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National Interest Waiver
(NIW) Approvals

NIW Approvals

The National Interest Waiver is a self-sponsored I-140 petition that provides a path for you to get a green card! Audra’s job is to take you ALL the way through your case until you have a green card in your hand. 

It is a process available to applicants with an exceptional level of expertise, education, and experience. 

Here are some general criteria and guidelines to consider when applying for the NIW:

  1.     It falls under Employment-based Priority Category EB-2
  2.     It is usually better for young researchers
  3.     The petitioner’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance
  4.     The petitioner is well-positioned to advance the proposed endeavor
  5.     On balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the job offer and labor certification requirement.
  6.     Family members CAN be included.
A girl writing in the board

Further Your Professional Sciences Career in the
United States

Research in the sciences, including physics, biomedicine, biology, and engineering. We also use the NIW for other fields as well, including teaching and business.

As a chemist, you might find a career working in the medical field to help develop new life-saving treatments. Or you might help a technology company perfect its manufacturing process. As a physicist, you might work as a nuclear engineer for the U.S. Air Force or you may be a top software engineer at a company such as IBM. An environmental scientist, meanwhile, might find employment as a consultant in the oil & gas industry or as a meteorologist working on groundbreaking research.


Whether you have recently acquired your PhD in your field or are still working towards it, you may have already determined that remaining in the United States is the best option for your future. Perhaps the only roadblock you need to clear is the NIW approval process.

Our firm offers consultations to discuss your situation and to develop a strategy that will fit your specific requirements. We are very results-oriented, and we are tenacious in achieving our clients’ desired results.

Is your work in the interest of the United States?

Audra will review your CV and interview you to determine if you are qualified.

Here are some key pieces of information she will look for:

  • Do you have at least a master’s degree?  
  • Is your work in the U.S. national interest?
  • What are your accomplishments?
  • Is your work important to your field?
  • What are your future plans for working in the U.S.?
  • Is your job temporary or permanent?  
A girl scientist

What is the NIW Process?

  1. Prepare National Interest Waiver (NIW) petition with Audra
    • Draft recommendation letters, Audra edits
    • Provide copies of documents to Audra
    • Audra drafts a Table of Contents and forms, and prepares your petition for submission
    • Upon your approval, Audra submits your petition to USCIS
  2. Wait for NIW Approval
    • File Green Card Applications upon NIW Approval and Visa Availability
    • Provide copies of documents to Audra along with information
    • Audra drafts forms and prepares applications for submission
  3. Submit the green card applications to USCIS
    • Wait for a possible USCIS interview. Audra prepares you for the interview and attends it with you.

How long is the NIW Process?

The length of the NIW process depends on your country of birth and on current USCIS processing times. Audra will share the current time frame with you during your consultation.

  • Current NIW processing times range from 11 months to more than 15 months. 
  • I-485 processing times can be upwards of 8 months.

If you have to wait for the visa availability, that could add time to your application.  Audra will discuss the impact of the Visa Bulletin on your case with you and help you create the best strategy.  

Audra will also discuss “concurrent filing” with you if you want to speed up your process.

NIW Approvals

Space Plasma - Protecting the United States' national security in space and underwater

The following is a description of our client, who was a successful applicant for the NIW. 

The client conducts research in the field of space plasma. Space plasma can destroy satellites, affect submarine communication and GPS signals, and even cause power grid failures on Earth. The client is funded by government agencies, like the Department of Homeland Security, who have identified “space weather” as a national security concern. The client has made important progress in this area of work. In particular, he has been advancing the United States’ understanding of space weather and other extra-terrestrial phenomena as well as methods to extend the lifetime and functionality of U.S. satellites.

To ensure the success of the client’s case, we located current news stories about satellites crashing back down to earth due to deterioration caused by space dust/plasma. Further, we demonstrated the interest in his work across multiple U.S. agencies and research institutes. The USCIS approved his case outright.


Natural Resource Management - U.S. Forestry with applications for Resource Optimization, Forest Preservation, and Climate Change Prevention

The following is a description of our client, who was a successful applicant for the NIW. 

Our client conducted research to build models that predict wildfires in the United States, carbon impacts of wildfires, and network analysis to identify hotspots of forest commodity usage of the United States. He has also assisted with economic contribution analyses of various sectors. His research supports policy decisions at the state and federal levels in the areas of wildfire management, forest carbon sequestration, and merchantability of forest commodities. His research results are of the utmost importance in providing guidelines to researchers and policymakers on the feasibility of utilizing woody residues for bioenergy production, formulating helpful policies, providing extension support and consultation to stakeholders, and identifying new investment opportunities.

In our NIW petition, we made sure to connect our client’s research to these important national goals. We also showed the direct impact of his work on the field. USCIS approved the case outright.

Public Health - Infectious Disease and HIV Research and Clinical Work

The following is an example of a client working in this field, who was successful with the NIW application. 

Our client is currently studying how HIV-infected macrophages may cause activation or injury of endothelial cells of the coronary artery, either through direct effects of the HIV or through the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. She is developing a cell-based assay system that will allow an in-vitro study of the interactions between macrophages and vascular endothelial cells in the presence of HIV. The assay will also help study how these interactions may be harnessed to understand the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease in PLWHA and identify therapeutic strategies to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Macrophages and vascular endothelial cells are key players in the pathogenesis of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in HIV-negative individuals. Macrophages also happen to be one of the immune cells that readily become infected by HIV and as such may play an important role in increasing the  cardiovascular risk in people who have an HIV infection. 

To strengthen the client’s case, we needed to distinguish this esteemed scientist and doctor from others in her field. We provided compelling information about the high degree of interest the U.S. has in eradicating HIV. In particular, we submitted data on the increasing number of cases in the Southeast, where our client works. We connected her clinical work with underserved HIV/AIDS patients to her ongoing laboratory work in this area and showed how each supported results in the other. We also argued that such a combination of jobs would likely not be approved via a PERM Labor Certification and that a National Interest Waiver was the only way to retain this talented public health worker. USCIS agreed and approved her case outright.  

Public Health - Cancer Epidemiology Research

The following is an example of a client working in this field whose NIW application was approved. 

This client had broad research goals in the area of colorectal, breast, prostate and hematological cancers. Her aim was twofold: 1) to understand what role environmental, lifestyle, and biological exposure factors play in increasing the risk of developing these cancers and 2) to develop population-based methods for reducing the incidence of these cancers through the eradication of these risk factors. She conducted population-based research, studied the role of relevant components in the immune system, and looked to identify subpopulations with high risk for specific cancers with the aim to develop culturally acceptable interventions and policies to reduce the risks. She was part of many more sub-projects within this broad area. To make her work readily accessible to the USCIS Officer, we distilled it into an understandable framework. We ensured our petition highlighted specific accomplishments made by this outstanding scientist and public health professional. USCIS approved her petition outright. 

Immunology, including Treatments for Kidney Disease and Nephritis

The following is an example of a client working in this field whose NIW application was approved. 

The client currently works in the development of constructs for kidney-targeted therapy, which have significant effects in restoring health during acute nephritis in mice. She developed a novel antibody-mediated system for administration of therapeutic candidates directly to glomeruli in the kidneys – a significant career achievement. She is also skilled in reproductive immunology and cancer immunology. In its Request for Evidence, USCIS disputed the substantial merit of her work and argued that she failed to establish a record of success in her field. Further, it downplayed the expert opinion letters by stating that the information was not specific enough describing her accomplishments. We filed a strong response contradicting these claims, showing that each letter did in fact contain specific examples and information about her contributions to the field. We also demonstrated that those contributions were of substantial merit and were widely regarded as outstanding in her field. USCIS agreed and approved the case.


Public Health Informatics

The following is an example of a client working in this field whose NIW application was approved. 

Our client has a background in epidemiology and biostatistics. She expanded her expertise to the domain of public health informatics, where she advances public health practices through information science and technology. This was one of our first “data informatics” cases, and our client did not have a strong track record of publications because her field was so new. However, we emphasized that her experience in the field was excellent, including her work on the Ebola outbreak, tuberculosis, HIV, and even hurricane response efforts, where she created informatics solutions to challenging time-sensitive health problems. USCIS approved her case. 

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)

The following is an example of a client working in this field whose NIW application was approved. 

Without a master’s degree, this client had to prove his “exceptional ability” as required by the USCIS regulations. Along with demonstrating his exceptional ability, we discussed his outstanding work in this field. First, we carefully explained ITS and its importance to the U.S. Then, we provided abundant evidence to show that our client was one of the best ITS experts, with significant project completions and major accomplishments in his field. We had to be very creative in the type of evidence to be submitted to USCIS since we had no publications or citations to enclose. We provided his designs for successful Intelligent Transportation Systems and submitted strong recommendation letters that explained what those documents signified. USCIS followed up with more questions. We responded with a submission of further evidence, including a clear description of our nation’s transportation and traffic woes plus a clear articulation of how his work supports the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. As a result, his case was approved. 

Plant Biology

The following is an example of a client working in this field whose NIW application was approved. 

Our client works in the field of plant sciences with a focus on secondary metabolites. At first glance, her research might not seem to be important to the United States. However, we conducted research on the impact of her work, establishing that it leads to the development of crops that better resist disease and pests. We emphasized the need for food security and the impact this kind of research can have on the billion-dollar farming industry in the United States. In addition, her studies have demonstrated plants have the potential to serve as model organisms to study human diseases. This research has far-reaching implications and was well-received by the scientific community. The case was approved by USCIS.

Biomedical Research in Primary Immunodeficiency Diseases (PID)

The following is an example of a client working in this field whose NIW application was approved. 

Our client conducts research in a very narrow field of about 400 rare chronic disorders of the immune system, where the body’s immune system is missing or functions improperly. Although these diseases are rare, more Americans are being diagnosed with them due to better medical care and testing. PID can be chronic, debilitating, and very costly. We focused on the importance of our client’s work in this field and highlighted his accomplishments that advance patient testing and scientific understanding of these diseases. The case was approved by USCIS.

Chinese Language Pedagogy Development

The following is an example of a client working in this field whose NIW application was approved. 

This case was designed for a language teacher at a senior military college in the United States. In particular, we focused on her teaching language courses to American military members and civilian future leaders. These courses are designed to both enhance the students’ Chinese language abilities and their cultural knowledge of the country. We emphasized China’s growing global impact and its military spending, which has increased by 750% recently. Such facts warrant the need for our military leaders to have the skills our client provides. We also detailed the language program she developed that can be implemented nation-wide. Although she could have been sponsored by the college, she wished to move forward faster with her case and thus decided to self-sponsor her NIW. The case was approved.


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