Can a Lawyer Qualify for a National Interest Waiver?

National Interest Waivers are a special kind of document that allows the foreign beneficiary to live and work in the US without a job sponsor. To qualify, the individual must prove that their skills and expertise make them of “national interest,” which can be a significant challenge. Many careers fall into this realm naturally, including those in STEM and healthcare fields. However, as an attorney, you can challenge the government with evidence that shows you, too, are crucial, and we’ll explain how to do that here.

The EB-2 NIW

Each visa category is designed for its specific subset of foreign nationals. The EB-2, for instance, is only for skilled workers with extraordinary abilities or advanced degrees. Attorneys fit this category automatically, as it takes at least a four-year bachelor’s degree plus three or more years beyond that to attain the required credentials for a law degree.

Still, many lawyers don’t want to work for another company. They prefer to set up a practice of their own, making the job offer requirement of an EB-2 visa unwanted. Instead, certain individuals who can prove their work is important enough to have a national or global impact in the field of law may qualify for a waiver of this job offer step.

National Importance

Simply opening a law firm in the United States isn’t considered a strong enough petition request. But if your business is designed especially to make a difference in the country, that’s a potential game-changer.

For example, an attorney who wishes to focus on aiding volunteer organizations and promoting work for national causes has a potential case to argue. They’d need to have a business plan of action already made before they present their request to the government officials, including how they’ll make an income, the avenues they’ll use to promote their work, and any media outlets or conferences they have lined up for the next year.

Should you decide to go this route, your law degree can help you somewhat. But, as you know, every lawyer has a specialty for a reason, and immigration attorneys know how to handle your situation best. They’ll guide you as you request letters from previous senior executive employers, write your petition thoroughly enough to meet all National Interest Waiver requirements and navigate the complex immigration process.

A skilled National Interest Waiver lawyer knows the potential leaks in your case and can help you make yours watertight. There are various reasons why a strong idea isn’t quite strong enough to reach the national importance level. You may not catch these potential gaps on your own, but working alongside an expert in immigration law and NIWs makes it more likely that those missing pieces will get filled in before you present your case.

Your Experience Matters, Too

Having a detailed plan of action for your business is one part. However, you must also demonstrate that you have the knowledge, skills, and experience to fulfill your ideas and that you’re in a position to do so.

This will include extensive documentation of your education, previous success stories, financial standing, possible investors, interested clients, and other relevant details.

Your NIW case should demonstrate that your activities have already been beneficial to the law field in your home country and would continue to be so in America. Note that proving that your work benefits your clients or a law firm isn’t enough to deem you of national importance. You’ll need to have original ideas about your area of expertise, have shown them through previous conferences or publications, and be well-respected in your field, then take those factors and prove a case for a globally important matter.

What’s Next?

Do you think you have what it takes to be a nationally important attorney? Contact our experts at Visa2US. We’ll listen to your argument, point out any potential areas of weakness, and work with you to create a solid case that will increase your chance of a successful National Interest Waiver.

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H-1B Visa

H-1B Visa

H-1B visa is used by businesses and organizations in the United States to employ foreign nationals with the preferred qualifications, knowledge, and expertise in a role.

I-485 Adjustment of Status

I-485 Adjustment of Status

Submit a form I-485 application to apply for lawful permanent resident status.

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

An applicant must either hold an advanced degree or have an exceptional ability in their field that would substantially benefit the U.S. to be qualified.