A national interest waiver (NIW) is essentially a subcategory of the EB-2 classification that allows eligible foreign nationals to be admitted to the United States under a work-based visa without a job sponsorship requirement. 

In this article, you will discover who qualifies for a national interest waiver. 

EB-2 National Interest Waiver – Explaining the Concept 

An EB-2 visa is a popular option for highly-qualified foreign nationals seeking permanent residence (green card) in the United States. Standard EB-2 applicants depend on a job offer from a US employer, which is responsible for applying on behalf of the foreign employee.  

Before offering a permanent job, EB-2 employers must go through the process of labor certification known as a “PERM.”  

This process requires the applicant to comply with strict job advertising requirements to prove that there are no qualified US workers for the position offered to foreign workers.  

Also, the employer must demonstrate that the recruitment of foreign workers will not adversely affect the wages of US workers. As expected, the PERM process can be lengthy and costly. 

With a national interest waiver (NIW), the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows EB-2 applicants to waive the sponsorship requirement and the labor certification upon meeting specific eligibility criteria. 

Who Qualifies for National Interest Waiver – In Detail  

To qualify for an NIW, foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States to live and work as permanent residents must demonstrate: 

  • The applicant’s eligibility for EB-2 status 
  • The applicant’s proposed endeavor has “substantial merit” and “national importance” 
  • The applicant is well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor, and  
  • The endeavor would be beneficial to the United States in a way that justifies the waiver of the job offer and labor certification process 

Substantial Merit 

Essentially, applicants seeking an NIW must demonstrate that the professional activities they will be performing while living in the United States are valuable to the country’s national interest. 

Many applicants fail to describe the proposed endeavor as specifically as possible, which results in imprecise language. The more specific the description of the applicant’s field of expertise is, the more likely the petition will be approved by USCIS. 

National Importance 

Determining the national importance of a proposed endeavor depends on the potential impact of the applicant’s work in his or her field of expertise. Hence, USCIS will assess: 

  • Whether the proposed endeavor will likely have national or global implications within the applicant’s segment  
  • Whether the endeavor has the potential to create job positions for qualifying US workers 
  • Whether the endeavor has the potential to positively affect the economy  

Advancing the Proposed Endeavor 

No applicant that is not well-positioned to advance a proposed endeavor is eligible for an NIW. Accordingly, applicants must demonstrate that they have high success chances despite the share of risk involved in the project. 

Please note that the applicant’s skill or abilities involved in the process must necessarily contribute to the national interest of the United States.  

Are You Qualified for a National Interest Waiver? – Find Out with the Help of an Expert Immigration Attorney 

A well-versed legal advisor in US immigration law, Attorney Romy B. Jurado is willing to help you. Contact us by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing Romy@juradolawfirm.com for an individual consultation.