I Need a “Green Card” To Stay In the U.S.; Can a National Interest Waiver Help?

If you can meet the eligibility requirements, applying for and obtaining a National Interest Waiver (aka NIW) will usually allow you to become a “lawful permanent resident” (or LPR) using an EB-2 green card.

However, to obtain an NIW, you must contribute your work in the U.S. to benefit the U.S. and its people.

Having an NIW will usually allow you to obtain an EB-2 visa. The EB-2 Visa is employment-based and traditionally reserved for professionals with advanced degrees (Doctor or Ph.D.) or other needed exceptional abilities.

There are essentially three categories of EB-2 visas, they are:

  • An EB-2 A –  For those applicants with an advanced degree.
  • The EB-2 B – Those with a specific “exceptional ability” can provide to the U.S.
  • Or the EB-2 C, the “National Interest Waiver.”

The first two visas require specific and detailed skills or degrees. However, with the National Interest Waiver (NIW), you may be able to qualify for and work under an EB-2 visa without any labor certification. The NIW does require you to be in a cause or position that significantly benefits the United States.

Regarding the first two categories of visas, you must present an approved “PERM” Labor Certificate. A “Permanent Employment Certification” (PERM) is issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) and is a complicated and lengthy process.

However, a National Interest Waiver (the third subcategory) of the second preference is still an employment-based green card based on slightly different requirements.

EB-2 NIW is a green card to obtain lawful residency in the United States; by proving that your specific skills and profession will benefit the U.S. society, you may receive an EB-2 NIW Green Card and obtain a lawful place in the U.S.

It’s vital to note that obtaining an NIW can help you enormously, but you must make a solid case that your work deserves this waiver. The only rational way to begin is to get the professional and knowledgeable help of a Fresno immigration law firm.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements for an NIW or EB-2 Green Card?

Correctly applying and receiving an NIW is a solid path to a green card to stay in the U.S. However, it’s also a detailed and challenging legal process, and the help of a qualified immigration lawyer versed in the process is mandatory. The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service outlines in detail what’s needed, and it can be a daunting and tiring process.

First, one of the qualifications is that you must possess an advanced degree, foreign equivalent degree, or specific exceptional ability. In addition, another qualification is that you must satisfy detailed criteria defined in your area of expertise. 

For example:

You must hold A Master’s, Ph.D., or other post-baccalaureate degree or a bachelor’s degree and five years of experience.

Detailed documentation proving at least three of the following:

  • An original academic record providing proof of your degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from an institution of higher education.
  • Formal letters documenting ten years of full-time experience.
  • A license or official certification to practice your profession.
  • A significant salary or another form of remuneration that demonstrates your exceptional ability.
  • Membership in your fields professional associations that demand specific and outstanding achievement to hold membership.
  • Formal recognition of your achievements from your peers or government agencies for your outstanding work or significant contributions.
  • Other comparable and compelling evidence of eligibility if no other evidence from the above is available.

Just note that determining what’s suitable for your unique immigration needs can be daunting, and an NIW may be the answer. However, the professional guidance of a skilled Fresno immigration lawyer with extensive experience is always the right path to success.

How Do I Apply For a National Interest Waiver?

This is a critical question and one best answered by utilizing the knowledge of your immigration lawyer.

Although you must meet the proper criteria for an NIW, more than your expertise is needed; whatever your field of knowledge, it must include contributions to your domain that focuses on developing unique and specific societal advances.

However, these advances for the greater society of the U.S. can apply to any sector of society, such as education, public health, government, environment, medicine, and more. You must show that your work improves the lives of U.S. citizens to qualify.

The best way to determine your chances of obtaining an NIW is to meet with a qualified, thorough immigration lawyer and get a complete case evaluation. Once your lawyer knows all the pertinent details, then, and only then, will you know what legal path to follow.

All three categories of EB-2 Visas (including EB-2 NIW) require you to file numerous forms, etc. For example, in most instances, you need to file Form I-140. Form I-140 is the petition for you, as a foreign worker,  to become a permanent U.S. resident.

Once you and your lawyer know the path you must navigate, your lawyer will also know precisely what forms are needed and how to file your case correctly.

What Are Some Benefits Of a National Interest Waiver?

There are benefits to obtaining petitioning using a National Interest Waiver, but the qualifications must be met.

Your lawyer will explain, but whether you fulfill the degree or the exceptional ability requirement, usually the standard for the initial, essential qualifications for the EB-2 NIW is less than it is to petition for an EB-1A visa. 

This is one of the principal advantages of an NIW visa; it allows a much wider range of applicants to qualify, rather than just those at the peak of their chosen profession. It is like the EB-1A visa, but the EB-2 NIW visa commonly allows you to skip the labor certification process. By doing so, your green card application can be filed concurrently with the EB-2 NIW portion.

Some of the process, though, does depend on your country of origin. For this and some other reasons, the EB-2 NIW visa process usually takes longer than the process for an EB-1 visa.

Additionally, you must provide substantial evidence to prove that your work has “substantial merit” and “national importance” and that you are well-positioned to advance the substance of  your profession.

So, although it has benefits, you now may see more clearly why the professional guidance of a Fresno immigration lawyer is invaluable to proceeding successfully with this complex process.

I Need More Information On The National Interest Waiver (NIW); What Should I Do?

Dealing with U.S. Immigration Services is always detailed, complex, and highly challenging. If you wish to apply or get valid, correct information on a National Interest Waiver, you must consult with a qualified, professional immigration lawyer in your geographical area.

They will analyze all the various aspects of your case and, with confidence of success, advise you on how to proceed.

Obtaining an NIW visa is always a complex legal process that requires a myriad of documentation and is fraught with bureaucratic red tape. An

The experienced, empathetic, respected, and winning immigration lawyers at the Bains Law Offices have a proven history of navigating this process, minimizing your stress, and maximizing your success chances. Call them today at (559) 282-8924 and start down the path to your life.