National Interest Waiver Changes and Who They Benefit

The National Interest Waiver program benefits those wishing to enter the United States without a sponsored job offer. Once there, they can take the Green Card path to permanent residency — provided it’s in the nation’s best interest to approve this waiver. However, recent changes make this challenging process a little more accessible to certain categories of people. What are these adaptations, and will they benefit you? Read on to find out.

Changes As of January 30, 2023

The National Interest Waiver (NIW) is part of the Employment-Based Second Preference (EB-2) category. Through this document, individuals who have exceptional abilities and the education and skills to back them up may qualify for the work exemption. In short, they don’t need an employer to sponsor them for a Green Card. They can sponsor and pay for the fees themselves.

This has always been a complicated, time-consuming path, as it’s challenging to demonstrate why you are integral to the wealth of an entire country. But thousands of people apply for this waiver each year. USCIS is operating under a backlog of visa requests and a limited budget, putting NIW request approvals behind.

But now, National Interest Waiver applicants can spend an extra $2,500 and receive premium processing. This fee ensures your petitions are adjudicated (not necessarily approved) within 45 days.

A Little More About the NIW

The National Interest Waiver is used by those individuals with exceptional abilities in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), as well as arts. Entrepreneurs, new graduates, and seasoned workers can all benefit from an NIW if they meet the requirements.

This immigrant petition is designed to aid foreign nationals in their goal of obtaining lawful permanent residence status under an EB-2. Typically, this offer requires an employer to sponsor the petitioner for a full-time, permanent position. An approved labor certification application certified by the Department of Labor is necessary, and this part of the process can take up to two years to complete.

The NIW portion of the EB-2 waives this requirement. It states that the petitioner’s residence in the US is of national importance to the economy, cultural or educational interest, or welfare of the country. Additionally, those in professions holding advanced degrees may also qualify.

Updates to the Policy

Recent changes include a section under the heading of Specific Evidentiary Considerations for Persons with Advanced Degrees in STEM Fields. In this area, USCIS incorporates a statement that clarifies its interest in those with advanced STEM degrees. Per USCIS, these individuals are crucial to the country’s success in “focused critical and emerging technologies,” “other STEM areas important to U.S. competitiveness,” and (3) “national security.”

Because technology is essential to national security, these fields take priority when it comes to approving National Interest Waivers. 

While anyone who meets the evidence requirements may have an NIW approved, USCIS now suggests you may have an edge over others if you:

●     Have an advanced STEM degree (most preferably a Ph. D.)

●     Are planning on engaging in work that furthers emerging or critical technology

●     Are already in a position that you can use to help advance your nationally important endeavor

●     Your endeavor is considered to have extra merit to enhance national security or economic competitiveness

●     Your petition includes support from US government agencies.

These changes particularly benefit STEM graduates and entrepreneurs in the STEM field. The added allowance of premium processing will speed up the adjudication of applicant requests to 45 days.

What’s Next?

Are you interested in finding out if you qualify for a National Interest Waiver? This document could be what you need to have to fast-track your Green Card request, and Visa2US is here to help you do that! Contact us today to find out if your case has enough evidence to support your claim of an individual of “national interest.”

Skip the research part for your immigration application.

Simply answer questions we prepared for you and the completed forms are ready!

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.