National Interest Waiver

If a foreign national’s services in the sciences, arts, professions, or business are sought by an employer in the United States and are in the national interest of the United States, the employer may petition for the foreign national in the second employment based preference category without having to first obtain a labor certification.

The petitioner must prove that the benefit his unique skills would provide substantially outweighs the inherent national interest in protecting U.S. workers through the labor certification process. In 1998, apparently due to a large number of national interest wavier approvals, the USCIS instituted a new standard and curtailed the number of national interest waiver case approvals.

  1. The foreign national's work is in an area of substantial intrinsic merit.
  2. The proposed benefit of the foreign national's work is national in scope.
  3. The foreign national will serve the national interest to a substantially greater degree than would an available U.S. worker having the same minimum qualifications.

Before the PERM labor certification process, labor certification in some states could take up to five years and the national interest waiver process provided a substantial savings in time. Presently, with the PERM process, labor certification takes an average of 3-5 months and the national interest waiver is generally not a preferred procedure.