Extraordinary Achievements Propel South African Pilot to NIW Approval

Our client’s case presented some unique challenges to highlight the importance of his role on a national scale. We crafted a compelling case with all the evidence we gathered and in the end we received an approval for our pilot! 


The National Interest Waiver (NIW) is a special immigration category available in the United States, designed for foreign nationals who possess exceptional skills or expertise that serve the national interest. Unlike many other employment-based visas, the NIW allows individuals to bypass the cumbersome labor certification process and secure permanent residency, typically through an EB-2 visa category, without requiring an employer-sponsored petition. The NIW is a valuable pathway for individuals who can demonstrate their exceptional contributions to the nation, and it is often sought by professionals, researchers, and individuals with outstanding accomplishments in their respective fields.

The Case

Coming from the Republic of South Africa, our client had over 23 years of experience in the aviation industry. His contributions included overseeing an aviation program aimed at grooming the next generation of pilots, equipping them with the essential skills for commercial flight operations. Having previously secured an O-1 visa for him, our focus shifted to obtaining the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW). The EB-2 NIW would allow our client, an individual with exceptional ability in the field of Specialized Airline Piloting and Training, and an advanced degree, to obtain a green card. The central challenge in this case was the connection between our client’s expertise and demonstrating that our client was more likely than not to serve the national interest. It’s worth noting that USCIS does acknowledge the pressing pilot shortage, but it’s not enough for an applicant to be merely proficient as a pilot; they must show that their background is intrinsically linked to the training and development of new pilots.

Our NIW petition had substantial evidence showcasing our client’s eligibility under the framework of INA Section 203(b)(2)(B) and it aligned with the three-prong test outlined in Matter of Dhanasar, 26 I&N Dec. 884 (AAO 2016).

  • We established the substantial merit and national importance of his work, addressing the critical shortage of pilots in the United States and its impact on the airline industry’s national security.
  • We highlighted his qualifications and readiness to advance the proposed endeavor, emphasizing his extensive experience and training expertise.
  • The last point we discussed underscores the necessity of waiving the job offer and labor certification requirements, considering the urgent need for well-trained pilots and the impending shortage in the industry.

The Verdict

Essentially, we guided USCIS through a comprehensive breakdown of our client’s unique blend of pilot expertise, revealing not only his excellence as a pilot but also his potential as an equally accomplished trainer of new pilots. Our client’s unique and invaluable contribution to addressing these challenges positions him as a candidate deserving of the National Interest Waiver. His work benefits the United States on a national scale. We provided letters from his previous captains attesting to his pivotal role, responsibilities, and extensive experience within their respective organizations. These captains discussed how critical it was to have our client on their teams, as he not only was making major contributions within his work but also helping South Africa during a critical economic period. We discussed in depth how our client would accomplish this national benefit once he was approved for a green card. The foundation of our successful argument was the understanding that our client’s vision for training new pilots could not progress without gaining the status of a U.S. worker. Securing the green card opened the gateway for him to apply for the necessary job positions and security clearances to actively participate in training the next generation of pilots on U.S. soil.

Remarkably, within 15 days of filing, our client’s case received approval, marking a significant milestone in his journey toward contributing to the United States’ aviation industry and national interest.

pilot success story

Another VisaNation Law Group Success Story

With the success of our client’s approval, this sets a precedent for other NIWs with pilots. It’s important to remember that satisfying the national interest requirement is key to a strong case and it’s critical to hire an experienced legal team who can craft a compelling argument. Get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.