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Obtaining a Green Card through a National Interest Waiver

Obtaining a national interest waiver (NIW) to get permanent residence status is now a realistic option thanks to Matter of Dhanasar, a decision issued by the USCIS Administrative Appeals Officethat clarified the earlier, confusing standard. The prior standard, NYSDOT has now been clarified.

The NIW process has two advantages for those seeking permanent residence status, i.e. a "green card": 1) it circumvents the cumbersome labor certification process, in which the petitioner must show that there are no U.S. workers capable of doing the job; and 2) the petitioner can apply on his or her behalf rather than relying on sponsorship by an employer.

Under INA §203(b)(2)(B)(i), USCIS may grant a national interest waiver if person seeking the waiver possesses an advanced degree in a profession or exceptional ability in the arts, sciences or business that will "substantially benefit prospectively the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the United States" and it is in the "national interest of the United States" to issue a green card without a request from a specific employer.

In order to take advantage of the new framework, a petitioner must establish by the preponderance of the evidence that he or she is

  • Eligible for EB-2 classification;
  • Planning to work on a project that has substantial merit and national importance;
  • Able to advance the project; and
  • Able to show that it would benefit the United States to grant the green card without a sponsoring employer.

The Dhanasar decision loosened up the earlier test by stating that an NIW could be granted on the basis of work in a broad range of endeavors, including business, technology, health, the arts, or education. It also clarified that to be "in the national interest," a project did not need to have a national scope. Furthermore, the petitioner does not have to show that it is more likely than not that the project will be a success but simply that he or she has the education, skills, track record of success, and vision to move the project forward. Finally, the applicant has to show that it would be would be impractical to secure a job offer or go through the labor certification process.

Applying for a green card through the national interest waiver requires a skilled team of immigration attorneys who have handled countless cases like yours. Contact us today and ask about our NIW guarantee program.