The Second-Preference Employment-Based (EB-2) visa is a category for individuals who are in a line of work that is of national interest to the United States. Such foreign nationals are able to petition for a National Interest Waiver (NIW) so they don’t have to undergo the labor certification process, which is quite a lengthy one. 

In order for NIW petitioners to immigrate to and establish their enterprise in the U.S., they must include a business plan that details their business – whether it currently exists or will be established in the near future – and how it will serve the country on a national level.

An EB-2 NIW business plan also includes some of the following key components:

  • Either the petitioner’s advanced degree or exceptional ability
  • Relevant job experience
  • Demonstration of strong skills, especially in the arts, sciences, or business
  • Financial, management, personnel, and marketing plans
  • Analysis of the industry 

One common factor within each section to be continually followed is the path of proving national merit by the presence of their business. In this article, we outline the EB-2 NIW business plan while paying special attention to the vital elements within each one. 

Who Is Eligible to Apply for an EB-2 NIW?

Any foreign national who can prove exceptionalism in their profession and how their presence and employment in the U.S. substantially benefits the country. Though not an exhaustive list, the following professions are generally eligible to apply for an EB-2 NIW:

  • Entrepreneur
  • Small business owner
  • Medical professional
  • Scientist
  • Artist
  • Educator
  • Technologist
  • Urban engineer
  • Researcher
  • Professional athlete
  • Consultants

Accordingly, there are two sub-categories under the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Eligibility Criteria that define the eligibility for EB-2 NIW applicants. They are:

  1. Advanced Degree
  2. Exceptional Ability

Check out our blog covering which jobs qualify for a national interest waiver.

Advanced Degree

Under the Advanced Degree sub-category, the petitioner must be seeking a position that ultimately requires that any applicant for the role has an advanced degree or its foreign equivalent. Foreign equivalents include a baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent plus five years of progressive post-baccalaureate work experience in the same field. Likewise, the petitioner must possess the required degree.

Naturally, proof of degree documentation is also mandatory. This can be via any of the following official academic records:

  • U.S. advanced degree or its foreign equivalent or a
  • U.S. baccalaureate degree 
  • Foreign U.S. baccalaureate equivalent, accompanied by letters from the applicant’s current or former employers, detailing more than five years of progressive post-baccalaureate experience in the specialty (if no U.S. baccalaureate is possessed)
  • U.S. doctorate or its foreign equivalent (when a doctoral degree is required)

Furthermore, requirements for an EB-2 NIW are that petitioners must:

  • Apply for a job requiring an advanced degree or exceptional ability, and as such, have the degree or its equivalent
  • Have proof that their work has, or will have, a substantial positive impact on education, economy, health, technology, business, science, or the arts in the U.S.
  • Have unique qualifications essential to the development and advancement of their work via a specialized experience or degree, other particularized skills
  • Proof that their contribution will benefit the U.S., en masse, more so by waiving the labor certification requirement than by requiring it

Those seeking an NIW can self-petition do not need an employer to sponsor their employment-based visa.

Exceptional Ability

Exceptional ability means a degree of expertise that is significantly higher than what is usually encountered in the following fields:

What is important to note is that the USCIS does allow a three-to-one ratio. That is to say, and it is permissible to have three years of work experience per one year of college experience. 

Additionally, it is well-advised that NIW applicants have their advanced degrees and work experience professionally evaluated by an evaluation agency to ascertain they meet the three-to-one ratio before petitioning. 

What’s in an EB-2 NIW Business Plan?

As with any written plan-of-action for proposed endeavors, NIW petitioners must meticulously design a document (or document packet) demonstrating exceptional ability in their field and how their work serves as national interest to the United States. They must also be evidentiary of an advanced degree in their profession, highlighting their reasoning for applying. 

As previously stated, business plan components of an EB-2 NIW must contain the following:

  • Executive summary
  • Company summary
  • Either the petitioner’s advanced degree or exceptional ability, along with job experience 
  • Demonstration of strong skills especially in the arts, sciences or business
  • Financial, personnel and marketing plans
  • Details of the proposed managerial team
  • Industry analysis

Though the above elements are standard, petitioners may find the need to include additional sections so as to underline the further proposed plans, as they pertain to their business. 

EB-2 NIW Business Plan Executive summary

The initial section bears the following components:

  • A summary of the business itself
  • The description of the goods and services offered by the candidate
  • Highlights of how the proposed endeavor is, or will be, cost-effective and profitable for the owner
  • A statement of how the business will be managed

EB-2 NIW Business Plan Company Summary

The second section contains additional pertinent details about the proposed endeavor, such as:

  • The reason for the enterprise
  • Productivity and optimization methods
  • Demonstration of the managers’ expertise
  • Details about the target audience and how they will be approached about the goods or services
  • Any applicable tools or technology that will be leveraged
  • All existing licenses, permits or registrations obtained (or which ones to be obtained) 
  • Any other information regarding the continued operations of the enterprise

Education and Professional Experience For A EB-2 NIW Business Plan

This section of the business plan entails the candidate’s education and how it is foundational to their application for the Waiver. Again, this is by way of an advanced degree, or its foreign equivalent. If the applicant has foreign U.S. baccalaureate equivalent, they must also include letters from the applicant’s current or former employers which details the five or more years of post-baccalaureate experience.

As for the professional experience portion, this is where the applicant highlights exactly how he or she is well-positioned to further their proposed endeavor. 

EB-2 NIW Business Plan Financial and Personnel Plans

This financial part should contain all relevant financial details. This includes startup capital, sources of funds, financial projections of about five years, and all planned advertising. Needless to say, the more financial details included showcase how earnest the applicant is, and how eager to succeed they are.

The personnel section should detail all of the individuals to be hired in the near future, and how their expertise is essential to the success of the business. Job creation is a must to increase the possibility of being granted an NIW. Therefore, this is where information about the entire organization should be itemized per profession, from supervisors and field experts, to technicians and administrators.

Market Analysis and Marketing Plan For The EB-2 NIW Business Plan

In this final section, the applicant should first summarize the findings from his or her previously conducted analysis of the industry. Particularly, information regarding the enterprise's target market consumers, their interests, how they function, and their presumed purchasing intentions. 

Such research allows the business owner to discover the best strategies to not only have a successful business, but to outshine any competition within the industry. What needs to be remembered while drafting this section is to underline how and why the applicant’s proposed endeavor will be of substantial merit and of national importance within the U.S. market.

Then, the applicant should highlight their marketing strategy and projected sales. It is the ultimate plan for promoting the sale of goods and services to the target market’s consumers. 

Conclusion of How To Write an EB-2 NIW Business Plan

EB-2 applicants, especially entrepreneurs applying for an NIW, can do so without the need of a sponsoring employer. This means self-petitioning for a green card is somewhat easier than under most other visa categories. The inclusion of a business plan is a critical aspect of the NIW application.

Eligible persons for an NIW generally fall into categories such as the arts, sciences or business.

According to the requirements under the Matter of Dhanasar, and once eligibility for an EB-2 visa has been established, applicants can self-petition for the Waiver. They must supply proof of satisfying the following three main requirements:

  1. The applicant’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance
  2. The applicant is well-positioned to advance their proposed endeavor
  3. It would be beneficial to the U.S. to waive the job offer and thus the permanent labor certification requirements

While aligning with the above requirements, the business plan must first include executive and company summaries. Then, the applicant’s educational and professional experience. Followed by the financial and personnel plans, and ending with the market analysis and plans for marketing. 

The business plan must be evidentiary, well-documented and substantially merited. It should also be persuasive in nature; showcasing how the business operations will be established and maintained in the United States.

The EB-2 NIW business plan highlights every vital aspect of the proposed endeavor, but it is also important to continually point to how the petitioner is exceptionally qualified, how their endeavor is substantially merited and how their enterprise benefits the U.S. as a whole.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Write an EB-2 NIW Business Plan

Do I need a business plan for an EB-2 NIW?

Yes, having a business plan is a requisite to self-petitioning for an EB-2 NIW. Most especially so for entrepreneurs whose endeavors are close to, or in the start-up stage.

How many citations do I need for EB-2 NIW?

Per the USCIS, there is no minimum number of citations required. 

How many recommendations are needed for an EB-2 NIW business plan?

Applicants who are required to submit reference letters must include at least five (and up to seven) recommendation letters.