The National Interest Waiver is a great way for entrepreneurs, doctors, engineers, and even accountants to bypass obstacles along the path to a green card. However, many people want to know if changing jobs after National Interest Waiver approval will affect their green card status in the U.S. If that’s you, keep reading to find out more.

EB-2 Background

In order to understand the ins and outs of the National Interest Waiver (NIW), we must first take a look at the reason for applying for one in the first place. In all green card cases (with the exception of the EB-1A), the first step is to acquire a PERM Labor Certification, which involves having you employer go through a recruiting process to make sure that no qualified U.S. workers are available for your position.

As an entrepreneur, doctor, or self-practicing engineer, you may not have an employer that can acquire a PERM on your behalf. The National Interest Waiver is a way for EB-2 applicants (i.e. people with advanced degrees or exceptional ability in their field) to bypass the PERM Labor Certification requirement and self-petition for a green card without an employer.

Changing Jobs after National Interest Waiver Approval

Who Qualifies for a National Interest Waiver?

Not everyone who applies for an EB-2 green card is eligible for an NIW. Those who wish to go around the PERM requirement need to demonstrate that their work in the U.S. will be in the national interest. The most recent set of criteria are:

  1. You must show that your enterprise will have a positive impact on the U.S. economy, workforce, society, or infrastructure.
  2. You must be able to prove that you are able to develop your enterprise. Evidence for this could be found in your educational background, past experience, or current progress in your enterprise.
  3. You must be able to convince the USCIS that the United States would stand to benefit from waiving the PERM requirement as opposed to enforcing it.

It is important to note that, because doctors and physicians tend to automatically fulfill all three criteria, there is a different set of rules that must be fulfilled for those in that occupation. These are:

  • You must be a practicing physician in one of these areas: family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics, or psychiatry.
  • You need to work for five years in a medically underserved area in the U.S.
  • You will need to obtain a statement from the state department of health or another government agency (such as the VA) that details your qualifications and that your work would be in the public interest

Now that we know exactly what an NIW is and how to obtain one, we can see how the rules might allow changing jobs after national interest waiver approval.

Changing jobs After National Interest Waiver Approval

If you are in the process of obtaining an NIW for your EB2 green card, then changing your job may require that you file a new I-140 as well as a new application for your NIW. However, if you are changing jobs after National Interest Waiver approval, then you may encounter difficulties with proving that your new occupation is in the national interest.

On the whole, most people who change jobs after National Interest Waiver approval do not encounter difficulties provided that they stay within their field. As long as your new job is identical or very similar to the job that you used for your NIW, you should be able to transfer with the help of an immigration attorney

What if I Want To Work Outside My Field?

We have seen several cases of people who want to leave their current job to work in an entirely different field. This is a very difficult situation as you will not only need to prove that your new enterprise is in the national interest, but you will also need to prove that you are qualified to advance the enterprise.

Here is an example. Ivan had his NIW approved so that he could work as an architectural engineer in the U.S. However, he soon loses interest in the job and instead desires to become an electrical engineer instead. Ivan will need to prove that he is qualified to be an electrical engineer through his educational background, experience, or past successes.

While it is not impossible, there are few people who would be able to convince the USCIS of their ability to develop enterprises in different fields that will have a substantial positive impact on the U.S. If this is the route that you wish to take, it is highly recommended that you work very closely alongside an immigration attorney to make sure that your case is waterproof.

It is important to note that physicians must work in their field in an underserved area for the first five years of their stay under EB-2 status in order to qualify for an NIW. Therefore, they would not be able to change jobs outside their field after NIW approval.

It also stands to reason that few physicians would be able to claim expertise in more than one specialized area of medicine. Because of these factors, changing jobs after your NIW is approved is only possible if you stay in your original field of expertise.

How Our Immigration Attorneys Can Help

Getting an EB2 NIW is a delicate process. From the experience of several of our clients, choosing the correct evidence to convince the USCIS that your endeavor is in the national interest of the U.S. is extremely difficult without the help of a qualified attorney. Don’t go it alone, be sure to hire an expert to help you with your case.

At SGM Law Group, our immigration lawyers have a long track record of success helping people get their EB-2 green cards with the NIW or without it. Whether you need to find the right documents to send to the USCIS or you are changing jobs after National Interest Waiver approval, our attorneys are ready to help you.

To get in touch with one of our lawyers, you can fill out this simple contact form and schedule your comprehensive consultation today.