A National Interest Waiver (NIW) petition is an appealing option for those who qualify, to petition for legal permanent residence. A National Interest Waiver (NIW) petition requests that the PERM (Labor Certification) requirement be waived for the sake of the “national interest of the United States;” thus, allowing an applicant to apply for an NIW immigration petition without a labor certification or a job offer from a U.S. employer, although an employer can also petition for an NIW on behalf of an employee. NIW petitions fall in the Employment-Based Immigration, Second Preference (EB-2) category on the Visa Bulletin. The NIW can be filed concurrently with other petitions, if applicable, such as a traditional PERM/I-140 or an EB-1A Petition. When the time comes, you select and move forward on one approved petition to either adjust status or consular process, assuming the Visa Bulletin indicates an available permanent visa.

Caroline Ostrom, Minneapolis business immigration attorney, assists petitioners nationwide who are seeking a National Interest Waiver. We encourage you to contact us if you need legal advice regarding NIW eligibility or the application process.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to file an NIW petition, you must demonstrate the following:

  • An “advance degree” or “exceptional ability” in the arts, sciences or business.
  • The foreign national’s proposed endeavor must have both substantial merit and national importance.
  • The foreign national must be well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor; and
  • On balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer and thus of a labor certification.

An “advance degree” is a U.S. Master’s degree or higher, or a foreign equivalent. In the absence of Master’s degree or higher, a U.S. Bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent plus at least five years of progressive experience in the relevant profession is considered an advanced degree. In the alternative, the applicant may demonstrate instead exceptional ability, a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the profession. USCIS has strict standards for what constitutes the foreign degree equivalent, and what is deemed exceptional ability.

NIW cases for Physician and Entrepreneurs have unique requirements and considerations. These are outlined in our respective sections of our website.

How Our Minneapolis Immigration Lawyer Can Help

The EB-2 National Interest Waiver is an appealing category, as it allows those who qualify to self-petition without the need to show a lack of available US workers through a PERM (Labor Certification). It is also potentially broad and wide-ranging, as long as your work is of substantial merit and national in scope, it can encompass many fields of endeavor in the arts, sciences, and business. However, it is a category that sets a high bar to demonstrate eligibility. We assess potential clients’ cases based on the relevant laws, regulations, case law and memorandums, to determine the strength of an NIW Petition. If there is sufficient achievement to move forward, we assist in presenting the strongest case possible to USCIS, using our experience and insight into USCIS adjudication practices and trends. We assist in drafting and reviewing letters of recommendation, which are vital to the NIW Petition, and also assemble and advise on all other documents relevant to a successful case.

Based in Minneapolis, our immigration team works with Interest Waiver (NIW) Petitioners nationwide. We welcome you to contact Ostrom Law Office for assistance with your immigration matter.