What is the National Interest Waiver (NIW)?
A foreign national may apply for permanent residence status (Green Card) and seek a waiver of the offer of employment by establishing that his (her) admission to permanent residence would be in the National Interest.
There is no rule or statutory standard as to what will qualify an alien for a National Interest Waiver. The USCIS considers each case on an individual basis.
The procedure is to file the case with evidence to establish that the your admission to the United States for Permanent Residence would be in the national interest.
Benefits of the National Interest Waiver:
No Labor Certification required: A big plus since PERM petitions are taking up to 24 months for certification.
You may self-sponsor your petition.
The National Interest Waiver petition must show proof that the your admission will do one or more of the following:
- Improve the U.S. economy.
- Improve wages and working conditions of U.S. Workers.
- Improve educational and training programs for U.S. children and underqualified workers.
- Provide more affordable housing for young, aged, or poor U.S. residents.
- Improve the U.S. environment and lead to more productive use of the national resources.
- The foreign national may also qualify if his or her admission is requested by an interested U.S. government agency.
What types of supporting documents are required?
Evidence of a one-time achievement (i.e., a major, internationally-recognized award), or at least three of the following:
- Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor,
- Membership in associations in the field which require outstanding achievements as judged by recognized national or international experts, published material about the foreign national in professional or major trade publications or other major media,
- Participation on a panel or individually as a judge of the work of others in the field or an allied field,
- Original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field,
- Authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional or major trade publications or other major media,
- Display of the foreign national’s work at artistic exhibitions or showcases,
- Evidence that the foreign national has performed in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation,
- Evidence that the foreign national has commanded a high salary or other high remuneration for services, or
- Evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts, as shown by box office receipts or record, cassette, compact disk, or video sales.
If the above standards do not readily apply to the foreign national’s occupation, you may submit comparable evidence to establish the alien’s eligibility.
The majority of NIW petitions are filed by Postdoctoral Researchers. The following is a summary of the most important evidence to submit:
- Letters of Recommendation.
- Peer Reviewed Publications.
- Cited Publications.
- Conference Presentations.
The current criteria for a National Interest Waiver is from Matter of New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT).
In the NYSDOT case, the court held that the following three criteria must be met:
- The field of research must be of substantial intrinsic merit,
- The benefits of the researcher’s work must be national in scope, and
- The national interest would be adversely affected if a labor certification were required.
Tips on preparing your National Interest Waiver (NIW) Petition:
Those seeking qualification for a waiver of labor certification based on services considered in the national interest must make a showing significantly above that to prove prospective national benefit required of all aliens seeking qualification as exceptional.
The National interest waiver applies only to those who will substantially benefit the national economy, cultural or educational interests or welfare of the United States.
National interest cases require that the emphasis rest with the overall value and potential of the beneficiarys individual contribution to the U.S. (not the fact that you are working in a field of high national interest.)
You may qualify by being found to be a key or critical. member of a team if it can be shown that the team function would be severely impaired without you. Merely working in an area of national interest does not necessitate a finding of national interest qualification.
USCIS recommends the submission of quality testimonial letters from substantial, recognized national or international organizations/institutes/ government agencies with the expertise to definitely say that the work or contribution of the individual truly is in the national interest. The authors of these third-party testimonial letters should clearly state how they came to be familiar with your work. A testimonial letter will often carry more weight if the author is not a personal friend of the applicant.
When accompanied by these improved advisory opinions. and when focused on the individual, time will be saved and returns for evidence will be reduced.
USCIS officers see many claims for graduate students who have not had enough time or experience as a researcher or engineer in order to qualify for the NIW category and have done little, outside the work required to complete their degree. Often the claim is made that their area of research is so potentially cutting edge or so significant that it must be in the national interest. In accordance with established criteria, it should be very difficult for the above-described person to qualify. The class is not designed for all graduate researchers to qualify.
USCIS officers look for realistic evidence of substantial prospective benefit to a national interest item or agenda which specifically sets the alien apart from peers in the field.
E-filed I-140 petitions go to the Texas Service Center (not the Nebraska Service Center).
Contact us for more information about the National Interest Waiver application process, or any other immigration law question. Our professional team will reply promptly. Do it yourself with our downloadable kit.