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National Interest Waiver Requirements

A National Interest Waiver (NIW) is used to waive certain requirements for employment-based immigrant visas if that immigrant can show that their work is of “national interest.” This waiver is only applicable to second preference employment visas, EB-2 visas, where the potential immigrant does not have a permanent job offer to work in the United States. It differs from the first preference employment visa by requiring the immigrant to file documentation instead of the employer on behalf of the immigrant. Due to the benefit of being able to petition for a visa without an employer sponsor, there is a heightened evidentiary standard that the petitioning immigrant must establish in order to meet the requirements for the NIW.

There are some basic requirements that must first be met before a petitioner can qualify for the NIW. The most fundamental requirement is that the petitioner must possess either an advanced professional degree or have exceptional ability. Proof of an advanced professional degree could be shown by having either a Master’s Degree or Ph.D. (or the foreign equivalents). Whereas, proof of exceptional ability can be shown by having extraordinary skills in the areas of sciences, arts, or business, which means showing that their degree of expertise is significantly above that of an ordinary employee in the same profession.

Next, the petitioner must provide evidence that their proposed endeavor would be of national importance by a showing of substantial merit. This includes showing that the petitioner is in the position to advance this endeavor and because of this the U.S. would be benefiting by waiving the employer sponsor requirement.
In order to apply for the NIW, there are various documents that a petitioner will need to provide. They may include:

  • An Immigration Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140)
  • An Alien Employment Certification Application (From ETA-750B)
  • Passport
  • Form I-94
  • Evidence of current nonimmigrant visa status
  • Degree certificate and any evaluation reports
  • Any and all publications, presentations, abstracts, and invitations to conferences
  • Any citations of publication
  • Any comments on papers by referees or journals
  • Any requests for reprints of publications
  • Any evidence of awards or honors received
  • Any evidence of membership in professional associations
  • Any documents on the funding of research projects (or grant numbers)
  • Any documents of participation, either in an induvial capacity or on a panel
  • Any newspaper articles about some of your reference writers
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Letters of Recommendation

If you possess extraordinary skills or an advanced professional degree but do not have an employer sponsor, petitioning for the NIW may be a great option for your particular set of skills. We encourage you to meet with an experienced immigration attorney who can help to prepare documents for your petition. The New York immigration attorneys at Bretz & Coven, LLP have a long history of zealous, knowledgeable, and honest advocacy on behalf of immigrants. To schedule a consultation, contact our New York immigration lawyers today at (212) 267-2555 or fill out our contact form.

Immigration Consequences of Criminal and Fraudulent Conduct
The immigration consequences of criminal or fraudulent conduct can be harsh and often illogical. Even a very minor offense could have a dramatic immigration consequence, including deportation, detention without bond, being denied naturalization, a visa or re-entry into the United States. Likewise, the use of fake or fraudulent documents, aliases, and other misrepresentations can have similar immigration consequences. Kerry Bretz and Bretz & Coven have been counseling non-citizen criminal defendants, as well as their lawyers, for over 20 years. We have a long history of strategizing deportation and removal defenses, as well as applications for waivers, in very complicated cases.

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