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Entrepreneurial Dreams Made Possible: How the National Interest Waiver Green Card Can Help Noncitizens Build Businesses in the US.

Posted by Ann Badmus | Apr 25, 2023 | 0 Comments

The United States is a land of opportunity for entrepreneurs, and many aspiring noncitizen business owners dream of starting their ventures in the country. However, obtaining a green card to live and work in the US can be a challenging process, especially for entrepreneurs who do not have the support of a US-based employer. Fortunately, there is an option for entrepreneurs to obtain a green card through the National Interest Waiver (NIW) program.

The NIW is an immigrant visa (green card) category that allows individuals who demonstrate that their work is in the national interest of the US to bypass the traditional labor certification process required for a green card. This means that entrepreneurs who can prove that their business will benefit the US economy and create jobs can apply for a green card without going through the lengthy and often difficult process of securing a US-based job offer or the enormous investment requirements of the EB-5 immigrant investor program.

To qualify for the NIW, entrepreneurs must demonstrate that their business will have a significant impact on the US economy. This can be done by showing that the business will create jobs, generate revenue, or contribute to the development of new technologies or industries. Entrepreneurs must also demonstrate that they have the necessary skills and experience to successfully run the business and that they have a solid business plan in place.

One example of an entrepreneur who could have obtained a green card through the NIW is Eric Yuan, the founder of Zoom Video Communications. Yuan, a Chinese immigrant, came to the US in 1997 to pursue his dream of starting a technology company. He initially struggled to obtain a visa and was rejected multiple times, but eventually obtained an H-1B visa and started working for WebEx, a video conferencing company.

Yuan later founded Zoom, which quickly became a popular video conferencing platform used by businesses and individuals around the world. An application for a green card through the NIW program, citing the significant impact that Zoom was having on the US economy, could be successful, based upon today's criteria. 

The NIW program is not limited to technology entrepreneurs, however. Any entrepreneur who can demonstrate that their business will have a significant impact on the US economy can apply for a green card through the program. For example, an entrepreneur who wants to start a restaurant chain that will create jobs and generate revenue could potentially qualify for the NIW.

Applying for a green card through the NIW program can be a complex process, and entrepreneurs should seek the guidance of an experienced immigration attorney. However, for those who are able to qualify, the NIW program offers a valuable pathway to obtaining a green card and pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams in the US.

In conclusion, the National Interest Waiver program offers a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to obtain a green card and pursue their business ventures in the United States. By demonstrating that their business will have a significant impact on the US economy, entrepreneurs can bypass the traditional labor certification process and obtain a green card on their own. With the right qualifications and guidance, entrepreneurs can take advantage of this program and contribute to the growth and development of the US economy.

We hope this article helps you understand basic immigration requirements, but please don't consider it as legal advice or a legal opinion about your specific circumstances.  Immigration rules are complex so contact a qualified immigration attorney for qualified advice and guidance.

For legal advice and guidance for your unique situation, you are invited to schedule a consultation by completing our contact form on this website.

About the Author

Ann Badmus

Principal and Managing Attorney


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