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USCIS Updates Guidance on National Interest Waivers

Publication date:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced updated guidance on the adjudication of applications for “national interest waivers” of the job offer and labor certification requirement for certain professionals with advanced degrees and persons of exceptional ability. This includes discussing the unique considerations for individuals with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields and employers. 

Consistent with this Administration's goal of removing barriers to legal immigration under the President Biden's Executive Order 14012, Regaining Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans, USCIS clarifies how STEM graduates and entrepreneurs can use the national interest exemption, as well as the importance of letters from government and quasi-government entities. The updated guidance also serves to promote effective and efficient processing of benefits, in accordance with the executive order.

An employer seeking to hire a noncitizen generally must obtain a permanent labor certification from the Department of Labor showing that there are no qualified U.S. workers to fill the position, and that his or her employment will not adversely affect U.S. workers employed by Similarly. However, the noncitizen may apply for a waiver of a job offer and labor certification if it is in the interest of the United States.

Individuals seeking a national interest waiver must show evidence of an advanced degree or exceptional ability and also meet three factors that USCIS uses to determine, in its discretion, whether it is in the national interest to waive the job offer requirement and , therefore, the labor certification. The three factors that USCIS considers for a national interest waiver are whether:

  • The individual's proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance;
  • The person is well positioned to advance the proposed engagement; Y
  • It would be beneficial for the United States to waive the offer of employment requirement and thus the permanent employment status certification requirement.

Those seeking a national interest waiver can self-petition through the Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.

This guide, found in the Volume 6 of the Policy Manual, takes effect immediately. The guidance contained in the Policy Manual governs and supersedes any prior related guidance.

visit the page Comments to the Policy Manual to comment on this update. 

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