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National Interest Waiver

National Interest Waive is the second-preference employment category (EB-2) for individuals of “exceptional ability” or an “advanced degree” in science, technology, education, art, commerce and other industries. For EB-2s, a job offer and a labor certification are generally required. This requirement can be waived if the foreign petitioner can demonstrate that granting the EB-2 petition would be in the national interest of the United States.

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NIW  Eligibility

1

You work in a field that requires an “advanced degree” or a traditional field as a professional such as an attorney, doctor, architect, engineer or professor;

2

You demonstrate extraordinary ability in academia as a post-doc, Ph.D. in training, visiting scholar, scientific researcher, and etc.

NIW Advantages
NIW Green Card vs General EB-2
NIW

No need for a job offer

No need for a labor certification

Easier to apply

NIW Green Card vs EB-1
NIW
NIW is easier to apply in that petitioners only need to satisfy three of the six criteria set below. Each criterion is less demanding than that of EB-1.
NIW Eligibility
“Advanced Degree” refers to:
A petitioner shall satisfy three of the six below criteria to demonstrate his or her “Exceptional Ability” (science, art or business):
A Master’s degree or above from a US educational institute; OR
 
An equivalent Master’s degree or above from a foreign educational institute; OR
A Bachelor’s degree from a US educational institute or its equivalent from a foreign educational institute, AND 5 years of work experience in the same field.
If the petitioner does not have an “advanced degree”, demonstrating exceptional ability in the field is another option. That is to say such a petitioner has extraordinary ability in science, art or business field that is above average.
An official academic record showing the petitioner 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;
At least 10 years of full-time experience in the occupation, usually supported by letters from current or former employers;
A license to practice the profession or certification for a particular profession or occupation;
Evidence that the petitioner has received a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrate exceptional ability;
Membership of a professional association;
Recognition of petitioner’s achievements and significant contributions to the field by peers, governmental agencies, professional or business organizations. [Must Have]
NIW Q&A

Q: What is NIW, National Interest Waiver of the second preference of employment-based immigration?

A: NIW means National Interest Waive, which is the second-preference employment category (EB-2). For EB-2s, a job offer and a labor certification are generally required. This requirement can be waived under NIW for the foreign petitioner.

Q: What are the requirement of a general EB-2?

A: To meet the basic eligibility requirements for EB-2, you need to a) possess an advanced degree, such as a masters’ degree or higher; or b) demonstrate exceptional ability in science, art or business field.

Q: What is an “advanced degree”?

A: It refers to a Master’s degree or higher from a US educational institute or its equivalent from a foreign educational institute.

Q: Who can file the petition for NIW, National Interest Waiver?

A: Any foreigner can file the petition to USCIS directly; Any US employer can file such a waiver for its foreign employee as well.

Q: What does “exceptional ability” mean for EB-2?

A: EB-2 requires that the beneficiary demonstrate exceptional ability in science, art and business field. There is no clear and definite definition of “exceptional ability” in the immigration policy but it is required that such a foreign beneficiary should possess professional skills and ability that are superior to most of his peers in the professional field.

Q: What does “the equivalent to an advanced degree” mean?

A: It is defined by the USCIS that a petitioner is deemed to possess the equivalent to an advanced degree if such a beneficiary possesses a baccalaureate or bachelor’s degree plus 5 years of progressive work experience in the field.

Q: What is the difference between general EB-2 and NIW?

A: A general EB-2 requires the petitioner to be the employer and that a labor certification be obtained before I-140 is submitted. Under EB-2, the foreign employee is the beneficiary while the employer is the petitioner; In addition, EB-2 requires that the beneficiary possess an advanced degree or demonstrate exceptional ability. However, with NIW, in addition to the employer being the petitioner, the foreigner can also file the petition as the petitioner directly to USCIS.

Q: What does “National Interest” mean in NIW?

A: Based on the current criteria, national interest refers to the direct interest that benefits the majority of the society. Based on previous cases, we believe that national interest generally means:

• The granting of the foreign petitioner will promote the development of the US economy;

•  The granting of the foreign petitioner will enhance the compensation and working condition for US local labor force;

•  The granting of the foreign petitioner will provide more affordable housing to young people and people of mid to lower class in the US;

•  The granting of the foreign petitioner will improve the environment and utilization of national resources;

•  The petition is filed by US government entities for the foreign beneficiary.

Q: What can National Interest Waiver waive?

A: As a special category of EB-2 (second preference of employment-based immigration), NIW waives a long and tedious application for a labor certification and does not require the beneficiary to have a job offer as long as such a person qualifies for a general EB-2.

Q: What documents can be used to support the beneficiary’s “exceptional skill”?

A: To demonstrate the beneficiary’s exceptional skills in science, art and business world, he or she needs to satisfy three of the criteria set below:

1. An official academic recording the petitioner 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;

2. At least 10 years of full-time experience in the occupation, usually supported by letters from current or former employers;

3. A license to practice the profession or certification for a particular profession or occupation;

4. Evidence that the petitioner has received a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrate exceptional ability;

5. Membership of a professional association;

6. Recognition of petitioner’s achievements and significant contributions to the field by peers, governmental agencies, professional or business organizations.

In addition to the above-mentioned documents, the foreign petition can also provide documents or proof that carry the similar weight as evidence.

Q: I do not have any awards in my field. Can I still petition for NIW?

A: Yes, you can. The policy does not require the beneficiary to have awards in his or her field, though awards do help with the petition. If you do not have any awards in your field, you can provide other documents as evidence to support your petition for NIW.

Q: I am currently in a Ph.D. program. Can I petition for NIW? Will the success rate be very low?

A: Many people have the misunderstanding that since a student in Ph.D. program has not finished his or education, his or her NIW petition is more likely to be denied. As a matter of fact, it is not the case because a Ph.D. student has already satisfied the “advanced degree” requirement under EB-2 NIW.  However, a Ph.D. student needs to provide convincing and powerful evidence to demonstrate his or her exceptional ability. Moreover, for a Ph.D. student, it is critical to define his or her professional field and the petition is more likely to be approved if the petitioner can demonstrate that his or her skills are superior to others within the field. My Visa Services has extensive experience assisting Ph.D. students acquiring NIW.

Q: None of my papers have been published on professional journals, can I still apply for NIW?

A: Yes, you can. Although publications on professional journals can help with the petition, the policy does not request that the petitioner must have publications. Petitioners can submit other evidence to support their petitions.

Q: What is the difference between NIW and EB-1A? Can one petition for both simultaneously?

A: NIW and EB-1A are different in their requirement and eligibility. Therefore, the supporting documents for I-140 petition can be different as well. Unlike EB-1A, NIW does not require the beneficiary to be among the top 10% of his or her field, as long as the beneficiary can provide evidence to show his or her advanced degree or exceptional ability. After I-140 is approved, there is basically no distinction between NIW and EB-1A during I-485 petition. There is no policy that forbids both petitions to be filed simultaneously. In fact, many petitioners file the petitions at the same time to have a backup plan. Based on our past experience, many who have chosen to file both petitions got at least one petition approved.

Q: Can I file NIW petition simultaneously with other immigration petition of a different category?

A: Yes, you can. However, please be aware that each I-140 form only allows one immigration category to be checked. You might need to provide a different I-140 and supporting documents for other immigration petitions.

Q: Can I change my job while my NIW petition is pending?

A: If the foreigner beneficiary himself or herself is the petitioner for the NIW petition, then changing jobs while the petition is pending will not impact the petition. However, if the petitioner is the employer, then in case the foreign beneficiary changes his or her a job, a new petition needs to be filed.

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Contact Number: +1 833-666-7888

North American Headquarters: 810 7th Ave Suite 2000, New York, NY 10019

Contact Number: +1 833-666-7888

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