Immigration Lawyer, Woburn

National interest waivers

National Interest Waivers are available in the second-preference employment category (EB-2) for qualified immigrants who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees (or their equivalent) or foreign nationals claiming exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.


EB-2 visas are generally only available to foreign nationals if their “services in the sciences, arts, professions, or business are sought by an employer in the United States," i.e., a job offer.


Before hiring a foreign national under the EB-2 classification, a U.S. employer must generally obtain a permanent labor certification from the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”). A labor certification demonstrates that the DOL has determined that there are not sufficient workers who are “able, willing, qualified, and available” at the place where the foreign national is to perform such skilled labor, and the employment of such foreign national will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of workers in the United States similarly employed.


The Attorney General may waive the job offer requirement, as well as the labor certification, if the Attorney General deems it to be in the national interest. The decision of the USCIS to grant a national interest waiver is a matter of discretion.


A two-part statutory scheme is currently in place to assist adjudicators in assessing eligibility for national interest waivers.


First, an applicant must demonstrate that he or she qualifies as a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or as an individual of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.


"Advanced degree" means any United States academic or professional degree or a foreign equivalent degree above that of baccalaureate. A United States baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree followed by at least five years of progressive experience in the specialty shall be considered the equivalent of a master's degree. If a doctoral degree is customarily required by the specialty, the alien must have a United States doctorate or a foreign equivalent degree.


“Exceptional ability” in the sciences, arts, or business means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.


Second, the applicant must establish that it would be in the national interest to waive the job offer and labor certification requirements.


In 2016, new guidance was issued regarding the threshold criteria for waiving the job offer and labor certification requirements. According to Matter of Dhanasar, the criteria for a waiver is now:


  1. The foreign national’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance;

  2. That foreign national is well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor; and

  3. It would be beneficial to the U.S. to waive the job offer and labor certification requirements.


To learn more about what qualifies as “substantial merit and national importance” as well as what factors the USCIS considers in determining whether a foreign national is “well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor,” contact Lally Immigration Services, LLC.


Speak with an NIW Attorney in Woburn, Massachusetts Today!

If you are considering a National Interest Waiver, contact an NIW Attorney in Woburn, MA. Lally Immigration Services, LLC is located in Woburn, Massachusetts and offers free initial phone consultations.