NIW Requirements 2018-03-05T15:21:17+00:00

Are you Qualified for  National Interest Waiver?

I get many calls and emails from foreign nationals asking me to determine whether they should apply for a national interest waiver.  The purpose of this post is to make it clear what the immigration officer is looking for when he or she is reading your petition to determine whether to grant your I-140 NIW petition.

Contact Attorney Rachel Casseus for a free review to determine if you are qualified for a National Interest Waiver:

  1. Email your resume or CV to
  2. Call directly any time at 339-222-3434
  3. It’s that easy!

The officer will want to see whether you have met the following NIW Requirements: To start off you must first answer this question:

  • Are you a person with an advanced degree or the equivalent of an advanced degree, who is a member of a profession?


  • Are you an individual with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, professions or business who will substantially benefit the national economy, cultural or educational interests or welfare of the United States and a U.S. employer in the sciences, arts, professions or business is seeking your services?

Let’s analyze the above statements in more detail.

For the purposes of U.S. immigration, an advanced degree is defined as any U.S. academic or professional degree or a foreign equivalent “above that of baccalaureate,” or a degree or foreign equivalent followed by at least five years of work experience in the field. *Please note that work experience or training equivalence cannot be used in place of a foreign degree.*

If you are looking to qualify for an NIW based on your exceptional merit, you or your employer must meet three of the following six criteria:

  1.  You must have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school or other institution of learning related to your exceptional ability.
  2. Letters from current or former employers showing that you have had at least ten years of full-time experience working in your field.
  3. A license to practice the profession or certification for your specific profession.
  4. Evidence that you have received a salary or other payment for services related to your exceptional ability.
  5. Evidence of membership in professional associations.
  6. Evidence showing that you have received recognition for accomplishments and significant contributions to the industry or field by your peers, governmental entities or professional or business organizations.

Once you have determined whether you are an advanced degree professional or an individual with exceptional abilities in your field, we must next determine if you meet the requirements of the famous Matter of Dhanasar decision.

In Matter of Dhanasar, the immigration service determined that there are THREE principal criteria for determining  whether an individual may seek approval of their national interest waiver.


  1. The foreign national’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance.
  2. The foreign national is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor.
  3. On balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer and thus of a labor certification.

The first two prongs are usually easy to prove.  Many areas of employment are areas of substantial intrinsic merit such as jobs that:

  • improve the U.S. economy
  • improve the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers
  • improve education and and training programs for U.S children and unskilled workers
  • improve health care
  • provide more affordable housing for poor U.S. citizens
  • improve the U.S. environment and making productive uses of U.S. resources.

I find that many individuals who contact me  are unable to show that their work has benefitted the U.S. Benefitting the U.S. can be done in many ways. You can create a product that is helping people with disabilities, you can do research, you can provide services, the list goes on. The fact that you have a technology that will help the U.S. one day does not mean that you will qualify for a national interest waiver.  You must show that your work has in some way already benefitted the United States.  This is a hurdle that many people are unable to get over. Does that mean that you should loose hope?  No, you should work on benefitting the U.S. with your work and then apply later once you can prove that you have benefitted the U.S.

Proving the Third and Final NIW Requirement of Matter of Dhanasar

This is where you will benefit from working with an experienced NIW attorney.  It is not always easy to document how you will serve the national interest to a substantially greater degree than an available U.S. worker having the same minimum qualifications. Frankly, it is not enough to write that you are a genius and other people recognize your talent.  You must provide documentation and initial evidence from others documenting that you meet the third prong.  At The Law Office of Rachel Casseus, we have a 100% approval rate on all of our NIW applications.  Call 339-222-3434 or email your resume or CV now to schedule your free consultation.