If you’re considering applying for a green card, you may wonder what the difference between PERM and NIW is. The two visa applications are designed to meet different criteria. PERM is a process set up by the Department of Labor to ensure the rights of US workers.

In other words, it prevents employers from hiring large numbers of green card holders and replacing them with cheaper labor.

The first question that may come to mind when thinking about the NIW vs PERM is which one should you choose? Read on to learn about the benefits and drawbacks of each. Here are the main differences between NIW and PERM.

A quick look at NIW

In a nutshell, the NIW is a way for EB-2 petitioners to avoid the labor certification process. Unlike the PERM labor certification process, the National Interest Waiver allows a foreign national to file a visa application for his or her own employment without an employer.

To qualify for an NIW visa, foreign nationals must prove they have a significant skill set and can perform the job. Moreover, they must demonstrate that their exemption or waiver from a job offer is in the national interest.

How a foreign national presents this information and how well it demonstrates the skill set is crucial to obtaining approval.

NIW is suitable for those

The NIW green card program is a great option for those without a PERM or a job offer. However, unlike PERM, NIW does not require a US employer to sponsor the visa. Moreover, unlike the PERM visa, NIW does not require a labor certification, job offer, or other proof of the job shortage.

NIW is a good choice for physicians or researchers who are looking for a green card. The NIW process costs more, but the processing time is significantly shorter. You can also accumulate achievements during the waiting period.

NIW is available to self-employed

Entrepreneurs who are interested in applying for NIWs must first prepare a detailed business plan. In this plan, they must show how foreign national’s proposed endeavor is expected to significantly benefit the country and is of substantial merit. The plan should include the types of services they will provide, fee structures, marketing strategies, financial statements, and a list of potential clients.

A self-petitioned National Interest Waiver petition can be used by foreign nationals, bypassing the customary route. Normally, an employer must have a permanent job offer and a labor certification, but this can be waived by a self-petition.

The applicant must also have an advanced degree or demonstrate exceptional ability. It is important to remember that NIW is not available for every type of activity.

Processing time

PERM processing time is dependent on a number of factors, including the number of applicants, service center, and employer. The process can take up to six months, or as long as twelve months, depending on the steps.

The NIW process is typically completed in five to seventeen months, although it varies by case. If you want to submit your NIW application at the earliest, you should contact an immigration attorney to ensure your documentation is properly submitted and filed. If you don’t prepare the right documents, you risk denial of your immigration petition.


The first consideration in deciding which to use is whether you can show exceptional ability. While the National Interest Waiver process is much like the PERM labor certification process, it is easier to meet eligibility requirements for the NIW route if you have both substantial merit and national importance.

Applicants for NIW visas must be graduates or possess their official academic records. The best way to demonstrate this is to demonstrate that you are a recent graduate or have a recent degree.

To qualify for an NIW, aliens must have extraordinary skills and knowledge. Applicants must demonstrate that they have a track record that supports the projection of their future benefits to the national interest. However, an NIW is not for everyone and should not be relied on solely on that.

While the PERM process is a bit complex, it does not eliminate all the barriers to obtaining a visa. It is a good idea to look into a National Interest Waiver option to streamline the process. If you are not sure if you qualify for an NIW, start by comparing the two visa categories. You may find the National Interest Waiver option better in your situation.

NIW requires letters of recommendation

One of the primary requirements for a successful national interest waiver waives application is letters of recommendation from a credible, authoritative person in the alien’s field of study, employment, or research.

These letters describe the alien’s accomplishments and the reason for their national importance. Letters of recommendation can be obtained from several sources but should demonstrate the alien’s contribution to his or her field and the degree of recognition it has received.

While it is not necessary to get letters of support from your current employer, you can request a letter of support from colleagues and peers who are familiar with your work. Peers may also provide a letter of support from a professional association, and they should be aware of the applicant’s work. Even if they do not know the petitioner personally, they should state how their work affected them.

The recommended letters should describe the applicant’s contributions to his or her field and their significant contributions on a national or international scale.

If the applicant has low citations, this can help his or her application. While letters of recommendation are essential to a successful NIW application, the amount of letters isn’t the most important factor. The quality of the letter and the credentials of the referee will have the most impact.

Letters of recommendation from experts and other distinguished individuals are important for a national interest waiver NIW application. Experts in the field are often preferred, as their opinions are considered more authoritative than those of lesser-known colleagues.

Letters from high-ranking officials are also highly regarded. However, letters from close friends or relatives don’t have as much weight as those written by other people. So, even if you’re going to request letters of recommendation from high-level colleagues, they will likely be scrutinized more than letters from high-profile colleagues or mentors.

In addition to the letter of recommendation, you need to submit

  • Proof of at least two years of experience
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Any evidence of achievements or successes in your field
  • Your resume or CV
  • Proof that you have either a relevant degree or exceptional ability
  • Affidavits given by leaders in your field
  • Official academic record showing foreign national’s qualifications

PERM labor certification

If you are planning to apply for a green card in the United States, you may want to know more about the PERM visa process. This visa process is a prerequisite to some employment visas.

PERM stands for Program Electronic Review Management. As a foreign worker, you must comply with many rules and regulations related to the PERM process. The PERM process ensures that only highly qualified workers from the United States can apply for a green card.

PERM Processing Time

During PERM Processing time, employers can file an application once they’ve placed ads for the position. Employers must fill out an ETA Form 9089, which informs the DOL of the job description, the recruitment process, and the prospective foreign employee.

The entire PERM recruitment process is affected by many factors, including the priority date assigned to each case. Currently, it takes five to six months for a PERM to be approved, but this could increase to more than nine months if the case is audited. Even though this is a common issue, audited PERM requests aren’t necessarily rejected outright, and it can take up to 12 months for an employer to get their application approved.


Before you can apply for PERM, there are a few requirements.

It is necessary that you have an offer of permanent employment from a US employer or company.

The DOL’s prevailing pay rate must be equal to or greater than the offer of pay.

A degree that is higher than a bachelor’s degree is necessary for a professional position.

The local job market has been evaluated for qualified individuals. This is to prove that US workers are not able to meet the requirements of the job. It also means that there are no US citizens who are eligible to fill the position. Additional paperwork regarding recruiting activities should be available if required.

Employers in the United States are required to maintain an audit file and verify any recruitment attempts.

PERM requires labor certification

In addition to official academic record, and Letters from current or former employers, PERM requires labor certification to apply for employment-based immigration benefits. The requirement does not apply to national interest waiver NIW petitions.

EB-1, EB-4, and EB-5 visa applicants do not need to obtain PERM labor certification to apply for the benefits they seek. But it is recommended that employers apply for labor certification before attempting to hire a foreign worker.

PERM labor certification applications are filed electronically with the Department of Labor (DOL) or through the mail. Petitioning employers must perform the recruitment activities required by the law and have all of their supporting documents ready before filing the PERM application.

In the United States, labor certification applications are filed with the Department of Labor (DOL) along with Form I-140. The employer fills out ETA Form 9089, a form that outlines the applicant’s background and the process they went through to recruit the worker. The application must also show that no US worker can fill out the position and must have a good reason to hire a foreign worker.


PERM labor certification is designed to protect American jobs and mitigate job outsourcing for professional or business organizations. Under the PERM process, employers must provide prevailing wages and must prove that there are no qualified US workers in the country.

And If your proposed employment is of substantial merit and benefit the US economy and is of national importance, NIW is an effective way to circumvent the PERM Labor Certification Requirement.

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