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NIW Application 

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NIW Application Criteria

I. Advanced Degree

You must have an advanced degree or its equivalent, which is a bachelor’s degree plus five years of progressive work experience in the field.

II. Exceptional Ability

You must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, which will greatly benefit the U.S. economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare in the future. Specifically, you must meet at least 3 of the 6 criteria listed below:

  • 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.

  • Other comparable evidence may be accepted according to Policy Manual Chapter 5. 

The term exceptional ability is defined as a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business. This standard is lower than the standard for extraordinary ability classification.

III. National Interest Waiver (labor certificate not required)

If you are requesting that USCIS waive the labor certification (also known as a job offer) because it is in the best interest of the United States, you are eligible to file a petition in your own behalf by showing the following three prongs: 

  • 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

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