The EB-2 is an employment-based green card category available to individuals who are members of professions requiring an advanced degree or those who have exceptional ability. This is an employer-sponsored green card, meaning that the employer must sponsor the beneficiary for the green card. The employee can already be working for the company, but this is not required. Also, the beneficiary can be in the U.S. or abroad. The EB-2 category can be used for PERMs (Labor Certification) and for National Interest Waivers. This page deals with an EB-2 through the PERM process. The chart below deals with the threshold issue of whether or not the applicant has an advanced degree and/or exceptional ability:
Advanced Degree (Master’s Degree or Higher or a Bachelor’s Degree with 5 Years of Experience)
The first step is to see if you satisfy the requirement that you have an advanced degree. This can either be a Master’s Degree or a Bachelor’s Degree with 5 years of progressive 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, but the assessment will be focused on whether the job requires it.
Those who do not have an advanced degree might still qualify under this category if they have “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.”
The next step in the process is the labor certification process. This is a process whereby the company must prove that the company cannot find a qualified U.S. worker for the position.
If you are applying under the advanced degree category, documentation is required to show that you have an advanced U.S. degree (or equivalent foreign degree), or a U.S. baccalaureate degree (or foreign equivalent) with the required five years of experience. This documentation can include an official academic record (showing your academic credentials) and letters from current or former employers (showing the required, progressive post-baccalaureate work experience in the specialty).
If you are applying under the exceptional ability category, you must provide 3 of the following forms of documentation.
- 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 one or more 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.
To qualify for an EB-2 visa, your employer must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. Prior to filing this, the employer must complete the Labor Certification process to show that they were not able to hire a U.S. worker for the position. This must be approved prior to filing the I-140 petition. If the green card category is current for the applicant, the I-485 can also be filed at the same time as the I-140. In addition, the applicant can apply for work authorization and the ability to travel.
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.
Your spouse and children can all join in the green card process. The spouse is eligible to file for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) while applying for permanent residency status (in other words, a green card).
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