National Interest Waivers

The immigration process can be extremely complex for individuals seeking citizenship in the United States. Depending on the applicant’s background, there are a number of ways an individual can pursue citizenship. For example, immigration through the first preference – also known as EB-1 – is available for individuals of extraordinary ability, including outstanding researchers and professors, and multinational managers and executives.

EB-2 visas are available for professionals who have advanced degrees and who also have extraordinary abilities. EB-2 applicants must have labor certification, unless they can prove that their entry would greatly benefit the country. In this case, they may be able to obtain a National Interest Waiver.

How Do You Qualify for a National Interest Waiver?

In order to qualify for a National Interest Waiver, the applicant must be able to demonstrate that their work will have a significant social, educational, medical or cultural impact, which would be national in scope. In addition, the applicant must prove that their work will benefit the national interest of the United States to a greater degree than a U.S. citizen who is similarly qualified.

This can be difficult to prove, since there are very few guidelines that outline the specific qualifications for a National Interest Waiver.

Factors Required for a National Interest Waiver

The following factors help determine if an immigrant’s work will be in the national interest of the United States:

  • They will improve the United States economy
  • They will improve the working conditions and wages for U.S. workers
  • They will help U.S. children and under-qualified workers by improving the education system and training programs available
  • They will make improvements to healthcare
  • Their contributions will make more affordable housing available for younger, older, and poorer residents
  • They will protect the environment by making productive use of natural resources
  • They will improve cultural understanding

Applicants seeking a National Interest Waiver must also demonstrate a minimum of three of the following qualifications, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):

  • Academic record proving that the applicant has a degree, diploma, or certificate from a college, university or other institution that is directly related to his or her area of expertise
  • Proof that applicant has had at least 10 years of experience in the area of extraordinary ability
  • A license of certification that allows applicant to practice in the area of extraordinary ability
  • Proof that the applicant has collected a salary for services that demonstrate his or her exceptional ability
  • Membership in accredited professional associations
  • Peers, government entities, and professional organizations recognize applicant’s contribution in the related field.

How to Apply for a National Interest Waiver

Applicants must file an Immigration Petition for Alien Worker with the USCIS, as well as provide a significant amount of additional documentation that will support their eligibility.

The petition should also include a letter to the USCIS that provides the following formation:

  • Detailed description of applicant’s area of expertise
  • How applicant’s work impacts the field, including a detailed discussion of current and future projects and how it is in the best interest of the U.S.
  • A comprehensive explanation of why someone with their advanced skills should do the work they intend to do in the U.S.

The petition should include a cover letter that is informative, convincing, and easy to read. If the USCIS officer has difficulty understanding what they do, or how their work will contribute to the best interests of the country, they may not qualify for the National Interest Waiver.

If the USCIS approves the petition, it will be forwarded to the National Visa Center, which will issue an immigrant visa packet. This will include instructions on how to apply for your visa at a U.S. consulate abroad.

Final Steps

After the applicant has secured the required medical examinations and police clearances, they will be interviewed at a U.S. consulate. A consular officer will determine whether they are eligible for an immigrant visa. If approved, they will receive an immigrant visa, which will be valid for six months.

Upon entry to the United States, an immigration officer will stamp the passport, and the applicant will become a permanent resident. After a few months, a permanent resident card will be sent to the applicant’s mailing address in the U.S.

Philadelphia Visa Petition Lawyers at the Law Offices of Tahir Mella, P.C. Help Individuals Obtain National Interest Waivers

If you or a loved one needs help obtaining a National Interest Waiver, do not hesitate to contact the experienced Philadelphia visa petition lawyers at the Law Offices of Tahir Mella, P.C. Our skilled and experienced team will walk you through every step of the process and address all of your questions and concerns. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 215-496-0690 or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Philadelphia, where we proudly serve clients from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, the tristate area, and nationally.