Perm V/S National Interest Waiver


Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) is the system used for obtaining Labor Certification and is the first step for certain foreign nationals in obtaining an employment-based immigrant visa (Green Card). It is also known as PERM Labor Certification. In the PERM process, the petitioning employer conducts a series of recruitment activities to test the labor market before applying. It is required for the employment-based immigrant visa application process which ensures that equally qualified U.S. workers are not displaced by immigrant workers. It is the first step by the petitioning employer and must be completed before the I-129 petition is submitted.
The PERM certificate is issued by the Department of Labor (DOL). An application for labor certification is submitted to the DOL. The DOL must certify to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (U.S.C.I.S.) that there are not sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, qualified, and available to accept the job offered to the foreigner at the prevailing wage for that occupation in the area of intended employment and that employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.


These are the requirements that have to be met by the employer:

  • To ensure that there are no willing, qualified, and available U.S. workers to take the job.
  • The employer must be hiring the foreign worker as a full-time, not part-time or seasonal, employee.
  • The position being offered must also be permanent.
  • The educational and experience requirements of the job position that are specified by the employer need to be aligned with those customarily required for such an occupation.
  • The wage being proposed by the employer must be the same wage that the employer is paying to similarly qualified employees.


National Interest Waiver (NIW)

It is a method of obtaining U.S. lawful permanent residence (a green card) without an employer as a petitioner. It is an immigrant visa petition that enables certain research scientists, professors, and other professionals to obtain permanent residence and waive the labor certification requirement. If the person can prove that he is a professional who is engaged in work that will benefit the U.S. economy, education, health, or another aspect of society then he may qualify for NIW. A foreigner may file an immigrant visa without a job offer and a labor certification by proving with relevant evidence that his service will be in the national interest of the United States.
Requirements for NIW has to be fulfilled by the petitioner as there is no employer involved:

  • The proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance.
  • The person should be well-positioned to advance the proposal.
  • It would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer, and thus the labor certification.
  • The petitioner must demonstrate with relevant evidence that he/she seeks entry which is in the national interest.

These are the few pieces of evidence that are shown by the petitioner for NIW.

  • Publications and Citation records including journals, articles, books.
  • Letters of Recommendation to show one’s work or from someone who has experience of your work.
  • Funding from the government or grants is a great way of showing the national importance of one’s work.
  • Membership in the field of expertise that requires outstanding achievement, can improve his credentials.
  • The foreigner applying should also mention any awards if he has received.
  • Evidence of patents, contracts, licenses, and technology transfer can be given by the foreign national.


The similarity between PERM Certification and NIW

The only similarity between them is that both are the process of obtaining a green card or permanent residence in the U.S. For an EB2 visa, labor certification and a job offer are a must but this can be waived if the foreign national can get NIW.

  • Differences between PERM Certification and National Interest Waiver (NIW)
  • The most important difference between the two is that for PERM application is made by the employer whereas in the case of NIW the petition is made by the foreign national himself.
  • In the case of PERM, the employer has to prove that no U.S. worker is eligible or ready to take the job. Whereas in the case of NIW the foreign national has to prove that his profession or his work is of national interest to the U.S. He has to give evidence of his work of extraordinary ability so that the requirement of labor certification is waived.
  • PERM certification requires a permanent full-time job for the employee but in the case of NIW, there is no requirement of a job.
  • The employer must apply for the PERM and it can take a lot of time. In the case of NIW, the foreign national has to demonstrate his exceptional ability for getting the waiver. If the person can show in the interest of the nation, NIW will not take much time.



Thus, we saw that PERM certification and NIW are both the process by which a foreign national can apply for permanent residence. For the employment-based second preference visa or EB2 visa the most important requirement is that the foreign national has to be qualified and should have an extraordinary ability. The second requirement is a permanent job and the third requirement is labor certification. But the requirement of the job and labor certification can be waived if the applicant gets NIW. If the foreign national can demonstrate his extraordinary ability and that the ability is of national interest with evidence, then he/she becomes eligible for NIW.
Anyone who intends to do any business or any independent work in the U.S. can try for NIW. If a foreign national is sponsored by an employer for an NB2 visa, he/she can petition for NIW. The person can leave the employer and start independently without affecting his immigration status. There are many benefits of NIW and the only demerit is lot of documents are required to prove the ability. The person has to take efforts in collecting the evidences.