Until 2011, the National Interest Waiver (NIW) category had been limited to persons holding advanced degrees or persons of extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, or business whose work was in the national interest. In 2011, the NIW category was expanded to allow entrepreneurs to pursue a green card based on demonstrating the business and their services within that business being in the national interest.
Recently, our firm succeeded in approving an entrepreneur as someone whose work was in the national interest because their exceptional abilities as an individual and the business’ substantial prospective benefit to the U.S. warranted approval for their case. The entrepreneur’s business was in the field of private security, focusing on providing security to American interests in countries where terrorism and insurgents threaten our interests abroad. By demonstrating that the business is focused on fighting against organizations such as Al-Qaeda, the national interest is served by showing how the welfare of the U.S. is protected by the company’s services.
When it came to the entrepreneur’s exceptional abilities, a six factor test is used to determine if the entrepreneur qualifies for his services being in the national interest. Of those six factors, only three must be met. The six factors are: (1) a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, or other institution of learning related to the area of exceptional ability; (2) letter/s from current and/or former employer/s establishing that the beneficiary possesses at least ten years of full-time experience in the occupation for which s/he is being sought; (3) a license to practice the profession or certification for a particular profession or occupation; (4) evidence that the beneficiary has commanded a salary, or other remuneration, which demonstrates exceptional ability; (5) membership in professional associations; or (6) recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by peers, government entities, professional or business organizations.