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EB2 National Interest Waiver ( NIW)

What is NIW?

Individual who qualify as a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or as an individual of exceptional ability may self petition and request to waive the job offer requirement.

NIW offers substantial benefits for a qualified individual. NIW beneficiary can submit the petition without a job offer. As a result, it offers job flexibility, and the individual is not tied to a sponsoring employer for years. The key element of NIW is justifying the waiver of the PERM labor certification process.


To qualify for NIW, an individual must initially qualify as an advanced degree professional or exceptional ability alien category:

  • Advanced degree professional possesses a master’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent
  • Exceptional ability alien possesses a degree of expertise in the sciences, arts, or business significantly higher than ordinarily encountered

To qualify for NIW, individual petitioner must demonstrate qualification based on a three-prong test from Matter of Dhanasar, 26 I&N Dec. 884 (AAO 2016). (Note: This AAO decision replaces the previous approach set in 1998 under Matter of New York State Dep’t of Trans. (NYSDOT), 22 I&N Dec. 215 (Acting AC 1998).

  • First, NIW petitioner must demonstrate that his or her national’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance.
  • Second, NIW petitioner must demonstrate that he or she is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor.
  • Third, on balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer and thus of a labor certification.

USCIS adjudicates NIW in a case-by-case process. Therefore, NIW cases require an experienced attorney to carefully evaluate and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each individual case and develop an individually tailored strategy that highlights the merits of each case. Our attorneys have the expertise and the experience to successfully guide you through the process.

Additional Resources:

Updated: 1/30/2017