National Interest Waivers (NIW)

The national interest waiver (NIW) category falls within the second preference employment-based category, which is available to individuals with advanced degrees. USCIS may waive the regular labor certification requirement for employment based immigration for the designated beneficiary, if it is in the national interest of the U.S.

USCIS considers many factors in determining whether or not the waiver of the labor certification requirement is in the national interest of the U.S. The factors include but are not limited to, whether or not the grant of a waiver will result in:Improving the U.S. economy;

  • Improving wages and working conditions in the U.S. economy;
  • Improving education for U.S. children and under qualified workers;
  • Improving health care;
  • Providing more affordable housing;
  • Improving the environment; or
  • When an interested government agency supports the request.

To demonstrate national interest, you must present proof that the beneficiary’s work: 1) Is in an area of substantial intrinsic merit; 2) provides a benefit that is national in scope; and 3) serves the national interest to a substantially greater degree than an available U.S. worker having the same minimum qualifications. The crux of a national interest petition is often met by demonstrating one’s outstanding contributions through supporting testimonial letters from experts in the field. An offer of employment from a U.S. employer is not required for this category. An individual may self-petition under this category.