If you are a foreign national who wants to secure your career in the United States – you have options. Certain foreign nationals can request a National Interest Waiver (NIW) to obtain U.S. lawful permanent residence (a green card) without employer sponsorship.
What Is a National Interest Waiver?
The National Interest Waiver allows foreign nationals to bypass the complicated labor certification process that is typically reached through the EB-2 employment-based permanent residence category.
Typically, an EB-2 category green card process requires an employer to sponsor someone by offering them a permanent job and testing the labor market to see if any qualified workers are available to take the position instead. This process is known as labor certification.
However, if the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) believes that a worker is so vital to our country, they may bypass the labor certification and give them a first priority with the National Interest Waiver.
Do I Qualify for a National Interest Waiver?
To be eligible for a national interest waiver, you must first qualify for the EB-2 category by having either an advanced degree or exceptional ability. However, you will need additional evidence to prove that you are a worker who can make significant contributions to the American workforce.
Below are the national interest waiver requirements. To qualify for an NIW, you must have at least three:
- An official academic record that shows you have higher education related to your area of ability. For example, a master’s Ph.D. or another post-baccalaureate degree.
- Documentation of at least ten years of full-time experience in your field
- A professional license pertaining to your occupation (if applicable)
- Evidence that you have earned a salary reflective of your abilities
- Membership in one or more professional associations, usually ones that require achievement to be a member.
- Proof of recognition for your achievements or contributions to your industry by peers, government entities, or business organizations
- Other comparable evidence of eligibility
How Can I Get a National Interest Waiver?
The documents demonstrating your qualifications for the national interest waiver should be submitted with the employer or the applicant's I-140 petition to USCIS. An NIW case will greatly depend on how you establish that your role or experience is “prospective national benefit.” The way you present your case will greatly impact the success of your chase. If the evidence is relevant and well presented, and the argument is made persuasively, there is a chance that you can get a National Interest Waiver.
Since NIW cases are complex, it is best to have an experienced attorney on your side to help you get your employment waiver.
What Is the National Interest Waiver Approval Rate?
Although the USCIS has never released information regarding the overall NIW approval rate, most well-presented cases with adequate evidence are approved. When foreign nationals meet the qualifications needed to obtain a waiver, it is vital that their cases are presented adequately to increase their chances of approval.
Chicago Immigration Attorneys
Obtaining a National Interest Waiver is a difficult process that should not be handled alone. Having an experienced attorney on your side will help you ensure that you complete every step of the process accurately – increasing your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome. It is also important to seek legal advice at the start of your application process. Failing on your own the first time can damage your chances of success in the future.
If you need guidance with your NIW, contact our Chicago immigration attorneys today. We can walk you through the process from start to finish and we can answer any questions.
Contact our Chicago immigration attorneys today at (312) 471-0014 to schedule a consultation!