Although the national interest waiver (NIW) is pursued by mostly researchers and academics who have a very niche specialization, there are other examples of applicants outside of the purely research oriented world. For example in a previous post we discussed how an artist (painter or an individual who shows their work in art galleries or other exhibitions) might go about pursuing a NIW and the supporting materials they would need. Additionally this post will detail how an applicant who is a creative writer, author, or public speaker might go about filing a NIW self-petition and the supporting documents to include in such an application. 

Case Example- Taiwanese Poet 

Liu and Associates is an immigration law firm based in Houston, Texas. They have provided on their site some examples of past clients they have worked with who are trying to receive a NIW. In one example, the law firm worked with an applicant who was pursuing a NIW as an accomplished poet and writer. The candidate had an MFA from an accredited U.S. based university, although the firm did not specify if the applicant had been already based in the U.S. while applying for the waiver, or if they had travelled back to Taiwan and were applying from abroad. 

To skip over some of the details of the case, the applicant ended up being granted a NIW for their advanced abilities in the creative sector, but mainly for their candidates ability to “advance positive change in cultural growth, acceptance, and understanding”. We want to highlight what this means for an applicant who would be applying for the NIW in this category. 

For a full description of the case that was handled at this firm, please see the available link:

Cultural Understanding and the National Interest

Although the firm does not go into too much detail about exactly who the candidate is or what their books, poems, or other published material is about, it clearly was substantial enough in order for a USCIS officer to approve the case without an RFE. In other words, there must have been no doubt that the applicants contribution in the field of creative writing helped American audiences and gave insights into other non-Western cultures. 

This could mean that writers, poets, or novelists from other countries could be eligible for a NIW in this category if their writings or published works have a certain desired effect from an international standpoint, such as the following:

  1. The books, poems or other published materials gives readers insights into the struggles of another time, place, culture, important historical event that would be beneficial for American audiences but also audiences in other countries as well.
  2. The books, poems, or other published materials are considered famous or a masterpiece in another country and it would be beneficial and in the national interest to have such works translated into English for U.S. audiences.
  3. The books, poems, or other published materials helps American audiences understand its own history better, and would therefore be in the national interest to have a writer present in the U.S. who can provide such novel viewpoints in an articulate manner.

The above list is not exhaustive, but it is important for any creative writer eligible for the NIW to consider the cultural understanding dynamic of their application. In addition, because the USCIS is governed by the Department of Homeland Security, the NIW in this category would most likely reject applicant writers who dismiss truths or historical facts about U.S. history., given that it would not be in the U.S. national interest to admit a writer who wants to present such ideas. 

Finally, the NIW applicant in this category will need to include the standard burdens of proof needed in order to be considered for such a waiver. These materials include the following:

  • Resume/CV
  • Diploma from an accredited university
  • Letters of Recommendation from other scholars, professors, colleagues 
  • Evidence of awards or certificates or transcripts from speeches given 
  • Revenue or profits generated from book sales
  • Citations from other professionals or literary outlets/magazines who have reviewed your work or have commented on the talent of the writer in question
NIW Writers Creative Arts