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EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW)

The NIW allows an applicant to file an immigrant petition on their own behalf. An individual DOES NOT need a job offer and does not need to acquire a permanent labor (PERM) certification, which is usually required for employment based immigrant cases.

To qualify for a NIW green card, an applicant must demonstrate that:

  • The proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance;
  • The applicant is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor; and
  • On balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the job offer and thus the permanent labor certification requirements.

The applicant is also required to establish:

  • That they have an advanced degree, which is a U.S. master’s or higher A foreign degree may be utilized if it is equivalent to a U.S. degree that is above a baccalaureate level. In the absence of an advanced degree, a U.S. bachelor’s degree (or it’s equivalent) plus five years of progressive post-baccalaureate professional experience can also be used.
    OR the foreign national must show
  • Exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. To demonstrate exceptional ability the applicant must demonstrate that their expertise is at a level significantly above that is ordinarily encountered in their field.
To be classified as a person with exceptional ability, you must provide documented proof of at least three of the following:

  • An official academic record showing the alien has a degree, diploma, certificate or similar award from a college, university, school or other institution of learning relating to the area of exceptional ability.
  • Letters documenting at least ten years of full-time experience.
  • A license to practice the profession or certification for a particular profession or occupation.
  • Evidence that you command a salary or other remuneration for services which demonstrates exceptional ability
  • Membership in professional associations
  • Documents which prove recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by peers, government entities, professional or business organizations
Substantial Merit:

the proposed endeavor must have significant worth or value. This can be established by showcasing the merits of the endeavor in areas such as business, entrepreneurship, science, technology, culture, health, or education. Details about the specific projects, goals, or areas of work within the proposed occupation, rather than simply describing the general duties and responsibilities of the occupation should be provided to highlight how the proposed endeavor has the potential to make a positive impact. Economic benefits to the country do not need to be immediate or quantifiable. For example, endeavors related to research, pure science, or furtherance of human knowledge may qualify, even if the potential accomplishments in those fields may not directly translate into immediate economic benefits for the United States.

National Importance:

The proposed endeavor should have a significant impact at a national level. The endeavor should have the potential to broadly enhance societal welfare, cultural or artistic enrichment, or contribute to the advancement of a valuable technology or field of study. Evidence of the endeavor’s potential prospective impact, such as national or global implications within a particular field, significant potential to employ U.S. workers, or other substantial positive economic effects, may be considered.

Well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor:

when evaluating whether a person is well positioned to succeed in their proposed endeavor, USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) considers factors such as the person’s education, skills, past achievements, and support from others. The petitioner should provide evidence to support their claims, which can include degrees, certificates, patents, letters from experts, published articles, business plans, contracts, awards, grants, and evidence of how the person’s work is being used by others. While the person does not need to prove that their endeavor will definitely succeed, their claims should be credible and supported by evidence.

Waiver of the permanent labor certification:

USCIS considers whether the person’s proposed endeavor and their ability to advance it would provide benefits to the United States that outweigh the usual benefits of the labor certification process. Factors that may be considered include the impracticality of obtaining a labor certification, the benefit to the United States from the person’s contributions, the urgency of the national interest in the person’s contributions (such as in STEM fields), and specific considerations such as public health or safety, unique knowledge or skills, potential revenue generation, and job creation.

  • Does not require a labor certification.
  • Does not require a permanent job offer in the United States.
  • Faster than the labor certification process.
  • You can self-petition.

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