National Interest Waiver adjudications resume

On March 8, 2017, USCIS confirmed to the American Immigration Lawyers Association ("AILA") that it had resumed adjudication of National Interest Waiver ("NIW") petitions using the new standard imposed by a precedential decision, Matter of Dhanasar.  Adjudications had been temporarily halted while USCIS was awaiting further internal guidance before training its adjudicators and familiarizing them with the new standard. NIWs are a pathway to lawful permanent resident status if an applicant can show his or her work is in the national interest. Under Dhanasar, an NIW applicant must show that the proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and is national in scope, that the applicant is "well-positioned" to advance the proposed endeavor, and that on balance the U.S. would benefit from waiving the job offer and labor certification requirements of the EB-2 category. This new standard significantly eases the NIW process for many applicants, making this a more viable option than it had been under the old standards.