EB-2 Visa Program
The Second Preference employment-based visa category is for professionals holding advanced degrees and persons of exceptional ability who wish to immigrate to the United States for work. Applicants for this EB-2 visa program must be able to demonstrate exceptional knowledge and/or skill with evidence to gain entry.
Who Qualifies for the EB-2 Visa Program?
EB-2 visa applicants usually need to have a labor certification approved by the Department of Labor (DOL). Also, proof of a job offer is required from the potential U.S. employer. Additionally, this employer must also file Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, on your behalf.
The following types of immigrant workers are eligible for visas within this category:
- Workers with advanced degrees
- Workers with exceptional ability
If you wish, your spouse and/or minor children (under the age of 21) may be admitted to the United States in E-21 and E-22 immigrant status, respectively.
Immigrant Workers with Advanced Degrees
If you are applying for a job and wish to seek an EB-2 visa under this subcategory, the job itself must require an advanced degree that you have already attained (i.e. a job that requires a college degree plus five years of progressive work experience in the field). Petitioners for this visa must provide documentation, such as an official academic record, that indicates an advanced degree from the U.S. or a foreign equivalent degree. Evidence can also include an official academic record which shows a U.S. bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent degree. You will also need to include letters from current or former employers which prove that you have at least five years of progressive post-graduate work experience in the chosen specialty.
Immigrant Workers with Exceptional Ability
If you can show that you have exceptional ability in either the sciences, arts, or business; you can petition for an EB-2 visa as well. The term “exceptional” in this case legally means a level of ability and expertise that is significantly above that of what would normally be encountered in these fields. In order to qualify as “exceptional” in the sciences, arts, or business in terms of an EB-2 visa, you must meet at least three of the following requirements, according to the USCIS:
- Official academic record (degree, diploma, certificate, or 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.
Can the Labor Certification Requirement be Waived?
Some aliens may qualify for a national interest waiver, which waives the Labor Certification requirement. This is granted in cases where it is in the interest of the United States. National interest waivers tend to be awarded if you who have exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business (and meet the requirements) or if your employment in the U.S. would greatly benefit the nation. If you are seeking a national interest waiver, you do not need an employer to sponsor you and may petition yourself. You would then file your labor certification directly with USCIS, along with Form I-140, the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.