The national interest waiver (NIW) visa is increasingly sought after by foreign nationals desiring legal residence and employment opportunities in the United States. As part of the EB-2 employment-based visa category, the NIW green card holds similarities to its regular EB-2 counterpart. In this article, you will discover the essential steps to prove a national interest waiver and secure your NIW green card.
National Interest Waiver – An Overview
The national interest waiver visa ranks among the top choices for individuals aspiring to legally immigrate to the United States. To qualify for an NIW visa, applicants must either possess an advanced degree or its equivalent or exhibit exceptional ability in their field of expertise. An advanced degree encompasses master’s degrees, doctorates, or a bachelor’s degree coupled with five years of field-related experience. Furthermore, applicants must demonstrate that their employment is in the best interest of the United States, thus justifying the waiver of standard EB-2 visa prerequisites—a job offer and labor certification.
Regular EB-2 Visa vs. National Interest Waiver Visa – Grasping the Distinction
When pursuing a regular EB-2 visa, applicants must secure a full-time job offer from a US employer and undergo a labor certification process (PERM). The labor certification process is mandated by the US government to confirm the unavailability of willing, qualified US workers for the specific position.
Conversely, the national interest waiver visa empowers applicants to self-petition, eliminating the need for a job offer from a US employer and bypassing the labor certification process.
National Interest Waiver Requirements – The Matter of Dhanasar
To qualify for a national interest waiver, applicants must also satisfy the criteria laid out in the Matter of Dhanasar. This pivotal decision, issued in 2016 by the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), reshaped the evaluation of NIW applications by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
According to the decision, once eligibility for EB-2 classification has been established, USCIS may grant an NIW visa if the applicant demonstrates:
- The substantial merit of the endeavor proposed in the petition.
- The national importance of the endeavor proposed in the petition.
- The applicant’s readiness to execute the proposed endeavor.
- The benefits of the proposed endeavor to the United States that justify waiving the requirements of a regular EB-2 visa.
In contemporary times, applicants can also furnish additional evidence to support the waiver of standard EB-2 visa prerequisites. Such evidence may include:
- Demonstrating the impracticality of securing a job offer or obtaining a labor certification due to the nature of the proposed endeavor or the applicant’s qualifications.
- Illustrating that even if qualified US workers were available, the nation would still benefit from the proposed endeavor.
- Establishing that the US national interest(s) served by the proposed endeavor are sufficiently urgent to warrant waiving the labor certification process (PERM).
National Interest Waiver Requirements – Securing USCIS Approval
To secure USCIS approval for a national interest waiver, applicants must successfully demonstrate two critical factors. Firstly, USCIS officers will scrutinize the petition to confirm whether the applicant has met the fundamental regulatory criteria by submitting the requisite evidence. Secondly, USCIS officers will assess whether the evidence provided in the petition genuinely substantiates the applicant’s level of expertise justifying the waiver of the labor certification process.
Under this comprehensive approach, USCIS evaluates whether granting an NIW visa to an applicant is in the best interest of the United States, factoring in the national interest and the applicant’s qualifications.
Is It Necessary to Work with an Immigration Attorney to Obtain a National Interest Waiver?
NIW visa applicants are not mandated to engage an immigration attorney, as they have the option to self-petition. However, the expertise of an experienced attorney can prove invaluable, particularly when organizing and submitting the necessary paperwork to the USCIS. The application process does not involve interviews, necessitating that all evidence be presented in writing. An adept attorney will assist you in crafting a compelling petition, thereby increasing your prospects of success.
We Can Help You Obtain a National Interest Waiver (NIW) Visa
Securing an NIW visa is a significant achievement that can be expedited with the assistance of seasoned professionals. At Jurado & Associates, P.A., our expert attorneys are dedicated to perfecting your petition to ensure a positive outcome. If you aspire to obtain an NIW visa, do not hesitate to reach out to us today by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] to schedule a consultation.