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How To Sponsor Yourself For US Permanent Residency – National Interest Waiver

Author: US Immigration Attorney Alena Shautsova

Usually, for one to be able to immigrate to the US, the person needs to have some connection to the US in a form of a close family member or an employer. However, there are some exceptions. One of such exceptions, is an ability of worker to sponsor him/herself by filing a self-petition and requesting a National Interest Waiver that waives the necessity of an employer sponsorship or “testing” of the job market.

Originally, the National Interest Waiver (NIW) was developed to be the compromise between extraordinary ability and prohibited self-sponsorship for doctors. The NIW aims to lower the “top of the field” standards for extraordinary ability visa. If qualified, the NIW’s beneficiary is exempted from “PERM” certification process.

The national interest waiver has recently come under extreme scrutiny by USCIS, as the standards became higher and USCIS checks every application very thoroughly. Nevertheless, the lucky beneficiary will be able to receive a permanent residency in the US, will not have to deal with a sponsoring employer, and will not need to risk substantial investment capital in order to live and work in the US.

Who can benefit? Usually, this option is great for doctors, researchers, scientists, artists, entrepreneurs, consultants in certain fields, civil engineers, etc.

Today there are 3 main requirements for the NIW which are as follows:

Proof that you will work in the USA in an area of “intrinsic interest”

Sounds simple enough, if you are a medical physician with an expertise in an expertise in podiatry for example and Brighton Beach has a shortage of podiatrists in the area to service the publics needs requirement number one is satisfied. The evidence required to prove this claim however may be a little more challenging. Letters from work, experts in the field of podiatry (if relating to the above example) and media publications as to the importance of the work and its shortage in the area.

Proof that the impact of your work is of National Scope

Proof that your work will not only have an impact on the regional area you plan to work in, but the rest of the country. Well, this sounds like the end of the road at first glance, but it is surprisingly easy to qualify. The simplest evidence that most better than average physicians can utilize to suffice this requirement is published research articles. If your research will be accessible to other physicians in your field within the US, this requirement is satisfied. If you have not published any articles previously to share your research, you must show that the research you are currently conducting will have an impact on the US as a nation. If you are not sure, book a consultation with an attorney that will listen to your research and make a determination of whether or not it can construe national importance.

Proof that the waiving of the labor certification is of national benefit

This is the hardest “prong” to prove. The labor certification as previously stated is abhorrently complex and equally tedious in nature. The technicalities of this “loop hole” are so strict that anyone in their right minds would avoid it if possible and utilize this “exception” only as a last resort. So how does one prove that the waiving of this exceptional process is of national benefit?

Distinction & Influence

For this to be proven you must distinguish yourself from the majority of physicians in your field of practice, not necessarily the top % 0.5 but better than average. Published articles portraying your personal achievements in the field of practice are always a great evidence. In addition, letters of recommendation from physicians in your respective field with a fantastic resume and list of achievement will be considered a great evidence. Grants and other forms of funding personally received for work or research performed likewise will be taken into account for distinguishing your skill.

As for influence, this is mainly verified through contracts of companies currently using the products you and/or your company developed. Patents and explanation of how the product and/or patents are planning or currently in use. The development of spin toothbrushes for example would most likely have been grounds for influence of a dentist’s NIW when it first was developed...

14 October 2015
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