National Interest Waiver Frequently Asked Questions

What is a National Interest Waiver (NIW)?

The National Interest Waiver (NIW) is a provision that allows eligible foreign nationals to seek a waiver of the job offer and labor certification requirements for the employment-based second preference (EB-2) green card category.

Who is eligible for a National Interest Waiver (NIW)?

To be eligible for an NIW, you must:

Be applying under the EB-2 category.

Show that your work is in the national interest of the United States.

Be a professional, hold an advanced degree, or possess exceptional ability in your field.

What is the process for obtaining an NIW?

The process generally involves:

Preparing a comprehensive petition with evidence demonstrating your qualifications and the national interest your work serves.

Submitting the petition (Form I-140) to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Waiting for USCIS to adjudicate the petition.

How do I demonstrate that my work is in the national interest?

To demonstrate national interest, you must show that your work has substantial merit and intrinsic value, and it is in the national interest of the U.S. to waive the job offer and labor certification requirement.

Can I apply for a National Interest Waiver (NIW) on my own, or does my employer have to file the petition?

You can self-petition for an NIW, meaning you do not need an employer to sponsor your application. However, you must demonstrate that your work is in the national interest of the U.S.

What types of evidence are required to support an NIW petition?

One must provide strong evidence demonstrating your qualifications, contributions, and the national interest your work serves. This may include letters of recommendation, publications, conference presentations, awards, and more.

Is a job offer required for an NIW application?

No, an NIW waives the job offer requirement, allowing you to self-petition without a specific job offer from a U.S. employer.

Can I include my family members (spouse and children) in the NIW application?

Yes, but the inclusion of family members on form I-140 is for informational purposes only. The approval of the NIW (I-140) petition is solely for the individual who qualifies to file a petition in this category.

Can I change employers while my NIW petition is pending?

So long as you are a self-petitioner, you can change employers. Other than that, changing employers while your NIW petition is pending is complex. It’s advisable to consult with your immigration attorney to understand the complexities and implications.

Can I apply for U.S. citizenship (naturalization) after obtaining a green card through an NIW?

Yes, after being a lawful permanent resident for the requisite 5-year period, you may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship, providing you meet the other statutory requirements. Consult your immigration attorney for guidance on the requirements.
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Tony Montana
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Dana Davidson - Full Bio

Dana T. Davidson holds degrees from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and State University of New York at Stony Brook and has been practicing immigration law since 2003 in New York and nationwide. She represents corporations, individuals, and families in a broad range of immigration matters. Attorney Davidson has offices in New York City and Glen Cove.


  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, New York, New York
  • Juris Doctor – 1988
  • Honors: Moot Court Board, Member, Judge
  • State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York
  • Bachelor of Arts – 1982
  • Major: Political Science
  • Concentration: Business

Pro-Bono Activities

  • Safe Passage Project, Volunteer Attorney, 2013-Present
  • Educating the Educators, Founder, 2012-Present
  • Momentum Project, Board Member, 1991-1994 Bar Admission
  • New York, Eastern District
  • New York, Southern District
  • Washington, D.C.

Speaking Engagements
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2018, Berlin, Germany, Speaker on “Public Charge” panel
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Fall Conference 2018, Johannesburg, South Africa, Speaker: “Practice Management in the New Age” panel
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2018, Madrid, Spain, Speaker: “El Traje de Luces: Self-Sponsored Petitions – EB-1A and NIW”  AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2017, Brussels, Belgium, Speaker: “Continuing Blanket L Challenges”
  • Safe Passage Project, March 2017, Speaker: “Representing Unaccompanied Minors: Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and the Effects of President Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration”
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Fall Conference 2016, Speaker: “It’s Not About Money: I-864”
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2016, Vienna, Austria, Speaker: “K-Visa: Differences Between K-1 and I-130 Processing”
  • New York Institute of Technology’s Center for Entrepreneurship, January 2016, Entrepreneur/Executive-in-Residence
  • AILA Fall Conference 2015, London, UK, Speaker: Impact of joint sponsors on family-based cases
  • Goldman-Sachs 10,000 Small Business Education Program, October 2014, “What is required to grow a business?”
  • Dowling College, May 2013, Keynote Speaker at the first annual Latino Summit at Dowling College
  • International Taxation Conference, 2010