NIW Attorney – Entrepreneur Gets Green Card Through Business in the National Interest

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.

For some entrepreneurs, some of these factors are easier to establish than others in order to pass this qualification under the NIW. For instance, being a member of a professional association or having a license to practice a given profession might be easier to demonstrate than other fields of business. In our case, meeting this criteria was a bit more difficult. Because of the entrepreneur’s personal background, education in the related field, membership in a professional association, and a license to practice the profession was immediately dismissed, leaving the remaining three criteria to meet. With our help, our entrepreneur had carefully drafted letters from individuals who could recognize his achievements and significant contributions to the field, that he had been working in the field for over ten years and that his business commanded a salary that demonstrated his exceptional ability.

While it was possible to demonstrate that those factors were met so the case would be approved, the issue of work history demonstrating ten years became an issue that was questioned by immigration. Through crafting key letters from individuals to verify the entrepreneur’s work in such a sensitive and clandestine field, it was possible to meet the last criteria our entrepreneur needed to meet this requirement for the National Interest Waiver.

While each entrepreneur is different regarding what factors work best to demonstrate how their work is in the national interest, it is one route for an entrepreneur to get a green card. If you have any questions concerning whether this process can work for you, our office can determine if your work meets the requirements immigration has set forth for an entrepreneur to show that their work and business is in the national interest and can help you determine if that is right for you.