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  • Daniel Shaffer, Esq.

Successful Proposed Endeavors for EB-2 NIW Green Card Applications



Your EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) application must come with a detailed "proposed endeavor." The proposed endeavor is your plan for what you will do in the US on the Green Card. The proposed endeavor must be in the national interest of the US. In other words, your proposed endeavor must have "substantial merit" and "national importance." Successful proposed endeavors generally have the potential to positively impact the US in one or more ways, whether it is through the creation of jobs, making advancements in technology, cultural exchange, etc.


In order to better illustrate what a successful proposed endeavor looks like, I have reviewed some of the most important cases from the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) discussing proposed endeavors of NIW applicants. Below you will find a brief description of some proposed endeavors and the reason that the AAO approved or denied the case.


Some examples of successful proposed endeavors from past cases in the AAO include:

  • A Korean computer scientist coming to the US to conduct research relating to system software and its implementation into commercial software products. The application included proof of the economic benefits of developing the particular wireless sensing systems systems he was working with, the projected growth in that particular technology industry and other digital markets, the business benefits attributable to wireless transactions, the expansion of software applications that he specialized in, and information about mobile device security and the Internet of Things. This applicant had many years of experience in the field and several academic papers with citations.

  • A consultant from the UK coming to the US to work as a self-employed consultant for various non-profit and governmental groups to improve U.S. veterans' services and wounded warrior care. This applicant has several years of experience in a similar position working with veterans in the UK.

  • A chemical engineer coming to the US to develop clean energy solutions that will improve the economy of the United States on a national level by saving money for power producers, allowing for environmentally responsible use of the US's coal and existing fossil-fuel based infrastructure, and by reducing greenhouse gasses. This applicant had extensive experience in the field working on high profile clean energy projects that received government funding and support.

  • A software engineer coming to the US to develop software for plant science research that provides users with supercomputing capabilities. This applicant had many past successes building useful software tools for other research communities.

  • An entrepreneur who had developed a natural pesticide-free protectant for citrus trees coming to the US to further develop his business and provide his product to protect citrus trees in Florida at a time when they were suffering from a blight of Huanglongbing (HLB). The petition included extensive documentation of the positive economic impact that the applicant's product would have on the economies in citrus-growing states.

  • A biostatistician coming to the US to continue HIV/AIDS research. This applicant had many citations, and a record of success in the field prior to applying.

  • A software developer/entrepreneur coming to the US to further develop and implement a CBS-DMB communications system that he developed for the Korean market, with a particular focus on using this technology as an emergency notification system for the public.

Some examples of unsuccessful proposed endeavors that were denied by the AAO include:

  • An educator focusing on bodyboarding and environmental education who sought to establish a series of bodyboarding schools in the US to teach people about the sport and the importance of protecting the oceans. While the AAO agreed that his proposed endeavor had substantial merit, they did not agree that it had national importance because the national benefit of his proposed endeavor did not extend beyond the schools and the schools' participants or have the potential to make a substantial positive economic impact in the US.

  • An aerospace engineer coming to the US to start an engineering simulation business to support launch vehicles and payload engineering. While the AAO determined that his proposed endeavor had substantial merit, it did not have national importance because the applicant did not demonstrate how his proposed endeavor has sufficient implications beyond his company and his potential customers. In other words, he did not demonstrate how his proposed endeavor affected the defense and aerospace industries or that his work offered original innovations in the aerospace industry and engineering simulation field.

  • A research and development engineer coming to the US to work in the engineering consulting field to "diagnose industry challenges. propose solutions in the form of mathematical models and simulations. and to develop physics based algorithms and software solutions." The applicant explained that his work would offer improvements in technology, industry, manufacturing, transportation, and energy, but the AAO determined that he did not provide enough proof to substantiate those claims and that there was no supporting evidence that his work would have implications beyond his employer and clients at a level sufficient to establish the national importance of his endeavor.

  • An attorney coming to the US to provide pro bono and reduced rate legal service to low-income communities. While the AAO agreed that this proposed endeavor has substantial merit, they did not agree that her proposed endeavor has national importance. The applicant failed to demonstrate how her work would affect the US in a positive way beyond the benefits to her individual clients.

  • A supply chain analyst coming to the US to manage transportation route planning for organic food products. While the AAO agreed that her proposed endeavor had substantial merit, they did not agree that it had national importance because the work did not have "implications beyond her company and its customers at a level sufficient to establish the national importance of her endeavor. For example, the record does not show that the specific work she proposes to undertake offers original innovations that advance the industry, or otherwise has broader implications in the supply chain management field."

  • A high school math teacher coming to the US to teach math and other STEM subjects to minority and underprivileged children. While this teacher had a national reputation as a successful teacher and the AAO agreed that his proposed endeavor had substantial merit, they did not agree that it had national importance. This is because the applicant failed to demonstrate how his proposed endeavor would impact the US more broadly than the individual students in his classroom and the school district he is teaching in.

After reviewing these AAO cases, it is clear that many NIW applicants are able to satisfy the "substantial merit" prong of the test, but have trouble proving that their proposed endeavor has "national importance." In other words, they fail to show that their proposed endeavors have the potential to positively impact the US more broadly beyond just the company that the individual plans to work for or the customers/clients they plan to serve. It is important that each proposed endeavor has the ability to positively affect an industry, the economy, a significant population in the US, or another facet of the US as a country. It is extremely important to consider the prospective impact of your work when defining your proposed endeavor and applying for an NIW.


This particular article focuses specifically on the substantial merit and national importance of a proposed endeavor. However, there are many other requirements that must be met in a successful EB-2 NIW case, such as proving the possession of an advanced degree or exceptional ability, demonstrating that you are well-positioned to advance your proposed endeavor, and that the United States should waive the requirements of a job offer and labor certification.


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Disclaimer: This post is attorney advertising. It is meant as general information only, and is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. We suggest you set up a consultation with us before acting on anything you read here. Past results do not guarantee future outcomes; every case is unique and must be analyzed individually.

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