National Interest Waiver

The National Interest Waiver (NIW) is an immigrant petition that can be employer-sponsored or self-sponsored that allows for a waiver of the job offer requirement (i.e. labor certification) if it is deemed in the “national interest.” The applicant must be employed in a capacity that will substantially benefit the U.S. on a national scope (i.e. while employment maybe limited to a particular geographic area, it must be established that the employment will benefit more than one particular region of the country).

Applicant must also establish a past record of specific prior achievement which justifies projections of future benefit to the national interest (i.e. ability to serve the national interest to a substantially greater extent than peers in the field).


In assessing the national interest, USCIS evaluates the following:

  •  Will applicant be working in the U.S. in an area of substantial intrinsic merit
  •  Will applicant’s work be national in scope
  •  Will waiving applicant’s labor certification requirement benefit the national interests of the U.S.

Applicant must possess one of the following:

  •  Advanced Degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in the field).
  •  Exceptional Ability (possessing a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business). Must submit at least 3 of the following:
  1.  Official academic record showing award of a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to the area of exceptional ability;
  2.  Letter(s) showing at least ten years of full-time experience in the occupation;
  3.  A license to practice the profession or certification for the profession or occupation;
  4.  Evidence of having commanded a salary or other remuneration for services, which demonstrates exceptional ability;
  5.  Membership in professional associations;
  6.  Recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by peers, governmental entities, or professional or business organizations;
  7.  Other comparable evidence.

National Interest Considerations

In assessing whether the prospective work benefits the national interest, the following factors may be taken into consideration:

1. Will applicant’s work improve the U.S. economy;

2. Will applicant’s work improve wages and working conditions of U.S. workers;

3. Will applicant’s work improve education and programs for U.S. children and under qualified workers;

4. Will applicant’s work improve health care;

5. Will applicant’s work provide more affordable housing;

6. Will applicant’s work improve the U.S. environment and make more productive use of the national resources; or

7. Will applicant’s work be requested by an interested U.S. government agency.

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