The EB-2 National Interest Waiver (EB2 NIW for Pilots) visa provides qualified foreign Pilots with the opportunity to obtain permanent residency in the United States without a job offer from a U.S. employer. In order to do so, the pilot has to prove that they have an advanced degree in aviation (plus 5 years flying experience) or exceptional ability as a professional pilot. Moreover, they have to prove that their work is in the national interest of the United States. Leon Law Immigration, with their pilot attorney team, has a high approval rate in assisting foreign pilots obtain their EB2 NIW petitions.

The EB2 NIW for Pilots processing time can vary depending on whether the pilot chooses premium or standard processing. If you are an experienced pilot thinking about applying for the EB-2 NIW for Pilots, it is important to understand the processing timelines and what to expect at each stage. Contact Leon Law Immigration and their pilot attorney team to get the lastest processing time for the EB2 NIW for Pilots.

The Pilot Attorney team at Leon Law Immigration has a high approval rate with EB2 NIW for Pilots. Processing times can vary from three weeks to six months.

EB-2 NIW for Pilots Processing time

The EB2 NIW application process typically involves three stages: preparation, submission, and adjudication by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The standard processing time can take 3 – 10 months, with recent estimates of longer than a year depending on where the assigned USCIS center is located and other factors discussed below. With premium processing, you can expedite the processing time to approximately  45 days. 


The first stage involves gathering the necessary documentation, which can often take several months. Applicants must file a Form I-140, including evidence of their exceptional ability or advanced degree, letters of support, and other supporting materials. All evidence must meet the USCIS’s requirements and support your claim of exceptional ability (or advanced degree). 


After submitting the application to the USCIS, the USCIS typically acknowledges receipt of the application within a few weeks and provides a receipt with a case number. This case number can be used to track the status of your application online.


At this stage, USCIS reviews the application and decides to approve or deny the EB2 NIW based on whether the application meets the eligibility requirements and the national interest factors.  The Pilot attorney team at Leon Law Immigration has a high approval rate during the adjudication phase. Learn more about the requirements on our blog post ‘EB-2 NIW for Pilots’.  If the petition is missing some information (in the USCIS’ opinion), USCIS may send the candidate a Request for Evidence, often referred to as an “RFE”, requesting additional information.

While the USCIS aims to process EB2 NIW applications within 4 to 6 months of submission, processing times vary on a case-by-case basis. Some applications can take up to a year or two, especially if the USCIS requests further evidence.

Once your Form I-140 is approved, you can then start the green card process by applying for an adjustment of status to a permanent resident. You can track your priority date to apply for a green card in the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin

Factors That Affect EB2 NIW for Pilots Processing Times

  1. Delays at the USCIS: Given that the USCIS is responsible for processing all employment-based visa applications, the processing time can vary depending on the volume of applications received. For example, during the H-1B cap season, processing times can be longer.
  1. Complexity of the case: Some EB2 NIW applications can be complex, especially if the applicant’s exceptional ability or advanced degree is in a niche or unusual field. 
  1. Requests for Evidence (RFEs): USCIS may request additional evidence, adding several months to the processing time. 
  1. Applicant’s country of origin: USCIS may prioritize processing for applicants from certain countries or regions, particularly if there is a backlog of applications from that country.

Tips for Reducing EB2 NIW for Pilots Processing Times

  1. Ensure that the application is complete and accurate: The USCIS will not process incomplete or inaccurate applications. 
  1. Premium Processing: As of 2023, USCIS allows for premium processing for EB2 NIW petitions, permitting applicants to pay an additional fee to expedite the processing time. Note that the USCIS has up to 45 days to come to a decision. 
  1. Keep track of your case: Monitor the progress of your application online and respond promptly to the USCIS’s REFs or other communications.

Applying for the EB-2 NIW for Pilots visa can be a complicated and challenging process. Our pilot attorney team at Leon Law Immigration has a high approval rate and has helped numerous clients receive approval for their EB-2 NIW in as little as 3 weeks, without expedited processing.

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