National Interest Waiver (NIW)

A National Interest Waiver (NIW) enables eligible foreign workers to petition for an EB-2 green card themselves without a job offer and without filing a labor certification.

Getting an Employment-Based Green Card Fast Without a Job Offer

Getting an employment-based green card which enables you to work can be complicated and take a very long time. You normally need a job offer, labor certification and other documentation. The process of getting a labor certification which shows the job could not be filled by a U.S. citizen is expensive and lengthy.

However, there are two categories of green card that do not require a labor certification or a job offer:

  • EB-1 green card
  • EB-2 green card with a National Interest Waiver (NIW)

Eligibility for EB-1 and EB-2 Green Cards

An EB-1 green card is for those who can demonstrate extraordinary abilities. Outstanding professors and researchers are also be eligible as are multinational managers and executives.

But what about workers who are highly qualified but may not be able to reach the level of demonstrate the criteria required to get an EB-1, first preference green card? You may be able to get an EB-2, second preference green card if you have an advanced degree or can show exceptional abilities. Normally, an EB-2 visa requires a solid, specific job offer and a labor certification. On top of that, your employer must file the petition.

This can be a challenge, because many employers are not willing to undertake the time and expense of getting a labor certification. Fortunately, there is a way around both the requirement for a labor certification and an employer willing to petition for your EB-2 green card. If you meet the qualifications, you can petition for a National Interest Waiver (NIW) that enables you to get an EB-2 visa on your own behalf without a job offer and without a labor certification. However, you must be able to show that the waiver would be in the “national interest.”

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Ghazi Law Group, APLC

Basic Requirements to Get an NIW

To get a National Interest Waiver, you must have an advanced degree or show “exceptional ability” in the sciences, business or arts. According to U.S. Citizenship and Information Services, you must establish at least three of these criteria to get an NIW:

  • “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)
  • Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations
  • Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable.”

Establishing that Your Green Card Is in the “National Interest”

There is no statute that defines what “national interest” means to guide the issuance of NIWs. Each case is decided individually. However, be prepared to demonstrate that you plan to work in an area of “substantial intrinsic merit,” and that you will "serve the national interest to a substantially greater degree than would an available U.S. worker having the same minimum qualifications.” It will also be smiled upon if you can show that your function will be “national in scope.”

Why You Should Consult an Experienced Immigration Lawyer to get an EB-2 Visa with an NIW

“National interest” is interpreted more narrowly now than in the past. If you expect to get an EB-2 visa with a National Interest Waiver in today’s climate, you need an experienced immigration lawyer who knows the system and how to harness its ebbs and flows. Call Ghazi Law Group for a consultation at (818) 839-6644 or email us at to find out how we can help you get an EB-2 visa with a National Interest Waiver.



Ghazi Law Group, APLC
15250 Ventura Blvd, Suite 420
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

Phone: (818) 839-6644
Se Habla Español: (888) 747-0973
Fax: (818) 839-6649