The National Interest Waiver (NIW) category does not require a job offer or a Labor Certification. It is intended for foreign nationals who are highly accomplished in certain fields. NIW has a slightly lower standard than the EB1 classifications, because it is a second-preference category on the visa bulletin. Depending on visa availability for the applicant’s home country, an NIW recipient may or may not be able to apply for a green card right away.

Recently, there was a major court decision about the NIW category. The new decision says that, in order to qualify for a standard National Interest Waiver, an individual must:

Hold an advanced degree in their field (Master’s degree or above) OR be able to demonstrate exceptional ability in their field; and
Satisfy the following criteria:

  • The individual’s proposed endeavor must be of “substantial merit” and “national importance.”
  • The individual must be “well-positioned” to advance the endeavor.
  • On the balance, waiving the labor certification process must be “in the national interest.”

Recently, there was a major court decision about the NIW category. We believe this new case will be positive because it allows us to use more information about future potential, not just past accomplishments.  The decision is short and well written, and provides a nice summary of the NIW category.  We also believe it may help entrepreneurs by giving them the flexibility needed to start their own companies and advance their new ideas.


Please also see: NIW: Frequently Asked Questions