National Interest Waiver

Typically, order to get a Green Card (Permanent Residence), an applicant must be sponsored by a U.S. employer and go through a complex labor certification process, known colloquially as PERM.

However, the labor certification process may be “waived” if the applicant possesses EITHER

an advanced degree in a relevant field (a bachelor’s degree + 5 years’ experience is also

OR Exceptional Ability in the Arts, Sciences or Business


can show that his or her work is in the national interest of the United States.

Applicants must show that their proposed endeavor is of national importance and has substantial merit; that they are well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor and that it would thus be beneficial to the United States to waive the standard labor certification process.

Further, for the National Interest Waiver classification, a foreign national may “self-petition” so no employer is needed. This makes the National Interest Waiver a very attractive prospect to self-employed people, in particular entrepreneurs and designers.

Applicants with advanced degrees in the STEM fields as well as entrepreneurs, investors, founders of start-ups, those in technology, cybersecurity, health, science, culture and education are all good candidates for the National Interest Waiver.

Applicants with a PhD in a STEM field merit especially favorable consideration. Those who will be working in critical and emerging technologies also merit favorable consideration.  These include AI (Artificial Intelligence), Space Technologies, Biotechnologies, Autonomous Systems & Robotics, Hypersonics, Renewal Energy Generation & Storage, Advanced Nuclear Energy Technologies, Advanced Engineering Materials, Network Sensors & Sensing, Advanced Gas Turbine Engine Technologies, Financial Technologies, Human Machine Interfaces, Directed Energies, Semiconductors & Microelectronics, amongst others.

Those who do apply under the exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business classification must also meet at least three of the following six criteria:

  1. Possess a degree, diploma, certificate or similar award from a college, university, school or other institution relating to area of exceptional ability;
  2. Letter(s) from current or former employer(s) showing at least 10 years of full-time experience in the occupation;
  3. Possess a license or certification to practice the profession or occupation;
  4. A high salary or remuneration for services compared to others working in the field, thus demonstrating exceptional ability;
  5. Membership in professional associations;
  6. Evidence of recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by peers, government entities, or professional or business organizations.

* Comparable evidence may be used if the above standards do not readily apply to the applicant’s occupation.

Our latest approval, as of January 2023, is a self-petition NIW as Health Communications Specialist for an individual with a Master of Public Health (MPH) from Columbia University and a PhD in Molecular Medicine. This case was approved in just over 8 weeks.

If you think you may qualify for the National Interest Waiver, please email your CV or résumé to

The charts below show Extraordinary Ability and National Interest Green Card approvals from January 2018 to September 2023.


CountryProfessionDate FiledDate ApprovedRFE?PP?
JapanProduction Manager10/25/20211/10/2023YesNo
JapanSocial Media Influencer5/19/20221/12/2023NoYes
HungaryHealth Communication Specialist11/28/20222/2/2023NoNo
KoreaSet Designer5/9/20238/9/2023NoNo
ChinaIndustrial Designer9/22/20239/28/2023NoYes
Hong KongInterior Designer3/11/20229/15/2023NoNo


CountryProfessionDate FiledDate ApprovedRFE?PP?
MoroccoProject Designer9/15/20201/5/2022YesNo
ChinaIndustrial Designer4/28/20214/26/2022NoNo
CanadaArchitectural Researcher12/8/20215/18/2022YesYes
Hong KongInterior Designer3/4/20226/6/2022NoNo
JapanFurniture & Interior Designer8/10/20218/25/2022NoNo
AustraliaHair & Make up Artist4/5/20228/26/2022NoNo
JapanGarden Curator11/16/20209/15/2022NoNo
KoreaSet Designer12/16/20219/30/2022NoNo
KoreaArchitectural Designer7/16/202110/3/2022NoNo
JapanGraphic Designer8/5/202112/8/2022NoNo


CountryProfessionDate FiledDate ApprovedRFE?PP?
JapanLighting Designer10/7/20193/25/2020NoNo
MexicoPerforming Artist2/27/202010/22/2020NoNo
JapanCreative Director9/3/201910/19/2020NoNo
JapanInterior Designer4/7/202012/17/2020nono
JapanMusic Composer3/9/20201/19/2021NoNo
ChinaLandscape Architectural Designer19-Sep11/2/2020NoNo
JapanCurator of Culture, Art & Education6/25/20203/30/2021NoNo
JapanDesigner and Creative Director6/26/20204/5/2021NoNo
ChinaArt Director7/14/20203/17/2021NoNo
LebanonChief Technological Officer12/9/20209/2/2021NoNo
JapanStreet Artist10/29/20209/8/2021NoNo


CountryProfessionDate FiledDate Case ApprovedRFE?PP?
GermanyData Scientist and Researcher5/16/181/24/19NoNo
AustraliaMultidisciplinary artist5/8/182/4/19NoNo
JapanLighting designer10/2/183/25/19NoNo
TaiwanLighting designer11/26/186/3/19NoNo
TaiwanCreative Director8/15/186/25/19YesNo
FranceDesign Director12/12/187/16/19NoNo


CountryType of artistDate FiledDate Case ApprovedRFE?PP?
IrelandArts ConsultantDecember 14, 2017December 27, 2017No Yes
Japan Jewelry DesignerMarch 20, 2018March 27, 2018No Yes
Australia Graphic Designer May 8, 2017April 5, 2018Yes No
Japan Lighting Designer October 20, 2018April 30, 2018No No
Japan Production ManagerDecember 25, 2017May 21, 2018No No
Japan Musician January 8, 2018June 6, 2018No No
Japan Digital Composer March 20, 2018August 29, 2018No No
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