and Grenada.

The O-1 Visa is available to people with extraordinary ability. It is also a non-immigrant visa, which means it does not offer a Green Card. However, it is possible to subsequently switch to a Green Card through the EB-1A Visa. Applicants for EB-1A visa from India and China are subject to a short wait because the category is capped annually by country and both countries are slightly oversubscribed. Please see our most recent blog post on the Visa Bulletin to understand this in greater detail.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.