Work Visa Lawyer

National Interest Waiver Attorney

People with an advanced degree or with exceptional abilities in “the sciences, arts, or business”  and who are coming to the US to work in a field of National Interest may be able to directly file for residence (green card) themselves. They would not need a full-time job offer from a U.S. employer and there would be no need for an approved labor certification. Those two requirements would be waived.

Exceptional ability is defined as, “a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.” If that seems overly broad and subjective it’s because it is.

A waiver obviously has great appeal as it takes so much of the responsibility out of an employer’s hands and puts them in yours. The trade-off, as you would expect, is that the requirements are rigorous – as is the application process itself.

Obviously, a mistake anywhere during the application process will end in rejection and needing to start the process all over again. 

Navigating this requires a law firm with deep knowledge and years of experience. It requires Patricia Castillo Flanagan and Work Visa Lawyers, P.A. 

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The Qualifications (briefly)

The first requirement is an advanced degree (Master’s level or above) and/or you can conclusively demonstrate that you have ‘exceptional ability’ in your field. A person demonstrates that they have exceptional ability in their filed if they can meet 3 of the following 6 requirements:

As for you, the applicant, you must also meet at least three of the following criteria

Official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to your area of exceptional ability.

Letters from current or former employers documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation.

A license to practice your profession or certification for your profession or occupation.

Evidence that you have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability.

Membership in a professional association(s).

Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations.

 Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable.

The second requirement that  USCIS considers before granting a National Interest Waiver are:

 The proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance.

 You are well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor.

On balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer, and thus the labor certification.

The first and third are subjective, the second – that you are well-positioned to advance the endeavor - can at least be presented through well-thought out and well-presented evidence. Obviously, a great deal of documentation is required, a great deal of preparation is involved long before the application is submitted. And that’s before you get to the position itself.

When it comes to a National Interest Waiver, it’s not only the applicant who must be exceptional, it’s the ‘work’ as well. The USCIS specifies that the work must be of “substantial intrinsic merit.” While that can be interpreted in any number of ways, the USCIS considers eight factors as a general guideline as to what they are looking for.


Does The Work:

Improve the U.S. economy;

Improve the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers and/or improve education and training programs for U.S. children and under qualified workers;

Improve healthcare

Provide more affordable housing for young and/or older, poorer U.S. residents;

Improve the environment of the United States and make more productive use of natural resources;

Improve international cultural understanding

The benefit of the individual’s work is national in scope. Though there are special rules for physicians and physician assistants in VA hospitals or in “medically underserved areas.

Waiving the process must be “in the national interest.”

This last factor reads as vague and particularly subjective. It’s also anathema to most people to avow that their work is in a nation's national interest. It doesn’t help that the USCIS is hardly consistent in how they apply this standard.

Generally – very generally – this can usually be satisfied by showing that your work is of such high caliber and importance that a waiver is in order. The key, of course, is to document everything. You; your education; work history; references; and the work you wish to perform in the United States.

Do Not Go it Alone

The National Interest Waiver process is formidable. It is essential that the application process be precisely followed, each application, every supporting document flawless. Patricia Castillo Flanagan and Work Visa Lawyers, P.A. are here for you. Please contact us as early in the process as possible. We have the knowledge and experience to file the application and see it through to fruition quickly and efficiently.


Contact Us

Immigration matters cannot wait. Companies need talent, multinational firms need to bring their professionals here, the nation needs nurses and physician assistants, the nation needs forward thinking entrepreneurs to bring fresh ideas and create jobs.

Patricia Castillo Flanagan and the staff at Work Visa Lawyers will help you help the nation. It is the firm's mission to help Foreign Entrepreneurs and Professionals get the visa they need to grow their business in the U.S.

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