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For persons of exceptional ability
(STEM graduates and PhDs, contact us, a surprise maybe waiting for you!)

The National Interest Waiver (NIW) is an immigration visa reserved for persons of exceptional ability who may waive the job offer requirement by showing that the waiver serves the U.S. national interest. Thus, same as EB1A, NIW does not require a labor certification or a permanent employment offer. So, a person can self-petition for NIW.

To establish eligibility for NIW, the petitioner has the burden

of demonstrating that:


  • The petitioner qualifies as either a member of the

        professions holding an advanced degree or as a person

        of exceptional ability, and

  • The waiver of the job offer requirement, and thus, the

        labor certification requirement, is in the “national interest.” 


Advanced Degree


A petitioner can satisfy the advanced degree requirement by holding either a:

  • U.S. master’s degree or higher or a foreign degree evaluated to be the equivalent of a U.S. master’s degree or higher; or

  • U.S. bachelor’s degree, or a foreign degree evaluated to be the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree, plus 5 years of progressive, post-degree work experience

Exceptional Ability


Alternatively, if a petitioner does not possess an advanced degree, he or she may qualify as a person of exceptional ability. USCIS applies a two-step evidentiary review to evaluate the evidence submitted with the petition to demonstrate eligibility for classification as a person with exceptional ability:

STEP 1 (Regulatory Criteria): the petitioner must submit documentation satisfying at least three of the following six categories:

  -  An official academic record showing that the beneficiary has a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution  of learning   relating to the area of exceptional ability;

  -  Evidence in the form of letter(s) from current or former employer(s) showing that the beneficiary has at least 10 years of full-time experience in the occupation in which he or she is being sought;

  -  A license to practice the profession or certification for a particular profession or occupation;

  - Evidence that the beneficiary has commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates exceptional ability. (To satisfy this criterion, the evidence must show that the beneficiary has commanded a salary or remuneration for services that is indicative of his or her claimed exceptional ability relative to others working in the field);

  • Evidence of membership in professional associations; and

  • Evidence of recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by peers, governmental entities, or professional or business organizations.

STEP 2 (Final Merits Determination): this step involves an evaluation of all the evidence together to find whether the petitioner has demonstrated that he or she has a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.


National Interest


USCIS may grant a national interest waiver as a matter of discretion if the petitioner demonstrates that his or her plans to work in the U.S. will serve the national interest, by showing the following:


  • The person’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance;

  • The person is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor; and

  • On balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the job offer and thus the permanent labor certification requirements


Why hire us for NIW


NIW is a very complex petition because the petitioner must persuade USCIS that waiving the labor certification requirement will be in the national interest of the United States. The labor certification is generally required because it protects the American laborers, so USCIS is hesitant to waive such important safeguard. The focus of the NIW petition is the petitioner’s work plans in the U.S. Significant documentation must be submitted to show that the work plans are of national importance and substantial merit. At the same time, the petitioner must show that he is capable of carrying on with these plans upon NIW approval. An experienced attorney with several years of experience working on NIW cases can strategize the legal arguments and document collection to effectively avoid issues and respond to USCIS pushback.


At the Law Office of Xiaomin Hu, we have many attorneys and staff with years of experience in NIW petitions. We provide unique and outstanding immigration services to make a difference for our clients. Each case, either big or small, will be evaluated and handled by an immigration attorney who collaborates with the team to provide top-notch service. We will put ourselves in your shoes and deliver the best result for clients. We provide a compassionate and understanding approach as well as professional immigration knowledge.

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