EB-2 National Interest Waivers

A National Interest Waiver is a type of petition that allows a beneficiary with an advanced degree or exceptional abilities…

A National Interest Waiver is a type of petition that allows a beneficiary with an advanced degree or exceptional abilities to obtain an employment-based immigrant visa without first going through the labor certification process. This visa category is open to individuals whose work in the U.S. would be in the national interest of the country.

What are the benefits of NIW?

If an individual is engaged in work that benefits the economy, education system, health, or another aspect of the U.S., then a National Interest Waiver may be an excellent path to permanent residence for them. This option carries multiple benefits, such as an applicant can self-petition, as opposed to finding an employer to sponsor them. An applicant also does not need to have an actual job, since they can file the petition based on the premise that their work is in the national interest of the U.S.

What are the NIW requirements?

  • Applicant must demonstrate that they possess exceptional ability in their field, by presenting evidence of their sustained national or international acclaim
  • Applicant must possess a Master’s, Ph.D., or other post-baccalaureate degree, or a Bachelor’s degree plus five years of experience
  • Applicant must demonstrate that their work has substantial merit and national importance
  • Applicant must demonstrate that it would be in the national interest of the U.S. to waive the labor certification requirement that is usually necessary for immigrant petitions.

Applicants may be considered as having “exceptional ability” in their field, if they provide extensive documents showing that they satisfy at least three of the following:

  • An official academic record showing that they have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of higher learning relating to their area of exceptional ability.
  • Letters documenting at least ten years of full-time experience in their occupation.
  • A license to practice their profession or certification for their profession or occupation
  • Evidence that they have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates their exceptional ability.
  • Membership in one or more professional associations, usually ones that require achievement in order to be a member.
  • Recognition for their achievements and significant contributions to their industry or field by peers, government entities, or professional or business organizations.

The USCIS uses a three-step prong to accept or reject NIW applicants. When adjudicating cases, officers look for the following evidence:

  1. That the foreign national’s proposed endeavor in their field of study has an important impact in the U.S., nationally, regionally, or locally.
  2. That the applicant is well-positioned, based on their credentials and experience, to carry out the proposed endeavor.
  3. That it would be beneficial for the United States to waive the Department of Labor certification process for the EB-2 category.

If you believe that you may qualify for a National Interest Waiver, the attorneys at US-ILC can review your credentials and competently guide you through the complex application process.

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