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National Interest Waiver for US Immigration

Some individuals are truly extraordinary in the things they do. Some may be the pioneer and leading expert in their area of research, while others may lead or oversee a large corporation. For those exceptional individuals that can provide a compelling national interest to immigrate to the United States, they may qualify as a National Interest Waiver (NIW) applicant.

For immigration purposes, USCIS considers NIW applicants under the broader category of “employment-based immigration”, or EB-2 applicants. Under this specific subcategory of National Interest, NIW applicants must demonstrate that their new employment in the United States would greatly benefit the nation.

Naturally, USCIS' definition of NIW applicants is rather vague and ambiguous. However, USCIS' past record has shown that they typically accept only individuals who truly have an extraordinary talent in their profession. Finding the right immigration lawyer will be crucial, as the right experts can highlight the best characteristics USCIS consular officers are looking for.

For those interested in applying, applicants can either self-petition or apply through a sponsor. If an applicant does not/cannot get an employer to sponsor, they can find the appropriate forms to apply themselves.

NIW applicants should be aware of the many prerequisites USCIS specifically outlines on their website. More specifically, for NIW applicants USCIS requires that each applicant provides at least 3 of the many criteria listed.

Below, is a partial list of the criteria USCIS deems appropriate to use in support of a NIW application:

  • Academic Record (official) proving that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to your area of exceptional ability
  • Papers or Letters displaying at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation
  • A license to practice the profession or certification for your professional occupation
  • Documents proving that you have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability
  • Proof of membership(s) in a professional association(s)
  • Proof of recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations

In other words, each NIW applicant will be required to fulfill at least three of the requirements in the list above. USCIS uses this criterion to certify and make sure that there is truly potential or promise in an NIW's employment in America.

For many of those individuals worried about leaving their family when they move to America, USCIS allows the spouse and children under the age of 21 to be admitted to the United States as an E-21 and E-22 immigrant status (respectively). This means that qualified NIW applicants will be able to immigrate with his or her family.

For the right applicant with proper qualifications, the NIW program may the best for you. USCIS has admitted countless individuals who prove to have a national interest in America. If you believe this is the right option for you, consulting an immigration lawyer is highly advised.

This is an immigration legal blog. It is not intended to be used as legal advice.

For further information please contact the law offices of attorney Ramona Kennedy.

Ramona Kennedy (Attorney) received her Jurisprudence Doctorate in America and is a licensed attorney in California (USA). Ramona Kennedy is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Ramona Kennedy is fluent in English and Farsi (reading & writing) & speaks Azeri Turkish.

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