A “National Interest Waiver” is a waiver of the job offer requirement in cases where the foreign national’s work is deemed to be in the “U.S. national interest.” The National Interest Waiver is available for professionals with advanced degrees and people of exceptional ability.
Frequently Asked Questions about National Interest Waiver Petitions
WHAT IS THE “NATIONAL INTEREST?”
Regulations have not explicitly defined “National Interest.” However, in adjudicating these types of peitions, USCIS will consider whether the applicant is:
- Improving the U.S. economy;
- Improving wages and working conditions of U.S. workers;
- Improving education and training programs for U.S. children and under qualified workers;
- Improving health care;
- Providing more affordable housing for young and/or older, poorer U.S. residents; and/or
- Improving the environment of the United States and making more productive use of natural resources; or
- Whether a request has been made from an interested U.S. government agency
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES FOR FILING FOR A NATIONAL INTEREST WAIVER?
There are several advantages to filing a national interest waiver and obtaining an approval in this category. The principle advantage in many cases is that one does not have to go through the labor certification process to show that there is a shortage of qualified U.S. workers for a particular position. In addition, a permanent job offer is not required and an applicant may self-petition for the national interest waiver.
WHAT IS AN ADVANCED DEGREE PROFESSIONAL?
The term “advanced degree professional” means that the beneficiary either has an advanced degree (M.A., M.S., M.E., M.D. or Ph.D.) or its equivalent, and is working in an area that requires at least a bachelor’s degree or is traditionally regarded as a profession, such as lawyers, doctors, architects, engineers, and teachers. A bachelor’s degree plus five years’ experience in a professional or progressive occupation may also satisfy the qualification requirement of an “advanced degree.”
WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS FOR NATIONAL INTEREST WAIVERS?
The threshold requirement for a national interest waiver is a master’s degree or “exceptional ability” in your field.
The main requirement is a three-part test:
- The proposed endeavor must be of substantial merit and national importance;
- The foreign national must be well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor;
- It must be beneficial to the United States to waive the job offer and labor certification requirements.
Please Contact us for more information on National Interest Waivers and guidance through what can be a complex process.