Powell Immigration Law PC | Business, Employment and Family Immigration Law | California

EB-2 National Interest Waiver

A basic overview of the visa is provided here. If you have further inquiries as to the application process or whether or not this is the correct route for your needs, please don't hesitate to contact us.


The National Interest Waiver (NIW) is made available to foreign nationals of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business and advanced degree professionals in order to supply a procedure for bypassing the EB-2 visa's burdensome labor certification process when it is viewed as being in the national interest.

Individuals seeking an NIW may also self-petition in that they are not required to have sponsorship by an employer, and may file their labor certification directly with United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) along with their Form I-140 Petition for Alien Worker. 


1. Qualification as a Person of Exceptional Ability in the Sciences, Arts or Business or Advanced Degree Holder

To be classified as a person with exceptional ability, the applicant must provide at least three of the following:

  • An official academic record showing the foreign national has a degree, diploma, certificate or similar award from a college, university, school or other institution of learning relevant to the area of exceptional ability.
  • Letters documenting at least ten years of full-time experience.
  • Any license or certificate necessary for practice of the profession.
  • Evidence of high commanded salary or compensation for services demonstrative of exceptional ability.
  • Membership in professional associations.
  • Documents proving recognition by peers, government officials, professional or business organizations for significant achievements and contributions to the field.
  • USCIS may also accept other comparable evidence of eligibility if the above standards are not applicable.

To qualify as a person holding an advanced degree, the applicant must be in possession of a master’s degree or bachelor’s degree (with at least five years of post-bachelor degree experience).

2. The occupation is in the national interest

The term “national interest” is not defined by the statute, but the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office has provided a set of factors that are considered to be significant criteria for evaluating foreign nationals and their supposed benefit to the national interest of the U.S. 

These factors may be, but are not limited to:

  • Improving the U.S. economy.
  • Improving the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers.
  • Improving education and training programs for American children and under-qualified workers.
  • Improving health care.
  • Providing affordable housing.
  • Improving the environment.
  • The request of an interested agency within the U.S. government. 

3. Unique Knowledge And Abilities

The applicant must possess unique knowledge or abilities that set him or her apart from other professionals within the field, and the applicant will utilize these qualities in ways that will significantly benefit the U.S.

4. A Labor Certification Under Normal Procedure would Adversely Affect The Nation

It must be persuaded that the national interest would be adversely affected if a labor certification under normal EB-2 procedure were required. The foreign national must submit sufficient proof that the contribution is significant and that the time taken for the typical labor certification process would significantly harm the U.S. national interest.


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