What’s the NIW eligibility you need to know


Unlike the first preference employment-based category (“EB-1”), National Interest Waiver (“NIW”)
provision under the second preference category (“EB-2”) exempts a foreign national holding an
advanced degree or as an individual of exceptional ability from the employment requirement, i.e.,
job offer and permanent labor certification, by establishing that his/her admission to permanent
residency would be in the so-called “national interest”.

USCIS Eligibility Evaluation Framework

on balance, it would be beneficial to the United State to waive the requirements of the job
offer and labor certification process

1 Prong: the proposed endeavor has substantial merit and national importance
USCIS considers the potential prospective impact of a foreign national’s proposed endeavor. The
petitioner has to demonstrate that his/her work is related to an important national goal and it is
beneficial to the national interest of the United States. The prospective endeavor’s merit may be
shown in a variety of fields, including in business, entrepreneurialism, science, technology, health,
culture or education.
To meet the requirement for the first prong, the foreign national may submit evidence including,
but not limited to, the following:
· A detailed description on the proposed endeavor that demonstrates why it is of substantial
merit and national importance
· Letters of recommendations from individuals who hold senior positions and with expertise
in petitioner’s field to describe petitioner’s work in detail and attest the merit and importance of
the petitioner’s endeavors
· Publications of petitioner’s work in the field of the proposed endeavor
· Citations: selection of published materials/scholarly articles that cite the petitioner’s work
· Funding or grants from government agencies or reputable institutions

2 Prong: well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor
To determine whether a petitioner is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor, USCIS
considers factors including, but not limited to: the individual’s education, skills, knowledge and
record of success in related or similar efforts; a model or plan for future activities; any progress
towards achieving the proposed endeavor; and the interest of potential customers, users,
investors, or other relevant entities or individuals.
In addition to the evidence described above which can also be used in support the second part
test that the petitioner is well-positioned to advance his/her proposed endeavor, the foreign
national may consider submit additional evidence, such as:
· Membership in professional association or prestigious organizations
· Awards received in the field of the proposed endeavor
· Published materials, such as media coverage, about the petitioner and his/her work
· Evidence showing that prospective partners who would like to collaborate with petitioner or
build on petitioner’s work
· Experience of foreign national serving as a judge of work for others in the field or playing a
leading and indispensable role in the proposed endeavor

3 Prong: balance test to show national interest
This criterion requires a showing that on balance, it would be beneficial to the United State to
waive the requirements of the Labor Certification Process. In performing this analysis, USCIS may
evaluate factors such as: whether, in light of the nature of the foreign national’s qualifications or

The supporting evidence to meet the requirement of the third test largely overlap with those for
the other two tests. In essence, the third prong asks the foreign national to establish what makes
him/her stands out from their peers that justify the waiver of the labor certification.

The National Interest Waiver provides foreign professionals holding advanced degrees or as
individuals of exceptional ability a pathway for permanent residency through self-petitions. The
evidentiary standard a NIW petitioner must meet, however is rather high. The case preparation
requires both deep understanding of petitioner’s proposed endeavor and in-depth knowledge of
current USCIS adjudication trends. Contact Liu & Associates Law Group, P. C. to evaluate your
eligibility and help you navigate the complex process for NIW petitions. Send your CV/resume to