For both entrepreneurs and full-time employees of U.S. companies seeking permanent residency, the National Interest Waiver (“NIW”) green card is a unique option. The NIW may be self-sponsored, meaning the foreign national does not need a U.S. company to act as a sponsor but may file on his or her own.

The individual must prove that they meet three criteria to establish eligibility for NIW:

  • The foreign national’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance.
  • The foreign national is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor.
  • On balance, it would be beneficial to the United States to waive the requirements of a job offer and thus of a labor certification.

Specifically, an entrepreneur can qualify for NIW by evidencing that they are creating “an endeavor that has significant potential to employ U.S. workers or has other substantial positive economic effects, particularly in an economically depressed area, for instance, may well be understood to have national importance.”

The NIW option is a viable option for entrepreneurs who are creating companies that have industry leadership, national and/or community value, or create a significant number of US jobs or for established career professionals who can evidence that they have exceptional abilities and that their employment and presence inside the U.S. will greatly benefit the country.