On December 27, 2016, the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) issued a precedent decision in Matter of Dhanasar that modifies the framework for how the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will now adjudicate national interest waiver (NIW) petitions. 

Matter of Dhanasar provides a new framework where USCIS may grant a national interest waiver if the petitioner demonstrates by a preponderance of the evidence (1) that the foreign nationals proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance; (2) that the foreign national is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor; and (3) that on balance it would be beneficial to the US to waive the requirements of a job offer and thus a labor certification.  If these three elements are satisfied, USCIS may approve the national interest waiver as a matter of discretion.

Unlike NYSDOT, the new prong does not require a showing of harm to the national interest or a comparison against US workers in the petitioner’s field.  This is a more flexible test which can be met in a range of ways is meant to apply to a greater variety of individuals.