National Interest Waivers
An alien may apply for permanent residence status (Green Card) and seek a waiver of the offer of employment by establishing that his (her) admission to permanent residence would be in the National Interest.
There is no rule or statutory standard as to what will qualify an alien for a National Interest Waiver. The USCIS considers each case on an individual basis.
The procedure is to file the case with evidence to establish that the alien's admission to the United States for Permanent Residence would be in the national interest.
Factors that have been considered in successful cases include:
- The aliens admission will improve the U.S. economy.
- The aliens admission will improve wages and working conditions of U.S. Workers.
- The aliens admission will improve educational and training programs for U.S. children and underqualified workers.
- The aliens admission will provide more affordable housing for young, aged, or poor U.S. residents.
- The aliens admission will improve the U.S. environment and lead to more productive use of the national resources.
- The aliens admission is requested by an interested U.S. government agency.
National Interest Waivers should consider support by affidavits from well-known, established and influential people or organizations, and follow these suggestions:
- The alien will substantially benefit prospectively the national economy, cultural or educational interests or welfare of the United States.
- The alien will contribute to the U.S. not just by the fact that they are working in a field of high national interest, but that the alien may be a key or critical member of a team if it can be shown that the team function would be severely impaired without this member. Merely working in an area of national interest does not necessitate a finding of national interest qualification.
- The alien can submit testimonial letters from substantial, recognized national or international organizations/institutes and/ or government agencies with the expertise to definitely say that the work or contribution of the individual truly is in the national interest. The authors should clearly state how they came to be familiar with the aliens work.
It is not enough to submit academics articles, field surveys, general reports, etc., which often add minimal weight to bolster the claim for his/her specific achievements or individual national interest potential, the individualized letters add substantial and personal weight to the NIW application.
Graduate students and PhD candidates, who have not had enough time or experience as a researcher or engineer in order to qualify for EB1 category and have done little, outside the work required to complete their degree have difficulty in substantiating their application with the above mentioned testimonials. Even if their area of research is so potentially cutting edge or so significant that it must be in the national interest, substantially much greater evidence may be required to establish an NIW claim.
USCIS looks for realistic evidence of substantial prospective benefit to a national interest item or agenda which specifically sets the alien apart from others in the field.
Evidence of a one-time achievement (e.g., a major, internationally-recognized award), or at least three of the following:
- Receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor,
- Membership in associations in the field which require outstanding achievements as judged by recognized national or international experts, published material about the alien in professional or major trade publications or other major media,
- Participation on a panel or individually as a judge of the work of others in the field or an allied field,
- Original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field,
- Authorship of scholarly articles in the field, in professional or major trade publications or other major media,
- Display of the alien's work at artistic exhibitions or showcases,
- Evidence that the alien has performed in a leading or critical role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation,
- Evidence that the alien has commanded a high salary or other high remuneration for services, or
- Evidence of commercial successes in the performing arts, as shown by box office receipts or record, cassette, compact disk, or video sales.
If the above standards do not readily apply to the alien's occupation, you may submit comparable evidence to establish the alien's eligibility.