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:
- 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;
- Letter(s) showing at least ten years of full-time experience in the occupation;
- A license to practice the profession or certification for the profession or occupation;
- Evidence of having commanded a salary or other remuneration for services, which demonstrates exceptional ability;
- Membership in professional associations;
- Recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by peers, governmental entities, or professional or business organizations;
- 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.