What is the EB-2 National Interest Waiver?
The National Interest Waiver, or NIW, is part of the category of Employment-Based visas, but it falls into the subset known as a Second Preference visa category. NIWs are specifically available for the EB-2. They remain a work visa with the caveat that beneficiaries of this document don’t need to have a job offer from an approved US employer to receive the visa.
The normal route to US employment for a foreign worker is to have a qualified US business sponsor their visa registration and petition. The employer must file for a certified Application for Permanent Employment Certification through the Department of Labor (DOL).
The onus is on the sponsor to prove that there aren’t any qualified workers in the US who can (or are willing) to fill the open position and that foreign labor won’t adversely affect the working conditions or wages of US national workers. The overall process for this initial approval to extend a job offer can take months, and there’s no guarantee that the potential employee’s registration will be approved.
An EB-2 NIW applicant may self-petition directly to USCIS and have the required labor certification process waived, saving the hassle and wait of getting processed through the DOL.
How to Be Eligible for an NIW
Let’s start with the basic eligibility requirements for a National Interest Waiver. This document falls under the EB-2 classification, so you must qualify for that visa before you can look into an NIW. EB-2 applicants are foreign nationals with memberships in a profession that requires each employee to hold an advanced degree or an equivalent or someone with exceptional ability within their field.
Should you apply for an EB-2 based on your degree, you must also have five years of post-baccalaureate experience in your field of study. If your qualifications are based on merit as having exceptional ability, you must be able to prove that ability exists as “significantly above” those individuals ordinarily seen in business, the arts, or the sciences.
If either of those eligibilities for the EB-2 applies to you, and you’d like to skip the job offer process and look into a National Interest Waiver, you must:
● Be in the midst of or proposing an endeavor of national importance with substantial merit,
● Be in a position to advance the endeavor, and
● Offer an endeavor that is beneficial to the US to such a degree that it justifies the job offer waiver and required labor certification.
As you can imagine, it’s not easy to meet those standards. However, there are a few tips that enable you to increase your odds of approval.
Boosting Your NIW Approval Rate
The EB-2 approval rate holds an average of 93%. Within that category is the NIW, although the approval rate for that specific petition has never been revealed by USCIS.
If you’d like to ensure your petition falls within this high approval rate, the best thing to do is immediately obtain legal counsel. Because immigration laws continually change in the US, it’s crucial to know the updated legislation, deadlines, and requirements. This is challenging for the average person, but legal experts like those at Visa2US are always on top of what’s going on in the US government.
Next, once you’ve completed your petition and used legal counsel to verify your documentation is sufficient and correct, consider adding Premium Processing to your application. This service is provided by USCIS for an added fee as a way to expedite your petition. You’ll know within 15 calendar days whether yours was approved or not.
Filing for an NIW is a complicated process. You don’t need a lawyer, but an expert in immigration law can make the whole journey easier and boost your chances of approval. Our legal experts at Visa2US can assist you in providing the documentation necessary to prove that you are worthy of the NIW status, meet all deadlines, and complete the correct paperwork. Contact us today to see how we can help you reduce delays and optimize your path to the National Interest Waiver.