EB-2 Visa

Overview/Description

This is an Employment Based green card category and is available to individuals who are a member of professions holding an advanced degree or those who have exceptional ability.   This green card is used when an employer wants to sponsor a beneficiary for a 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:

Categories

Description

Advanced Degree (Master’s Degree or Higher or a BA with 5 years experience)The first step is to see if you qualify for an Advanced degree. This can either be a Master’s Degree or a BA 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 also but the assessment will be whether the job requires it.
Exceptional AbilityYou can also qualify under this category if you do not have an advance degree but you have 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.
PERMThe next step in the process is the labor certification process. This is a process where the company must prove that the company cannot find a qualified U.S. worker.

Requirements/Eligibility

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 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.

Application Process

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 an U.S. worker.  The PERM 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.

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 can all join in the green card process.  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

Find more information on various immigration topics discussed in our blog.

Common Questions & Answers

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Fees

Fee schedule