Natural Interest Waiver

National Interest Waiver

National Interest WaiverThe National Interest Waiver, in short EB2-NIW, is an employment-based petition of the second preference. An alien may apply for a green card in EB2 category and seek a waiver of the offer of employment and waiver of labor certification by proving that his employment will be in the national interest of the United States.

National Interest

There are no official rules or standards regarding what is considered as ‘National Interest’. USCIS considers each case on an individual basis.


The applicant of an EB2-NIW petition must qualify as either an “Advanced Degree Professional” or an “Alien of Exceptional Ability”. In order for a National Interest Waiver petition to be considered, this is the minimum requirement and does not guarantee a successful National Interest Waiver case.

The National Interest Waiver petition can be filed by the alien himself or can be sponsored through an employer. Additional green card applications in other categories can be made while the NIW petition is pending.


NIW petitions are very common among Ph.D. students, researchers, post-doctoral research fellows and other advanced degree professionals. Since the NIW does not require a specific offer of employment, the petition can be filed, even while being on F1 status.

Preference Category and Priority Date

People who want to immigrate to the U.S. (receive Green Card) based on employment or family are divided into “preference” categories. Each preference category has a limited number of visas allowed in a year. If an immigrant visa petition is approved, the applicant must wait for an immigrant visa number to become available.
The priority date is the date is the date an immigration petition is filed at USCIS. The priority date establishes one’s place in the queue for a family-sponsored or employment-based or permanent residency permit (also known as “green card”) application.


The National Interest Waiver petition can take a minimum of six months to as long as several years — on top of the processing times for the visa itself. The job offers and Labor Certification requirements are waived.

Employer – Not required
Labor Certification – Not required