Meeting the “National Interest” Standard

All successful National Interest Waiver (NIW) petitioners must meet the three-prong test established in Dhanasar. Notably, there are no established rules or statutory standards regarding what can or should be considered to be in the “national interest,” and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) considers each case on an individual basis. To determine whether admitting an alien would be in the national interest of the U.S., several factors may be considered, including:

  • Whether the American economy will benefit from the alien's admission
  • Whether the alien will help improve health care
  • Whether a U.S. government agency has specifically requested that the alien be admitted
  • Whether the alien's admission will improve training and educational programs benefiting U.S. under-qualified workers and children
  • Whether the alien's admission will help create more affordable housing solutions for the poor, elderly, or children
  • Whether the alien's admission will improve the environment and lead to better usage of natural resources
  • Whether the alien's admission will improve the working conditions and wages of U.S. workers.

Typically, aliens who are successful in winning approval for an NIW petition present cases that establish themselves as having some unique and exceptional skill, experience, or knowledge that sets them apart from their professional peers. Documents stating that the petitioner possesses a certain level of competence will not be sufficient to receive an NIW; rather, a level of proficiency that is greater than mere competence is expected. Further, it must be clearly demonstrated that the NIW candidate's past record substantiates his or her projections of future benefits to U.S. national interests.

Letters of recommendation attesting to the alien's unique skill, experience, knowledge, or expertise will be examined by the USCIS, and the credentials of the individuals who write such letters will be reviewed to determine whether they are qualified to make such evaluations.

Additionally, the NIW candidate should be aware that the government has become increasingly strict in its interpretation of what it considers to be in the national interest. Applications that would have been approved four or five years ago are now currently being denied.  Despite this trend, our NIW approval rate remains very high as a result of our experienced immigration attorneys.

The NIW process is complex and, at times, a bit convoluted. We recommend that you seek the assistance of experienced immigration attorneys. Over the past two decades, we have successfully represented thousands of clients in their NIW cases. If you would like to contact us, please call us at (713) 771-8433 or visit us at one of our seven locations. You can also send us an e-mail at Our superior attorneys will ensure that you receive only the highest quality of service.

Read the USCIS ruling (Matter of Dhanasar) governing NIW here. And for more detailed information about the National Interest Waiver, including minimum requirements and USCIS policies, please click on the relevant links on this page:

Updated 03/23/17