Requirements for Getting a National Interest Waiver
As a subset of the EB-2 category of employment-based immigration, a petitioner whose work offers benefits to the economy, education, or health system of the United States is qualified to apply for a green card. Getting a national interest waiver makes an EB-2 visa application easier since employers do not have to sponsor or provide labor certifications for the application. Waiving these requirements means that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has deemed the work important enough to set aside giving US citizens priority to the job.
Qualifications for the Waiver Applicant
To qualify for a green card application, you must either have an advanced degree or show that you have an exceptional ability by providing three or more of the following documents:
- Official academic records proving that the petitioner has awards, certificates, degrees, or diplomas relating to their area of exceptional ability;
- Documentation showing at least ten years of full-time experience in their occupation.
- License or certification to practice your profession or occupation.
- Proof of salaries or other remuneration for services demonstrating their exceptional ability.
- Membership in one or more professional associations which require achievements to be a member.
- Recognition by peers, government entities, or professional or business organizations for achievements and significant contributions to their field or industry.
Aside from this, you must also prove that you are likely to advance in the work you plan to do upon immigration to the United States and that granting you a waiver is within the national interest.
Qualification of the Proposed Work
Any work that is of national import and has substantial merit qualifies for an interest waiver application. Since these are not clearly defined in immigration laws, there is some flexibility in determining whether a particular work meets these criteria. Typically, cases who have had success in obtaining national interest waivers work in a field that:
- betters the health of permanent residents;
- contributes to the national economy;
- helps develop the education system;
- improves the wages and working conditions of us citizens;
- makes affordable housing more accessible; or
- makes positive contributions to the environment and the use of natural resources.
If you are unsure whether your field of work could qualify for a national interest waiver, consult with an immigration attorney who is more familiar with immigration law to get legal advice regarding your case.
Advantages and Disadvantages of National Interest Waivers
Here are some of the benefits of obtaining interest waivers:
- You can self-petition. This is especially helpful for petitioners whose employers are unwilling to sponsor or have no specific job offers. It also allows recipients flexibility when it comes to changes in employment or even starting their own companies without risking their immigration status.
- You don’t need to have labor certification. Going through Program Electronic Review Management or PERM to get a certification is tedious. Obtaining a waiver can save you time, effort, and expenses by skipping this process.
- It’s easier to get. Since interest waivers don’t require you to prove that you have an extraordinary ability, as in EB-1 visa applications, it may be easier for you to get a national interest waiver as long as you meet the qualifications.
However, there are also some disadvantages to the application process.
- You need to provide extensive documentation. Due to the requirements to qualify, preparing a convincing application takes time, and getting it approved is subject to the discretion of the USCIS.
- There’s no premium process. Since you can’t pay for an expedited adjudication for the petition, USCIS processing times for national interest waivers are longer than those under the EB-1 category.
If you are interested in applying for a national interest waiver, contact AmLaw Group today to get legal help from experienced immigration lawyers in Florida regarding your immigration process.