National Interest Waiver: Requirements and Procedure

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What is the National Interest Waiver? What are the requirements for a NIW? How do I apply for a NIW?
 
What is a National Interest Waiver?
A National Interest Waiver (NIW) exempts the immigrant applicant from the job offer and labor certification normally required in an employment-based immigrant visa application. The labor certification process exists to protect U.S. workers and the U.S. labor market by ensuring that foreign workers seeking immigrant visa classifications are not displacing qualified U.S. workers.
 
Applicants must establish that their admission to the United States for permanent residency and the waiver of the job offer and labor certification requirement would be in the national interest. This waiver allows applicants to self-petition because there is no requirement of a job offer.
 
Who qualifies for a National Interest Waiver?
The jobs that qualify for a national interest waiver are not defined by statute. Generally, NIWs are granted to those who have exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability“ means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered” and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the nation.
 
What are the general criteria for a National Interest Waiver?
You must meet at least three of the criteria below and demonstrate that it is in the national interest that you work permanently in the United States:

  • Official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to your area of exceptional ability
  • Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation
  • A license to practice your profession or certification for your profession or occupation
  • Evidence that you have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability
  • Membership in a professional association(s)
  • Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations
  • Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable.

How do I apply?
To qualify for an EB-2 visa, you as self-petitioner or your employer must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker and submit documentation establishing the following requirements:

  • Identify how the beneficiary qualifies for classification as a member of a profession with an advanced degree.
  • Provide evidence to satisfy these three criteria:
    • The foreign national’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance,
    • The foreign national is well-positioned to advance the endeavor, and
    • On balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer and thus of a labor certification.

Are you interested in finding out whether you qualify for a National Interest Waiver? Please contact us to find out how we can assist. We are here to help!


Rasoulpour Torregoza is the law firm for immigrants, by immigrants. We are founded on the motto of LegalEase: we do away with the legal jargon and make law easy to understand, so you can focus on what’s important to you – going for your American Dream.
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