Getting a National Interest Waiver in the STEM Field

For decades, the United States has had a reputation of striving to be the best of the best. In the 21st century, this definition often comes hand in hand with creating innovative, cutting-edge technology. But the immigration policy is restrictive and challenging, making it difficult to land the top talent while awaiting H-1B lottery policies and other obstacles. However, if you qualify for a National Interest Waiver, your job in the STEM field could help you skip the long wait and obtain a visa that propels you to the front of the line of foreign workers entering the US.

Top of the STEM Chain

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education can take an individual to nearly any career they choose in the global workforce. The right minds bring innovation and inventions to a nation, which often results in economic boosts, more jobs created, and a higher status for the country overall.

It’s not surprising, then, that the US wants to embrace those who could help the country reach and stay at the top of the STEM chain. This field is vital to the nation’s security, productivity, and economy. Establishing the National Interest Waiver was one solution. 

The STEM National Interest Waiver

Most foreign workers, and the employers who wish to hire them, must go through a cumbersome, time-consuming process to determine whether they qualify for a work visa or not. This begins with a job offer from a sponsor, who will complete all the paperwork and cover the fees associated with filing for the visa.

From start to finish, the process can take anywhere from three months to a year or longer. In the meantime, those top minds are being “head-hunted” from other countries with friendlier immigration policies. If they decide not to wait for a potential visa that might or might not get approved, they have other opportunities.

Instead of waiting for a job offer and the constraints that come with it, those who qualify as someone with exceptional ability in their field may self-petition for a National Interest Waiver. This permits the petitioner, who must meet all the requirements for an EB-2 work visa, to avoid the delays of a job offer and PERM labor certification.

Before 2022, there were no specific terms in the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Policy Manual that referred to STEM workers and how they could obtain an NIW. But now that the manual has been updated, those with advanced STEM degrees can more easily obtain a fast track into the US.

Proving Your Worth

The key to successfully obtaining a National Interest Waiver, whatever your field may be, is to prove that you have significant value to the country. As you can expect, this is a challenge that many people don’t want to take on. However, with the help of an experienced attorney, like those at Visa2US, it’s possible to put together a case that demonstrates your worth and knowledge.

If you’re a STEM expert who has experience making contributions in the field through research and development or other important areas, your work may qualify as in the national interest. The need for skilled workers with proactive ideas is great. Your knowledge and ideas can segue you seamlessly into academia and government jobs or a self-propelled path via collaboration with these entities.

What’s Next?

STEM workers are lining up to register and petition for work visas like the H-1B and EB-2. These visas are in low supply and high demand, and there are limits on how many approvals can be beneficaries from any particular country. Because of these caps, immigrants from places like China and India often find themselves on wait lists for years.

But if you have the entrepreneurial spirit, our legal experts at Visa2US can help you skip these waits and get into the US on your merit. You’ll need to document evidence of your contributions in the field, your education, and how you will help the US succeed in their goal of staying at the head of the STEM race. This can be done with a solid understanding of the Policy Manual, and our attorneys are always up-to-date with any changes.

Contact us to discuss your situation and determine if you’re in one of the critical fields (which regularly vary). Your advanced degree or exceptional abilities can propel you forward as you prove to the US that you can solve a problem that helps the country meet its goals. By working together with our skilled legal experts, you can develop a presentation that thoroughly proves you are worth a 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.