Allen C. Ladd, Attorney
United States Immigration Law
Over 25 years of success, at your service
Professional Immigration planning
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Renewable visas for:
business partners in US businesses
Work permits for spouses
Appeals and review of
Permanent residence for spouses of
Other family members
Renewal of green cards
Citizenship for family members
Appeals and review of USCIS decisions
Permanent residence for:
benefit to the US "national interest"
top consulting work
achievement in art, athletics, business, or science
Work permits for applicants and family members
Appeals and review of USCIS decisions
Protection from persecution in the home country, on account of:
May include family members, if also present in the United States
Work permits for asylum applicants and family members
Appeals and review of
The National Interest Waiver (“NIW” for short) is a test for U.S. permanent residence. To succeed, you must show that your professional work will bring important benefits to the "national interest" of the United States.
You do not need to have a U.S. employer, but you must show that you will continue your professional work, and that it will bring a significant benefit, in the United States.
There is a two-part screening, to determine if you qualify for the NIW.
Part One: You are either (a) a "member of the professions holding an advanced degree” [note 1] or (b) an "alien of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business." [note 2] These are the baseline requirements for the “EB-2” category for permanent residence.
Part Two: If you can meet these baseline EB-2 requirements, then you must prove that it would be in the “national interest” of the United States to waive, or set aside, the usual requirements of (a) job offer and (b) testing of the U.S. job market (“labor certification”).
By "national interest," we mean this three-step test:
The work you will do in the United States involves a project with both substantial merit and national importance; and
You will play a critical role to carry out the work that will advance the project; and
It "only makes sense" for the U.S. government to exempt you from the standard legal requirements; namely, a job offer by a U.S. employer and a testing of the labor market to prove that U.S. workers are not adversely affected by the offer of employment to a foreign national. In an NIW case, the job offer and labor testing are waived. [note 3]
If these three elements are satisfied, USCIS may approve the national interest waiver -- and your U.S. permanent residence, your "green card" -- as a matter of discretion. Your spouse and your children under age 21 will also be approved.
A common misconception is that the NIW is reserved for scientists and academics. It is not; many cases have been approved for individuals in such diverse fields as the performing arts, amateur and professional athletics, applied arts such as photography, and business, among others.
The key, of course, is to make the strongest possible case that your work will bring a benefit of “national interest” to the United States.
To give an idea of the limitless potential, and diversity, of the National Interest Waiver -- our firm received approval for a martial arts instructor, now in California, who has brought fitness to help the aged and disabled and taught better, safer techniques to athletes in training. Another success was a self-taught photographer who applied her skills to advocating for the conservation of the natural environment -- including the night sky. These clients, and their families, are now permanent residents.
 An “advanced degree” is a fairly flexible term and it means a formal U.S. or foreign degree at the master’s level or above, or the equivalent in terms of your formal U.S. or foreign degree at the bachelor’s level plus at least five years of progressive employment/experience, all properly documented, of course.
 “Exceptional ability” is defined as “a degree of expertise significantly above that which is ordinarily encountered.” To show that you have exceptional ability in the sciences, arts – including athletics -- or business, your application must be supported by documentary evidence of academic or experience-based credentials and recognition for achievements in your field of endeavor.
 The actual requirement is that the test results in an approval by the Department of Labor, which is referred to as ”alien employment labor certification” or simply “labor certification.”
How to Earn a “Green Card” without a Job Offer - the “National Interest Waiver”
My husband and I highly recommend Mr. Ladd and his staff to anyone that is needing any Immigration services. He treated us with respect and truth. His staff was so helpful, kind and understanding, and kept us informed of every document we needed at every step of my husband's case.
The first consultation with Mr. Ladd and his paralegal put us at ease and gave us the confidence we needed to continue with our case. The process was long, but well worth it! His paralegal Jennifer helped us all along the way. She is excellent! Extremely thorough and very knowledgeable.
Allen has handled several immigration related issues from me and my family (green card/work visa). He has always been very professional and his extensive experience in immigration matters have helped me get approvals in all my immigration cases. Allen cares about each case and as a full time immigration attorney he is very through and provides a personal touch. I would recommend Allen for all immigration cases!
I am very thankful that I found such a great lawyer. Mr. Ladd has been amazing. He took my immigration case on and it has been a very complicated very tense situation with [the] court. He is very knowledgeable in all aspects of immigration and when he needed help with different aspects of my case, he reached out to different attorneys to get their help. He guided me through every step and was really there for me through the entire process. He is honest and forthright and has never misled me. He listened and was very comforting and understanding of my unique situation. He truly cares about his clients and wants the best for them. He is an excellent lawyer. I would most definitely hire him if I have future immigration issues and I most strongly recommend him to any future clients.
When I met with Mr. Ladd regarding my wife's immigration case he clearly explained the process to me and what steps would be involved. Everything occurred exactly [as] he outlined and the timeline only lagged his original estimates by a few months (due to delays in government agencies processing documents). He does an excellent job of managing expectations, delivering as promised, and ensuring the process goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible.