As you might be aware USCIS recently provided some new and additional guidance on the EB-2 with national interest waiver. Unfortunately, the Service has not yet sped up their processing times for the EB2 NIW nor implemented premium processing, but at least they have provided some new information on their policy manual.
Students getting master’s degrees, or those in Ph.D. programs, are encouraged to petition for a national interest waiver, especially those in STEM fields. However, the burden is on the petitioner to prove to USCIS that an EB-2 NIW should be approved. The USCIS policy manual for the national interest waiver has a variety of resources that are referenced in the footnotes that may be helpful for making a convincing argument that your EB-2 NIW should be approved. Below are three of them.
Where to Find the USCIS Policy Manual for National Interest Waiver
A straightforward way to find the USCIS Policy Manual and its section on the EB2 NIW is as follows:
National Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technologies for EB-2 NIW
One footnote from the policy manual section on the national interest waiver references the National Strategy for Critical and Emerging Technologies. A foreign national in a technical field can find a great deal of helpful information in this document.
On the last page of the strategic publication is a list of 20 critical and emerging fields. Those whose role is listed here can include this information in their EB-2 NIW petition letter.
Use Interim National Security Strategic Guidance for NIW
The new guidance regarding the national interest waiver also discusses national security. Therefore, if applicable to a graduate student, Ph.D. candidate or professional, the Interim National Security Strategic Guidance may be useful to reference in an NIW petition letter.
The document can be found at footnote #67 of the USCIS Policy Manual section on National Interest Waiver of the Job Offer. On page 9 of the Interim National Security Strategic Guidance is the start of the segment on national security. Here, persons in cybersecurity or financial risk might find persuasive arguments for demonstrating that it is sufficiently urgent for the USA to waive the job offer and labor certification requirement.
Memorandum on Research and Development Priorities
Researchers and those who have advanced degrees in STEM fields might find a wealth of information in the Memorandum on Research and Development Priorities, which is also identified in the footnotes of the USCIS Policy Manual section on National Interest Waiver of the Job Offer. There are several current topics that can be helpful in arguing that a foreign national’s proposed endeavor has substantial merit and national importance.
For example, this reference tool discusses pandemic readiness and prevention as a priority. Another part refers to the need for research and development around climate change.
Strategize with an EB2 NIW lawyer near you.
Although you can self-petition for a national interest waiver, it may be prudent to consult with an NIW attorney who handles such cases on a regular basis.
By explaining to the EB-2 national interest waiver lawyer in your area, or virtually, between the two of you, you can brainstorm some other resources for compelling arguments for your case.