How To Develop a Proposed Endeavor For a National Interest Waiver


A foreigner who seeks to work in the U.S. for employment, the person without an employer cannot get a visa. In the U.S.A. most of the employment visas are sponsored by the employer. Even for getting an EB-2 green card, the petition has to be made by the employer for the employee who is the beneficiary. PERM certification or labor certification is necessary before applying for EB-2. To encourage entrepreneurs to do business in the U.S., the USCIS introduced NIW (National Interest Waiver). If one qualifies for NIW, the requirement of PERM or labor certification is done away with. An entrepreneur with NIW can come to the U.S. without an employer and start a business.


  • The condition of PERM or labor certification is done away with, which is a very long procedure.
  • The advantage of a green card for permanent residence is there with NIW.
  • The person applying for EB-2 green card can apply as a petitioner and a beneficiary.


The petitioner has to convince the USCIS officers that he/she has a strong petition and does not require a labor certification. The most important requirement before one can apply for NIW is that the petitioner must be eligible for an EB-2 visa which is an “exceptional ability” green card visa.

To give clarity to the requirements for NIW, the Administrative Appeals Office of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a decision called the “Matter of Dhanasar”. Certain requirements were laid down to establish a person of national interest to the United States. The petitioner has to demonstrate the following to the USCIS after the petitioner becomes eligible for an EB-2 visa.

  • the substantial merit of the endeavor proposed by the applicant,
  • the national importance of the endeavor proposed by the applicant,
  • the capacity to advance the proposed endeavor,
  • the benefits of the proposed endeavor to the United States that justify the requirement of a labor certification.

As per these requirements, the petitioner has to demonstrate his/her background, accomplishments by providing evidence related to the applicant’s/petitioner’s background, education, knowledge, skills, experience in his/her field of expertise.

The three tests or the criteria laid down after Dhanasar:

  • Substantial Merit: The petitioner has to prove that the proposed endeavor has substantial merit with the documentary evidence.
  • National Importance: The petitioner has to show with evidence that the endeavor will be of national importance. Like it will create employment in the U.S. or economically beneficial for the country.
  • Significant Position: The petitioner should be in a significant position to present the endeavor in front of USCIS.

The petitioner has to demonstrate in the application how the plans will benefit the United States. The petitioner should prove by giving evidence in the form of contracts or agreements, a memorandum of understanding, letter of intent with the application. Below are a few examples of evidence that can be produced by the petitioner in support of the endeavor.

  • Letter of recommendation from the experts in the field of petitioner’s expertise.
  • The petitioner can show his or her contribution to a project through reports showing his role.
  • Citations of publications, authored by the petitioner.
  • Number and rankings of publications, authored by the petitioner.
  • Copies of awards, honors, certificates, or other recognition\.
  • Membership in associations or a panel that demonstrates the petitioner’s role and contribution.


Thus, we saw that for NIW, an EB-2 visa is a prerequisite. After one is eligible for an EB-2 visa, the petitioner/applicant starts with an NIW petition. The EB-2 visa is eligible for a green card and the requirement for eligibility is also not as EB-1, therefore it is more in demand. A normal EB-2 visa is applied by the employer for the employee and the employer also has to get a labor certification. In the case of an EB-2 NIW visa, the petitioner can apply without an employer and has to demonstrate the endeavor with the requirements mentioned above. The Dhanasar decision of 2016 clarified the criteria for NIW for an entrepreneur who intends to start a business in the U.S. The entrepreneur can use his/her degrees and experience, teaching can be shown as evidence. The entrepreneur has to show his endeavor of national importance like which will create employment. The decision also requires that an NIW applicant has to show that labor certification or PERM would be impractical.

If the applicant can demonstrate national importance, substantial merit, and significant position then the applicant can get an NIW. The petition has to prove all this with sufficient documentary evidence which is presented with the application.