A National Interest Waiver (NIW) is a petition that foreign nationals applying for employment-based second preference green card may file to seek exemption from the job offer and labor certification requirements of the EB2 visa application. Qualified EB2 green card applicants are those with an exceptional ability or advanced degree in the sciences, arts, or business.

According to the Immigration Act of 1990, the EB2 green card is the second preference immigrant visa category that provides lawful permanent residence in the United States. It includes "individuals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business” and "members of the professions holding advanced degrees."

The EB2 NIW falls under the employment-based second preference green card category. EB2 NIW applicants may be eligible if they are able to prove that their proposed employment would significantly benefit the national interest of the US.

EB-2C Quick Facts

Some of the main highlights of the EB2 National Interest Waiver include the following.

  • Provides residency in the United States.
  • Aliens applying under NIW do not require a permanent job offer.
  • EB-2C does not require employer’s sponsorship; applicant can self-petition the EB2 NIW.
  • There is no specific requirement to be a member of any professional association, organization, or society in order to obtain an EB2 visa.
  • Applicants are exempt from the labor certification requirements.
  • Applicants can apply for EB2 NIW after an EB1 visa petition. This increases the odds of obtaining approval for an employment-based visa.
  • NIW enables alien to change jobs during the process as long as the employment continues to be in the same or similar field.
  • EB2 visa holders are allowed to bring their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to the US on a dependent visa.
  • Spouses of EB2 visa holders are eligible to file for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

National Interest Waiver Requirements

In order to qualify for an EB2 NIW, applicants must demonstrate that their request for the job offer and labor certification requirements to be waived are in the national interest of the United States. The NIW requirements are as follows.

1. Applicant plans to work in the US in an area of substantial intrinsic merit.

You must demonstrate to USCIS that your proposed employment for which you are filing for EB2 visa is important. You can do this by providing evidence such as:

  • A letter from you and/or your company containing a description of your work and its importance
  • Articles and/or other publications detailing your work and its importance
  • Letters from experts in the field verifying your work and its importance

2. Applicant’s proposed impact of work is national in scope.

You must demonstrate that the impact of your work will benefit the nation. You can do this by providing evidence such as:

  • Published articles or media
  • Copies of contracts or agreements that show the scope and impact of your work
  • Letters from current and former employers detailing the scope and importance of your work
  • Letters from experts in the field that discuss the scope and importance of your work

3. Applicant shows that waiving the labor certification requirement would benefit the national interests of the US.

You must demonstrate that your work will serve the national interest of the US and to a much greater extent than that of your colleagues. You may be qualified if you can show that your work will create jobs for US workers or enhance the welfare of the US in some way. Evidence for this requirement may include:

  • Copes of publications that cite or recognize your achievements
  • Copies of grants or funding you’ve received listing the amounts and mentioning the principal and co-investigators
  • Documents that show how others are implementing your work. This may include:
    • Contracts from companies using your products
    • Documents showing how licensed technology you/your company invented is being used by others
    • Patents or licenses you/your company received and how they are being used

Application Process

To file for the EB2 National Interest Waiver, applicants must complete the following steps.

File Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. EB2 NIW applicants must self-petition for permanent residency. The purpose is to prove that the applicant qualifies as an alien with exceptional ability or advanced degree.

Complete background check. The purpose is to prove that the applicant and his/her family members do not have prior immigration or criminal violations or other problems that would make them ineligible for the green card. It explains the entire history of applicant in the field. Begins by explaining how the applicant got involved in the field and improved over the years. Therefore, applicant must have extremely detailed information about his/her education, training, work experience, and other qualifications.

File Form I-485 or attend consular processing interview. Upon approval of Form I-140, applicant should file Form I-485 application for adjustment of status or take consular processing interview at a US consulate in their country.

Applicant will receive a permanent resident card (green card) by mail if their application is approved by USCIS.

Additional Information

  • To reap the benefit of faster process, applicant can file both Form I-140 & Form I-485 concurrently.
  • NIW is a good option for those who do not wish to wait several years for labor certification or those who do not wish to be tied to a specific employer.
  • The NIW applicant is not required to have a job.
  • The NIW also applies to physicians.
  • A U.S. employer may also file an NIW petition on behalf of the beneficiary.