Murthy Success: NIW Approval for Expert in Water Resources Engineering

The Murthy Law Firm regularly assists foreign nationals in filing self-sponsored immigrant petitions under the EB2 national interest waiver (NIW) category and in the EB1(a) for immigrants with extraordinary ability. In a recent NIW case, we filed the immigrant petition (form I-140) for a water resources engineering researcher focused in the areas of floodplain analysis and mapping, watershed hydrology and hydraulics, water distribution networks, and mining and wetlands restoration. Our client graciously granted permission for the Murthy Law Firm to share her story to help others who may be considering applying for an NIW.

Qualifying for a National Interest Waiver (NIW)

The NIW is an avenue under U.S. immigration law to attract foreign nationals with an advanced degree or of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business whose work has substantial merit and is of national importance, as explained in the MurthyDotCom InfoArticle, Overview of the EB2 National Interest Waiver (08.Jan.2024). Unlike most employment-based categories, there is no requirement for an employer to provide sponsorship under the NIW category. Rather, the I-140 normally is filed directly by the foreign national on their own behalf. If approved, the NIW waives the standard requirement of obtaining a PERM labor certification.

Presenting Petitioner’s Work to USCIS

The client in this case held an advanced degree, but she still needed to demonstrate that her proposed endeavor had both substantial merit and national importance, and that she was well-positioned to advance the endeavor. We also had to evidence that, on balance, it would be beneficial to the U.S. to waive the labor certification requirement.

We helped to evidence the substantial merit of our client’s work with expert opinion letters attesting that her research in water resources engineering improved safety, security, and quality of life for U.S. citizens across the nation who have been adversely impacted by climate change. Her research further improved the understanding of water resources engineering and has provided vital safety, environmental, and economic benefits to the U.S. We further demonstrated that her work is of national importance, having been utilized by U.S. federal agencies, and therefore applied nationally, rather than just locally or regionally.

We also presented evidence of how our client was well positioned to advance her proposed endeavor in the U.S. She has received multiple awards for her research and contributions to the field. She has been able to impact her field through interviews and by presenting her research at conferences. Moreover, she holds multiple licenses and certifications to practice in her field and is a member of prestigious engineering organizations. The fact that her work has set the tone in the development of groundbreaking innovations and that she has become a leader in the water resources engineering community further supported that she could continue her work in the U.S.

We were able to convince the USCIS that, due to on our client’s contributions to water resources engineering, it would be beneficial to the U.S. to waive the PERM labor certification requirement for her, and the USCIS approved the EB2 NIW petition.


The USCIS sets a high bar to qualify for the EB2 NIW and EB1(a) categories. Still, given the significant immigration benefits for a case that is approved under either of these self-sponsored categories, these may be options worth exploring.

Given the opportunity, accomplished individuals help transform the nation and ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in technology and innovation. The Murthy Law Firm has 30 years of experience in filing such cases for our clients. Anyone interested in exploring the possibility of filing an NIW or EB1(a) case is encouraged to schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney at the Murthy Law Firm.

The Murthy Law Firm never reveals details of any case handled by our firm, nor the identity of any client, without first obtaining express consent. We appreciate the generosity of our client in allowing us to use this case as an example to our readers. Please note that all cases are different. Even with cases that appear to be similar, past success does not guarantee a favorable result.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.