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EB-2 NIW: Why We Ask for 10 Years of Professional Experience

EB-2 NIW: Why We Ask for 10 Years of Professional Experience

When considering applying for the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) Visa, it must first be determined whether or not you qualify as either a Professional with an Advanced Degree or as a Professional of Exceptional Ability.

Under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, an Advanced Degree is defined as either a master’s degree or PhD, or, in lieu of one of those degrees, possession of a bachelor’s degree plus 5 years of progressive experience in your field of study measured from the date of graduation of your bachelor’s degree. Alternatively, when demonstrating Exceptional Ability, you must prove at least 3 of 7 criteria, one of those being 10 years experience. At G.E.B. GLOBAL, we request candidates to have at least 10 years of professional experience for both categories, both Advanced Degree and Exceptional Ability, and this blog will explain the reasoning behind our approach and how it can benefit your EB-2 NIW petition.

Screening for Advanced Degree and Exceptional Ability:

Although the EB-2 NIW requirements for Advanced Degree state that candidates need only prove a minimum of 5 years of experience measured from the date of graduation of their bachelor’s degree, we ask for 10 years in order to screen potential clients for classification for both Advanced Degree and Exceptional Ability. By examining a broader scope of the candidate's professional history, we can both better assess their qualifications and identify additional arguments to present in favor of the National Interest Waiver.

Flexibility in Proving Advanced Degree:

By requesting 10 years of experience, we provide ourselves with more flexibility in proving at least 5 years of experience for purposes of the candidate's Advanced Degree. In our experience, USCIS will scrutinize and examine your professional experience as critically as they can. When evidencing 5 years of experience, we have found that many candidates may not have accurate or sufficient documentation to evidence exactly 5 years of experience when all they have is 5 years to argue. Therefore, requesting 10 years of experience allows us enough room to pick and choose at least 5 years, from those 10, that are solid enough evidence to withstand the government’s high-level of scrutiny. Working with 10 years experience also allows us to find overarching themes or a specific trajectory within a candidate’s career that will allow us to, for example, present the candidate as specialized or well-positioned in a certain niche or area of expertise. As such, when looking for at least 5 years of experience, drawing those 5 years from a larger range of 10 years experiences gives us a higher degree of confidence that the candidate will be considered a professional with an Advanced Degree.

Demonstrating Exceptional Ability:

One of the main goals of the EB-2 NIW Visa process is to demonstrate that the candidate merits a waiver of the labor certificate because their proposed endeavor is not only considered of national interest, but also because the professional may be considered “above average” in their expertise, otherwise known as "exceptional" by these immigration standards. By requesting 10 years of experience, we can not only argue one of the criteria for “Exceptional Ability” but also more effectively prove that the candidate has a heightened degree of expertise in comparison to the minimally-qualified professional in their field, which is what the labor certificate process has been set up to attend. As such, we will be allowed to argue that, even in the event that a minimally-qualified individual exists in the U.S., the country would still benefit from your particular skills, expertise, or plan for work because you are "above average" in comparison to other professionals in your country operating within the same field or other minimally-qualified candidates in the United States with the field you intend to work in. While you are not required by law to prove these additional angles, if angles such as these exist, then they may certainly strengthen a case and increase its chances for approval and G.E.B. GLOBAL will assist you in determining how to proceed in that regard.

EB-2 NIW: Why We EB-2 NIW: Why We Ask for 10 Years of Professional ExperienceAsk for 10 Years of Professional Experience

Ensuring a Strong Application:

The EB-2 NIW petition process is highly competitive, and it's crucial to present as strong a case as possible to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). By requiring 10 years of professional experience, we ensure that we can build a robust application that showcases the candidate's advanced degree, exceptional ability, and the national interest that both their expertise and proposed work serves.

Minimizing Risks and Maximizing Success:

Our goal as a law firm is to provide the best possible representation for our clients in their immigration journey. By requesting 10 years of professional experience, we minimize the risks associated with the EB-2 NIW petition process and maximize your chances for success. This approach has proven to be effective in helping our clients achieve an approval of their EB-2 NIW.

Calculating 10 Years Experience:

If you do not count with 10 years of experience measured from the date of graduation of your bachelor’s degree, all is not lost. When arguing 10 years of experience in the context of Exceptional Ability, USCIS will accept experience achieved prior to your graduating with your bachelor’s degree. Please keep in mind though that, if you do not have at least 5 years experience measured from the date of graduation, you will not be able to argue Advanced Degree unless you have a master’s degree or higher. If it is determined that you may not qualify for the EB-2 NIW as a Professional with an Advanced Degree, we ask that you read our E-Book as to the 7 possible criteria you may prove for Exceptional Ability. If you can prove at least 3 of the 7 criteria needed for Exceptional Ability, that may certainly be discussed during a formal consultation.

Plenty of Experience But No Degree:

If you do not have a any degrees, USCIS may then consider professional experience measured from a determined job or event as necessary for your case. This usually applies to a number of entrepreneurs, as USCIS understands that the road to entrepreneurship is not a clearly defined one and that success can be found without a diploma. If you are an entrepreneur, artist, or athelete without a diploma, but believe you can evidence at least 3 of the 7 criteria for Exceptional Ability, we invite you to schedule a formal consultation. We will be happy to discuss with you what date or period of employment is appropriate to start from when calculating 10 years of experience as it relates to exceptional ability.


At G.E.B. GLOBAL, we understand the importance of a successful EB-2 NIW Visa application and the impact it can have on your life and career. By asking for 10 years of professional experience, we aim to create a strong application that demonstrates both your Advanced Degree and your Exceptional Ability, matters that may significantly increase your chances of success. While it may seem like a higher requirement, this approach ultimately serves to benefit our clients and help them achieve their American Dream.

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