National Interest Waiver

Professionals with advanced degrees and persons of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business fields may be eligible to apply for a national interest waiver (NIW), under the employment-based second preference (EB-2) immigrant category.

The NIW has two main benefits. First, the individual does not need a labor certification or job offer. Second, the individual may self-petition for immigration, as an alternative to being sponsored by her employer. Due to these benefits, NIW petitions may be processed faster than other EB-2 petitions.

While applying for an NIW has significant benefits, the individual should know that it may be difficult to establish that the she qualifies for an NIW. In addition to having an advanced degree, the individual must provide documentation showing that she possesses exceptional ability in her field of endeavor. Additionally, the individual must also demonstrate that she meets the following three tests:

  • She seeks to work in an area of substantial intrinsic merit to the US (i.e. healthcare, economy, security or some other important aspect)
  • The benefit from her proposed activity will be national in scope – it will benefit the entire U.S. population, and not just a particular area.
  • US national interest would be adversely affected if a Labor Certification were required for the individual – there would be negative consequences if the her work was interrupted due to a lengthy Labor Certification process; or she possesses exceptional qualifications that would not be reflected in the certification process and which US workers were were minimally qualified for the same job would lack.

PLEASE NOTE: Immigration law and regulations change frequently. In order to protect yourself you should make sure that you understand the laws and how they apply to you. If you have questions about your status, you should consult an expert. If you would like to be notified about recent changes to this website, or if you would like to receive Immigration Tips by email, please provide us with your email address. If you would like help from Ms. Chappell-Daly, please contact her.