How Do I Get a National Interest Waiver?

The most common ways to obtain permanent residency usually require the help of another person.  A Green Card for marriage requires a foreign national to be in a bona fide marital relationship with a US citizen while a green card through employment usually requires a US-based company as a sponsor. A national interest waiver lets you acquire lawful permanent residence on your merit if your work benefits the United States. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of a national interest waiver and what you need to know to get one. If you have any questions about becoming a lawful permanent resident by employment or the path to citizenship, it’s best to ask our experienced Miami immigration attorney. Call our office now for immigration help!

Overview of National Interest Waivers  

A national interest waiver can be used within the employment-based category of United States permanent residence. The most crucial part of acquiring this waiver is how to prove that your work is valuable to the US. 

Employment-Based Immigration: Second Preference EB-2

National Interest WaiverTypically, the EB-2 process involves a US employer sponsoring an immigrant for a permanent job. Before that, the employer has to undergo a process called labor certification. 

If the US Department of Labor approves the labor certification, that’s a confirmation that no US workers meet the minimum requirements for the position. The employer has to advertise the job offer in the US labor market while adhering to strict guidelines. 

It can be time-consuming and expensive. What’s more, there is the chance that a suitable American candidate fits the bill for the job, which can cause difficulties for the immigrant to be sponsored,

What the National Interest Waiver Does

The national interest waiver lets you bypass the process of labor certification. If you’re issued a waiver, The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has decided that your work is of such great importance that your employer can forgo those requirements so you can get into the US. 

If you think that you can qualify for a national interest waiver, get in touch with our skilled Miami business immigration attorney. Let’s find a way to get you into the United States so you can make your living in the Land of the Free. 

Requirements for a National Waiver

First, you have to be eligible under the EB-2 category. This means either exceptional ability or an advanced degree.

Extraordinary Ability

To count as having “exceptional ability,” the evidence has to show at least three of the following: 

  • Recognition by organizations, government entities, or your peers for your contributions to the industry;
  • Membership in associations that require members to show significant achievements;
  • Proof of payment for services rendered that show your extraordinary ability;
  • A license or certification for your profession;
  • Letters that document that you’ve been working full-time for ten years at your occupation; or
  • Academic records in the area of your extraordinary abilities

To fit the advanced-degree requirement, you would need to have a Master’s, Ph.D., or other post-baccalaureate degrees (or a Bachelor’s degree and five years of experience).

Advanced Degree

This requires applicants to have a Master’s, Ph.D., or any other post-baccalaureate degree. In reality, even those who opt for the advanced degree option need to demonstrate that they are highly skilled in the field to qualify for a national interest waiver.

Matter of Dhanasar

After you’ve established any of the prior, you’ll have to satisfy the Matter of Dhanasar. It’s a test that requires you to prove three prongs:

  • Your proposed endeavor is of national importance and substantial merit;
  • You are in an excellent position to advance this proposed undertaking; and
  • It’s of national interest to waiver the usual requirements.

If you need help proving that you can be of national interest to the US, our Miami immigration attorneys are at your service! Call us now to get started. 

How to Apply for the Waiver

You should submit the documents for your qualification for a waiver together with the I-140 petition to USCIS. 

Once approved, you can undergo an adjustment of status to acquire a green card. You’ll need to be within the US and have your priority date become current.  

If you have any questions about the process or about how priority dates work, you can consult our knowledgeable Miami immigration attorneys!

The Benefits of a National Interest Waiver

There are many advantages to getting a national interest waiver. We’ll summarize all these below.

Go Past the Usual Limit

If you are working on an H-1B visa while you have a national interest waiver, it’s possible to extend your status past the six-year limit. 


Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) is the system used for obtaining Labor Certification. This is usually required for EB-2 and EB-3 categories. This saves you money, time, and effort. 

You Only Need Yourself

You do not need an employer or an actual job to get into the US. You can still undergo employer sponsorship under the national interest waiver, but you do have the option to petition for yourself!

This is the best option for you if:

  • You don’t have a specific job offer;
  • Your employer is not willing to petition for you;
  • You would like to be able to change your employment without affecting your immigration status;
  • You want the flexibility of starting your own company.

Final Thoughts

US immigration law is complicated. One mistake puts you back to square one, wasting all the effort, energy, time, and money you’ve spent in the application process. Our experienced immigration attorneys at AmLaw Group can ensure that everything in your application is in order.  

Our attorneys have over 15 years of successful experience with investor visas and other matters of US immigration. Get the legal counsel of one of the best lawyers for immigration in Miami. Contact us now at Amlaw Group for immigration advice!

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