What is a National Interest Waiver and Who Qualifies?

An national interest waiver is for advanced degree/exceptional ability workers who are seeking an exemption from the labor certification process and job offer requirement. The labor certification process is discussed in the EB2 and EB3 overview. To be qualified for a national interest waiver, in addition to meeting the requirements for EB2, the worker’s presence must prospectively substantially benefit the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the United States.

EB2 NIW Immigration LawyersThere is not specific statutory definition of “national interest,” however a petitioner should confirm many relevant societal benefits of tangible national interest. A successful NIW applicant must satisfy a three-pronged test to be granted a waiver of the labor certification requirement.

The three pronged test is as follows:

  • i) The applicant must work in an area that has “substantial intrinsic merit”–another way of saying that a reasonable person would agree that the work is important,
  • ii) the work has applications of national scope, and
  • iii) the applicant’s continued work in this area, by nature of his or her proven accomplishments and potential to make future contributions, justifies waiver of the labor certification requirement. In other words, granting the waiver of the labor certification outweighs the inherent value of preserving job opportunities for U.S. workers.

When can I Obtain an EB2 Visa Based on a National Interest Waiver?

Often, there is no wait time for EB2, unless you are from a country where the visa numbers are retrogressed. If the priority date is current, you would be able to obtain a green card as quickly as you would, had you qualified for an EB1 class petition. The process can be completed in a matter of months.

What are the Advantages and Limitations of National Interest Waivers?

As previously mentioned, the process for obtaining EB2 with a national interest waiver can be faster than other employment based green card petitions. Additionally, there is no need to test the US job market and a job offer is not required.

National interest waivers are only appropriate under limited circumstances. Often, the likelihood of success through the labor certification process is substantially higher.

What is the Attorney’s Role in a National Interest Waiver?

As previously mentioned, national interest waivers are only appropriate under limited circumstances. An experienced immigration attorney will be able to assess your eligibility for a national interest waiver, as well as ensure the quality of documentation submitted. In cases where the national benefit is not very clear, an attorney will be able to creatively present a convincing case to qualify the applicant for a waiver.

Contact Us

To discuss National Interest Waiver (NIW) applications and other alternatives with an experienced immigration lawyer from the Shah Peerally Law Group, feel free to contact us by email or call us at 510-742-5887.


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