The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has several visa categories by which eligible foreign nationals can qualify for a green card based on employment. Most of these categories have a sponsorship requirement, which is often a hassle for most applicants. 

In this article, you will discover how the national interest waiver works. 

National Interest Waiver – The Fundamentals  

The national interest waiver (NIW) is an excellent option for qualified foreign nationals who want to get an employment-based visa in the United States without necessarily relying on a job sponsorship. 

Most employment-based visas require applicants to have a job offer, as the US employer is responsible for applying on behalf of a prospective foreign employee. An NIW visa allows foreign nationals who meet USCIS requirements to self-petition for a green card without a job offer. 

The eligibility requirements to obtain an NIW visa include: 

  • The applicant must qualify for the EB-2 classification  
  • The applicant’s proposed endeavor must have “substantial merit” and “national importance” 
  • The applicant must demonstrate to be well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor, and 
  • A clear demonstration that the endeavor will benefit the United States in a way that permits a waiver of the job offer requirement and labor certification process 

There are two subcategories for EB-2 classification. The first applies to members of professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent. The second applies to foreign nationals with exceptional ability. 

USCIS defines the term “exceptional ability” as “a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.” 

National Interest Waiver – Proving Substantial Merit & National Importance  

An elementary aspect of NIW eligibility depends on the applicant’s ability to demonstrate that the proposed endeavor has substantial merit and national importance. Failing to meet these requirements will likely result in USCIS denial. 

To demonstrate substantial merit, an NIW applicant must show that the work he or she will be engaging in a given field of expertise is valuable to the national interest of the United States.  

Please note that the applicant must focus on the specific endeavor and not use vague language in the application forms. For instance, a specialist in pediatric surgery should not define his proposed endeavor as “medicine,” but precisely describe his or her field of expertise. 

Identifying whether a proposed endeavor has national importance requires applicants to ask themselves questions like: 

  • Will the proposed endeavor result in national or global implications in your field of expertise? 
  • Does the proposed endeavor have the potential to employ qualifying US workers? 
  • Will the proposed endeavor have a substantial positive effect on the US economy? 

Please note that USCIS is not focused solely on the geographic impact of the proposed endeavor to determine national importance. Another crucial aspect to ensure NIW approval is demonstrating you are well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor. 

Satisfying this requirement requires the applicant to demonstrate that he or she is more likely to succeed than not with robust evidence of the necessary qualifications to pursue a positive result. The best approach to ensure full compliance with USCIS is to work with an experienced immigration attorney 

How Does a National Interest Waiver Work – Immediately Consult Attorney Romy B. Jurado 

A seasoned legal advisor in US immigration law, Attorney Romy B. Jurado willingly wants to help you succeed. Contact us today by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] for an individual consultation.