National Interest Waiver (EB-2 NIW)

What is National Interest Waiver?

An National Interest Waiver allows a professional to apply for permanent residency on the merit that their job benefits, and is in the national interest of, the United States. You may self-petition and it is not necessary that you have an employer sponsor you.


The National Interest Waiver for EB-2

Second preference EB-2 aliens are those are a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent, or a foreign national who has exceptional ability.
EB-2 petitions must generally be accompanied by an approved individual labor certification from the Department of Labor on Form ETA-750. However, aliens can get this requirement waived through applying for a national interest waiver (NIW). Aliens self-petition for national interest waiver (NIW) and do not need an employer to sponsor them. To do this, an alien mush show how he/she proposes to substantially benefit the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the U.S. A national interest waiver is essential for individuals whose careers do not typically involve permanent employment with a single company.


Advanced Degree:

To qualify for EB-2, an alien must have either an advanced degree or exceptional ability. Advanced degree means a degree above bachelor’s.
To Show Exceptional Ability, Aliens must include documentation of at least three of the criteria listed below:

  1. Official academic record showing that they possess a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to your area of exceptional ability
    – Foreign documents should come with evaluations
  2. Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in their occupation (including dates of employment, salary or wages paid, specific duties performed)
  3. A license to practice their profession or certification for your profession or occupation (if the state where the worker would be employed requires a state license in order to be engaged in a particular profession or specialty, a state license is also required)
  4. Evidence that they have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability (letters from employers)
    – Evidence of the average salary for the field and what salary percentile the alien is in is beneficial
  5. Membership in a professional association(s)
  6. Recognition for their achievements and significant contributions to their industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations (reference letters from people in the field or industry)
    – Peer-reviewed presentations at symposia or peer-reviewed articles in scholarly journals that have received widespread commentary or acclaim from others in the field, unsolicited requests for copies of the alien’s scientific abstracts or published research papers, and significant number of citations can satisfy this criterion
  7. Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable.


New York State Department of Transportation Case (NYSDOT)

In addition to these criteria, an alien applying for national interest waiver (NIW) must also demonstrate that their employment in the United States would significantly benefit the nation as a whole. According to the New York State Department of Transportation Case (NYSDOT), this entails that the waiver applicant is required to:

  1. Show that he/she seeks employment in an area of substantial intrinsic merit
  2. Show that he/she seeks employment in an area of substantial intrinsic merit
  3. Demonstrate that the national interest would be hurt if labor certification were required or in other words, establish that he/she will serve the national interest to a substantially greater degree than would an available U.S. worker having the same minimum qualifications.

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