EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) for Artists/Musicians

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Many people wrongly assume that EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) is only for scientists and researchers. In fact, anyone who can meet the basic entry requirements for EB-2 petitions might be eligible to apply for NIW (National Interest Waiver). Artists who have met the basic requirements for EB-2 by possessing either an advanced degree or the equivalent, or satisfying the criteria for “exceptional ability” can get NIW (National Interest Waiver) approval by passing the three-prong test established by NYSDOT (In re New York State Department of Transportation).

NYSDOT and the Three Prong Test for Artists

While the USCIS has not laid out any specific guidelines or statutes for artists applying under EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver), it is still very possible to obtain NIW (National Interest Waiver) approval as an artist by passing the three prong test.

  1. The proposed employment must be in an area of Substantial Intrinsic Merit

    In order to demonstrate Substantial Intrinsic Merit, it must be shown that the field of endeavor is related to an important national goal and that the work is beneficial to the United States. For an artist, this may mean bringing the arts to society and contributing to cultural expansion. An artist may also contribute to the overall body of knowledge of a particular technique or medium, or the advancement of art and design. The key is to consider the artist and their work in the greater context of the United States, and then determine the implications and significance of their work to the United States.

  2. The proposed benefit of that employment must be National in Scope

    The second prong requires that your work be National in Scope. That is, the benefits of your work cannot be limited to one particular geographical region. For instance, a musician contributes to the artistic culture of the nation as a whole through their nationwide performances and the dissemination of their music through CD or mp3 sales. Likewise, any artist whose work has been exhibited or showcased across the nation can argue national scope. Even if your work is limited to one particular geographical region, national scope can be argued if the benefits of your work expand beyond that region. As an example, an artist or designer who has developed a unique technique that will be used by other artists across the nation can successfully argue that their work is national in scope. The frame of argument will depend on the individual artist’s medium and body of work, however, these examples provide insight into the various possibilities of arguing national scope.

  3. The beneficiary must serve the National Interest to a substantially greater degree than would an available U.S. worker having the same minimum qualifications.

    Generally, letters of recommendation will be necessary to explain your influence on the field. Objective evidence in the form of sales, media reports, reviews and praise, or awards for your work can corroborate the statements made in the letters. Overall, you must show that your work has had an influence on your field, and that you have risen to a level above that of others in the field. Therefore, any additional evidence demonstrating the distinguished nature of your work and accomplishments will be essential for satisfying the third prong of NIW (National Interest Waiver).

NIW Approved for Opera Singer

In this case, we were approached by an opera singer who had been in the United States on O-1B status since 2004. Her work was the subject of numerous media articles and appearances including NPR/WBUR, Good Morning American, CBS, ABC News, Oprah Radio, The Boston Globe, and others. In addition to her musical performances and recordings, she had started her own vocal health business which is becoming widely known. We successfully argued that through the dissemination of her musical work and vocal expertise, her work is beneficial to the U.S. as a whole. Her many media appearances and recommendation letters from experts in the field further confirmed the influence of her work on her field, and her prestigious performances demonstrated that she had risen to a level above that of others in the field of opera singing. With the strong petition letter and recommendation letters we prepared, her NIW case was approved in just 41 days.

EB2 NIW Approval for Opera Singer in 41 Days

NIW Approved for Animator

Another artist we had the pleasure of working with was a freelance motion designer/animator from Taiwan working in the field of design and animation. Her work had focused primarily on the use of design and animation technologies and skills to develop creative projects including short animations, commercials, interactive web-based content, broadcast show package designs, and title sequences. In order to gain successful NIW approval, it was critical that we argue that her work was not only beneficial to her field, but to the citizens of the United States at large. In order to achieve this success, we submitted extensive documentation proving our client’s highly significant contributions to the field of design and animation, including many extraordinary works that placed her among the most recognized firms and individuals in the world. It was clear that she had sustained a significant influence upon her field as a whole. In order to argue the nationwide benefit of her work, we focused on the many different studios, industries, and companies that had relied upon and employed her work, thereby demonstrating that the influence of her work was not limited to only the field of animation. Moreover, we drafted several recommendation letters explaining the impact and significance of our client’s contributions. Through extensive documentation and a carefully crafted petition letter, we successfully argued that our client would serve the national interest to a significantly greater degree than others with similar education and experience. Her NIW application was approved in just 11 weeks.

EB2 NIW Approval for a Freelance Motion Designer/Animator in the field of Design and Animation in 11 weeks

An experienced lawyer can offer you the best perspective on your potential NIW (National Interest Waiver) case, and evaluate whether or not your qualifications and achievements will be enough to make a case for NIW (National Interest Waiver). We invite you to read our EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) success stories for artists. For a free evaluation of your case, please send us your resume and your basic information via the link here.