National Interest Waiver (NIW)
A visa for persons with advanced degrees or abilities
of special interest to the U.S..
A National Interest Waiver (NIW) is essentially a request to the U.S. government, to waive the requirements for a job offer, and also the need to undertake the labor certification process. The NIW is available for professionals with ‘advanced degrees’ and people of ‘exceptional ability’ and is akin to an EB-1 visa. The Applicant is required to submit many documents to support their case, and this can take many weeks or months to prepare. Although it can be a high standard to reach, these waivers may also be available to entrepreneurs and other categories of persons.
A holder of a EB-2 visa can bring their spouse and children under the age of twenty one with them to the U.S.
The NIW green card category is available for individuals with an advanced degree or equivalent (a baccalaureate or foreign equivalent degree plus 5 years of post-baccalaureate, progressive work experience in the field) or who can demonstrate exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Applicants must also be able to show they qualify for the waiver of the job offer and labor certification requirement by meeting a three-pronged test:
- You must show that your proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance to the United States;
- You must show that you are well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor; and
- There must be a showing that on balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer and that of labor certification.
WHAT CONSTITUTES AN ‘ADVANCED DEGREE’?
An ‘advanced degree’ in the sciences, arts, or business may either be:
- A Master’s Degree or higher (or its foreign equivalent); or,
- A Bachelor’s Degree, plus five years of progressive, post-graduate experience.
WHAT CONSTITUTES ‘EXCEPTIONAL ABILITY’?
If you do not have an advanced degree, you may alternatively show that you have ‘exceptional ability’ in the sciences, arts, or business by documenting that you satisfy at least three of six principal criteria, including:
- Official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to your area of exceptional ability;
- Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation;
- A license to practice your profession or certification for your profession or occupation;
- Evidence that you have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability;
- Membership in a professional association(s); and / or,
- Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations.
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