EB-2 Visa

Overview/Description

This category is available to individuals who are a member of professions holding an advanced degree who has exceptional ability. (note this is different from extraordinary ability). There are three categories within EB-2 and they are summarized below:

Categories

Description

Advanced Degree (Master’s Degree or Higher or a BA with 5 years experience) The job you apply for must require an advanced degree and you must possess such a degree or its equivalent. (Keep in mind that it is the JOB that must require the degree.  You must have the degree also but the assessment will be whether the job requires it.
Exceptional Ability You must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.  Exceptional ability “means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.”  Note that this is different from extraordinary ability.
National Interest Waiver (NIW) Aliens seeking a national interest waiver are requesting that the Labor Certification be waived because it is in the interest of the United States.  Though the jobs that qualify for a national interest waiver are not defined by statute, national interest waivers are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability (see above) and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the national.  Those seeking a national interest waiver may self-petition (they do not need an employer to sponsor them) and may file their labor certification directly with USCIS along with their Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. (VERY DIFFICULT PETITION)

Requirements/Eligibility

The three categories are all separate categories that each require a separate application.  The exceptional ability and advanced degree categories both require an employer where the NIW does not.

If you are applying under the advanced degree category, documentation, such as an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree, or an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree and letters from current or former employers showing that you have at least 5 years of progressive post-baccalaureate work experience in the specialty is required.

If you are applying under the exceptional ability or NIW category, you must meet 3 of the following criteria.

  • Official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to  your area of exceptional ability
  • Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation
  • A license to practice your profession or certification for your profession or occupation
  • Evidence that you have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability
  • Membership in a professional association(s)
  • Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations
  • Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable.

In addition, for NIW you must demonstrate that it is in the national interest that you work permanently in the United States.  For example, if you are a person that created a vaccine that would benefit the U.S., this is the category for you.

You should note that unless you are applying under NIW, the employer must obtain an approved labor certification from the Department of Labor.

Application Process

To qualify for an EB-2 visa, your employer must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.  NIW applicants may self petition on the same form.

How long does the Visa last for?

These are green cards so as long as you meet the residency requirements and do not violate the terms of the visa you can keep them for life.

How are Family Members Treated?

Your spouse and children under the age of 18 may be admitted to the United States in E-21 and E-22 immigrant status, respectively. During the process where you and your spouse are applying for permanent resident status (status as a green card holder), your spouse is eligible to file for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Other Considerations or Related Articles

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Common Questions & Answers

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Fees

Fee schedule