What Is a National Interest Waiver?

If you are looking to come to the U.S. to work, you may be overwhelmed by visa options and information. It is often difficult to discern which visa would be best for you under the circumstances. If you are a professional considering immigrating to the U.S, an EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) may be a good choice.

Understanding EB-2 National Interest Waivers

In order to qualify for an Employment-Based Second Preference (EB-2) visa, the Beneficiary of the visa must be a professional who holds an advanced degree or is one possessing exceptional ability. Under normal circumstances, an EB-2 visa requires a permanent job offer from a U.S. employer. It also requires that the petitioning U.S. employer goes through the Labor Certification Process. With the Labor Certification process, the petitioning U.S. employer must demonstrate that the shortage of qualified U.S. workers in a certain field requires them to hire someone from outside of the U.S. to fill the job.

The purpose of the Labor Certification process (commonly referred to as “PERM”) is to help protect job opportunities for U.S. workers who have the same qualifications as an immigrant seeking employment in the country. This process, unfortunately, can take a great deal of time to complete. That is why many choose to work around this requirement by obtaining a National Interest Waiver (NIW). A National Interest Waiver provides an exception to the general Labor Certification (PERM) requirement.

The applicant must first establish eligibility for an EB-2 visa and then they must be able to meet the additional requirements for the NIW. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses a three-prong test to determine if an NIW should be granted. In order to be granted an NIW, the Applicant must show that:

  • Their proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance: This means that the applicant needs to show that the work he or she is pursuing in the U.S. is pertinent to a national goal and would benefit the country.
  • They are in a good position to advance the proposed endeavor: This requirement speaks to the qualifications of the Applicant. The Applicant can provide proof of their qualifications through relevant work experience, education, and past successes. Often, Applicants will provide letters from former colleagues or employers that support the Applicant’s candidacy.
  • It would be beneficial to the U.S. to waive the labor certification and job offer requirements: To satisfy this requirement, USCIS will look to factors such as whether there are qualified U.S. workers available to fill this role and, even if this is so, whether the U.S. would still benefit from the Applicant’s potential contributions. USCIS will also look to see if it would be impractical to require the Applicant to secure a job offer or go through the labor certification process. USCIS will balance all of these factors, among others, to see if this requirement is met.

Employment Immigration Attorneys

If you should have any questions or need more information about the ways in which the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Laws may impact you, your family, your friends or your colleagues, please contact the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers at the NPZ Law Group – VISASERVE – U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers by e-mailing us at info@visaserve.com or by calling us at 201-670-0006 (x107). You can also visit our Law Firm’s website at www.visaserve.com.