Obtaining legal status to remain in the United States is an important step for any immigrant. One of the most common ways that a foreign national can obtain legal resident status is through an employment visa. The EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 employment-based visas generally require that the foreign national have an offer of employment within the United States. In this last of our four part series on employment based visas, we highlight the requirements of the National Interest Waiver (NIW) which would allow an individual to apply for permanent residency without an offer of employment.
When a foreign national can demonstrate that his or her admission to the United States would be beneficial to the country, he or she may apply for a National Interest Waiver allowing them to seek a green card without an offer of employment. To demonstrate that admission to the United States is in the country’s national interest, an individual must demonstrate that their admission will bring some type of improvement to the United States. If an individual can show that their admission to the country will help the U.S. economy, improve working conditions (including the wages) of U.S. workers, improve housing conditions for the poor, young or aged, or help certain environmental causes (such as the productive use of national resources), they may qualify for a National Interest Waiver.
There are two general categories under the National Interest Waiver: advanced degree professionals and aliens of exceptional ability. An advanced degree professional applying for a National Interest Waiver must possess at least a Master’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree with five years of progressive work experience. To apply for a National Interest Waiver as an alien of exceptional ability, the applicant must show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business. The criteria include evidence such as: academic records, ten years work experience in a certain area, occupational license, salary which demonstrates exceptional ability, membership in professional associations, and recognition for achievement or significant contributions in their field.
Applicants for a National Interest Waiver must demonstrate that their individual contribution to the United States would improve a national interest, not merely that the individual works in a cutting edge field of science or other field of high national interest. Postdoctoral researchers file the majority of National Interest Waiver petitions. Most National Interest Waiver petitions are processed in approximately four months, but timelines vary.
Our Philadelphia Immigration Law Attorneys Assist Individuals Applying for National Interest Waivers and Employment-Based Visas
Applying for a National Interest Waiver can be a complex process. The experienced Pennsylvania immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. can assist you with all your immigration law needs, including the visa application process. Call our Philadelphia immigration law firm at (215) 925-4435 or submit an online inquiry form.