The National Interest Waiver (“NIW”) falls under the employment-based second preference category (EB-2) of immigrant visas. By obtaining an NIW through demonstrating that their work is of national importance and that they possess unique qualifications that are beneficial to the United States, individuals can bypass the labor certification process usually required for an employment-based green card. The NIW is available to foreign nationals with exceptional abilities in their field or those with advanced degrees who can prove their work is in the national interest of the United States. The NIW waiver eliminates the requirement of a job offer and labor certification, making it an attractive option for many talented professionals. This article will provide a guide to help you understand whether you qualify for NIW and navigate the NIW application process.
1. Exceptional Abilities or Advanced Degrees:
To qualify for the NIW, you must have exceptional abilities and an advanced degree in your field of expertise. Exceptional abilities may include a record of extraordinary achievements, recognition, and expertise in the sciences, arts, or business, significantly above the norm in these fields, while an advanced degree typically refers to a Master's degree or higher. In certain cases, a bachelor’s degree plus a five-year work experience would suffice this requirement as well.
2. National Interest Requirement:
The most crucial part of the NIW application is demonstrating that your work significantly benefits the United States in its economy, culture, education, or welfare. Generally, this can be done by showing that you or your work can:
a. Improve the U.S. economy;
b. Enhance national competitiveness;
c. Improve healthcare
d. Improve education;
e. Address environmental issues;
f. Address cultural issues;
e. Contribute to U.S. national security, etc.
3. Preparing Your Petition and Proving Your Qualification:
To apply for the NIW, you need to file Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, along with supporting documents that can establish your unique skills, expertise, and
accomplishments make you an essential asset to the United States. These documents will typically include:
a. Detailed CV or resume indicating your past experience;
b. Reference letters from experts in your field;
c. Evidence of exceptional abilities or advanced degrees;
d. Explanation of how your work would benefit the U.S.;
e. Documentation of any nationally or internationally recognized awards or recognition you have received in your field;
f. Proof of published articles or research papers;
g. Information about journals/media where your work has been published; h. Citations of your scholarly articles and publications
i. Itineraries or proof of conferences or presentations you attended;
j. Evidence of patents;
j. Any other relevant degrees or certifications.
USCIS will review the evidence provided and make a final determination based on the overall merits and expertise demonstrated.
Applying for the National Interest Waiver is a rigorous process, but with the right qualifications and a well-prepared petition, it is attainable. Highlighting your exceptional abilities, showing the national importance of your work, and providing evidence of your unique qualifications are key to a successful application.
If you think you qualify and wish to apply, please feel free to email our Managing Principal Yen-Yi Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org for an initial screening. You can also give our firm Anderson & Associates Law, P.C. a call at either 646-201-9117 or 646-452-9982. Our hours are Monday through Friday from 9 am to 6 pm.
Author: Blair Xu. Blair joined as a Law Clerk at Anderson & Associates Law, P.C. in 2023. She focuses on immigration law and corporate law. Prior to joining the firm, Blair worked at a personal injury law firm in New York City. She also interned/worked at various leading law firms in China and Japan, focusing on cross-border legal issues. Blair graduated from Cornell Law School with a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree. She also earned an LL.M. degree from Nagoya University in Japan and her Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree from Tongji University in China. Blair passed the New York Bar Exam in July 2022 and is pending admission.