The National Interest Waiver is reserved for a small number of foreign professionals who are at the very top of their field. Qualified applicants obtain a green card much more quickly than others applying for a green card via employment.
Generally there are three steps to obtaining a green card via employment. Those lucky enough to obtain a National Interest Waiver get to skip the time consuming first step (labor certification application). Instead, the applicant moves on to step two (the I-140 immigrant petition) and step three (the green card application).
Since the applicant can file the NIW, the immigrant petition and the adjustment of status application simultaneously, the person saves significant time and avoids the onerous labor certification application. Still, the NIW is very difficult to obtain and requires an enormous amount of evidence and preparation. A person interested in this category should consult a competent immigration attorney to determine eligibility for this often elusive waiver.
Those eligible to apply include:
- Persons who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent OR
- Person of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, professions, or business whose services will substantially benefit the U.S. and are sought by a U.S. employer. Exceptional ability is defined as having a degree of expertise above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts or business
Approval of a NIW hinges on three factors:
- The applicant seeks employment in an area of substantial intrinsic merit
- The proposed benefit will be national in scope
- The applicant seeking the waiver must persuasively demonstrate that the national interest would be adversely affected if a labor certification were required for the alien
Advantages of the NIW include:
- Do not need a job offer from employer/can self sponsor
- Can simultaneously apply for a green card
- Streamlines process and cuts years off waiting time
- Waives approval of labor certification application
The Law Office of Christine Troy has obtained National Interest Waivers for clients and successfully appealed the revocation of a client's NIW to the Administrative Appeals Unit.