The national interest waiver (NIW) is a subset of the EB-2 immigrant visa. While standard EB-2 visa applications require sponsorship from a US employer and approval on the labor certification process (PERM), the NIW allows eligible foreign nationals to waive these requirements. 

Is it possible to have an NIW petition denied? Read on to find out.  

Obtaining a National Interest Waiver – What is the Level of Hardship Involved in the Process? 

While EB-2 petitions with a national interest waiver (NIW) have a higher success rate than standard EB-2 applications, it does not necessarily mean that an NIW does not hold applicants to a high standard to meet the eligibility criteria.  

Neither a US job offer nor a labor certification is required. Additionally, applicants can self-petition for an NIW with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

The growing popularity of this specific visa option often results in misinformation, leading many aspiring visa holders to spend time and money on a petition for which they cannot qualify. 

It is not rare to find comments about someone who applied for an EB-2 NIW visa as “an engineer” or any other specific profession without a job offer and obtained permanent residence in the United States. 

While the NIW applies to several fields of expertise, the process is not as simple as it might sound. USCIS has four main requirements that foreign nationals must meet to qualify for an NIW, which are: 

  • The applicant must qualify for the EB-2 classification 
  • The proposed endeavor must have substantial merit and national importance 
  • The applicant must be well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor, and 
  • The applicant must demonstrate that the proposed endeavor will be beneficial to the US in a way that justifies a waiver of the job offer and labor certification requirements  

Can NIW be Denied? – The Verdict 

Several reasons can result in NIW denials, but the most common cases involve some type of misinformation. First, a college degree by itself is not sufficient to guarantee that an applicant will qualify for an NIW. 

When someone applies for an NIW, that person is petitioning the USCIS to waive the job offer and labor certification requirements in an EB-2 application, which requires much more evidence than a college degree. 

Second, working in a promising field of expertise is not sufficient to get an NIW. Successful EB-2 NIW applicants are those good enough to stand out on their own, demonstrating that what they have to offer is in the best interest of the United States.  

Many applicants also fail to provide substantial evidence that they actually have sufficient skills, credentials, and experience that allows them to waive a portion of the standard EB-2 requirements. 

For applicants already living in the United States, it is possible to file for an adjustment of status while applying for an EB-2 NIW. However, depending on the applicant’s situation, this option might jeopardize one’s stay in the United States. 

If an applicant obtains an adjustment of status while USCIS denies the EB-2 NIW petition, the employment authorization will be canceled. Ultimately, the best approach for EB-2 NIW petitioners is only to apply for an EB-2 NIW without adjusting the status. 

Do You Want to Avoid a Denial on an EB-2 NIW Petition? – Immediately Contact Attorney Romy B. Jurado 

Waste no time with uncertainty – seek expert legal guidance by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] to find an optimized strategy for your case.