EB-2 Visa: Requirements and Application Process

Understanding EB-2 Visa

If you are a professional with an advanced degree or exceptional ability in your field and looking to work in the United States, the EB-2 Visa could be the perfect option for you. The EB-2 Visa is an employment-based visa that allows foreign nationals to live and work in the United States permanently.

To be eligible for the EB-2 Visa, you must have either an advanced degree or exceptional ability in your field. An advanced degree is defined as a master’s degree or higher, while exceptional ability means that you have a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in your field.

The EB-2 Visa is a popular option for those seeking to immigrate to the United States because it allows for permanent residency. This means that once you are approved for the visa, you can live and work in the United States indefinitely.

To apply for the EB-2 Visa, you must have a job offer from a U.S. employer. The employer must also file a labor certification with the Department of Labor to show that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the job.

Overall, the EB-2 Visa is an excellent option for professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities in their field who are looking to live and work in the United States. It provides a pathway to permanent residency and allows for long-term stability and security in your career.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for an EB-2 Visa, you must meet certain requirements that demonstrate your advanced degree or exceptional ability in your field. There are two main categories under which you can qualify for an EB-2 Visa: advanced degree requirements and exceptional ability requirements.

Advanced Degree Requirements

To qualify for an EB-2 Visa based on advanced degree requirements, you must have an advanced degree or its foreign equivalent degree. An advanced degree is defined as a master’s degree or higher, or a bachelor’s degree with at least five years of progressive experience in your field. Your advanced degree must be relevant to the position you are seeking in the United States.

You must also demonstrate that you have at least five years of experience in your field and that you are a member of a professional association related to your field. Your academic record must show that you have excelled in your studies and have received recognition for your achievements.

Exceptional Ability Requirements

To qualify for an EB-2 Visa based on exceptional ability requirements, you must demonstrate exceptional ability in your field. Exceptional ability is defined as a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in your field. You must have at least three of the following:

  • A degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to your field of exceptional ability.
  • Evidence of at least ten years of full-time experience in your field.
  • 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 related to your field.
  • Recognition for your achievements and contributions to your field.

If you do not have an advanced degree, you must demonstrate that your exceptional ability will benefit the United States in your field of expertise.

In summary, to be eligible for an EB-2 Visa, you must demonstrate either advanced degree requirements or exceptional ability requirements. You must also have a relevant degree or equivalent, professional association membership, academic record, recognition, license, or certification in your field.

Application Process

To apply for an EB-2 visa, you must first have a job offer from a U.S. employer who is willing to sponsor you. The employer must file a Petition for Alien Worker, Form I-140, on your behalf. The purpose of this form is to establish that you have the necessary qualifications for the job and that the employer is offering you a wage that is comparable to what U.S. workers in the same position are paid.

Role of the Employer

The employer plays a critical role in the EB-2 visa application process. They must demonstrate that they have tried to recruit U.S. workers for the position but have been unable to find anyone who meets the necessary qualifications. The employer must also provide evidence of their financial ability to pay the offered wage.

Self-Petitioning Process

If you are unable to find an employer to sponsor you, you may be able to self-petition for an EB-2 visa. This process is available to individuals who have exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, or who are seeking a National Interest Waiver.

To self-petition, you must submit evidence of your exceptional ability or qualification for a National Interest Waiver, as well as evidence that your work will benefit the United States. This evidence may include letters of recommendation, publications, awards, and other documentation.

Once your Form I-140 has been approved, you may apply for an EB-2 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. You will need to provide additional documentation, such as your passport, birth certificate, and police clearance certificate.

Overall, the EB-2 visa application process can be complex and time-consuming. It is important to work closely with your employer or immigration attorney to ensure that all necessary documentation is submitted accurately and on time.

National Interest Waiver

If you are an individual who is interested in obtaining an EB-2 visa, you may be eligible for a National Interest Waiver (NIW). The NIW is a way for you to bypass the usual requirement of a labor certification, which is typically required for EB-2 visas.

To qualify for an NIW, you must demonstrate that your work has substantial merit and national importance. This means that your work must have a significant impact on your field and must be in the interest of the United States.

There are several factors that USCIS considers when evaluating your application for an NIW, including:

  • Your education, skills, and experience
  • The significance of your work in your field
  • The potential impact of your work on the United States
  • The level of support for your work from experts in your field

If you can demonstrate that your work meets these criteria, you may be eligible for an NIW.

It is important to note that an NIW is not a guarantee of an EB-2 visa. While an NIW can help you bypass the labor certification requirement, you must still meet all other requirements for an EB-2 visa, including having a job offer from a U.S. employer and meeting the qualifications for that job.

Overall, the NIW is a valuable option for individuals who have exceptional skills and experience in their field and whose work has a significant impact on the United States. If you think you may qualify for an NIW, it is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can help you navigate the application process.

Labor Certification

If you are applying for an EB-2 visa, you must satisfy the Labor Certification requirement. This requirement is designed to ensure that there are no qualified U.S. workers available to fill the position you are seeking to fill.

Labor Certification Requirement

The Labor Certification requirement is a process that involves obtaining a Permanent Labor Certification from the Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL processes PERM applications on a first-come, first-served basis. To obtain a Permanent Labor Certification, you must show that:

  • The job opportunity is open to any U.S. worker who meets the minimum qualifications for the position.
  • The job opportunity is being offered at the prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of intended employment.
  • The employer has conducted a good faith recruitment effort to find U.S. workers for the position.

The good faith recruitment effort must include the following:

  • Posting the job opportunity on the State Workforce Agency website for at least 30 days.
  • Placing a job order with the State Workforce Agency.
  • Placing two Sunday newspaper advertisements in the area of intended employment.
  • Posting the job opportunity on the employer’s website.

Exception to Labor Certification

There is an exception to the Labor Certification requirement if you can show that your work is in the national interest. This is known as the National Interest Waiver (NIW). To qualify for the NIW, you must show that:

  • Your work is in an area of substantial intrinsic merit.
  • The proposed benefit of your work is national in scope.
  • It would be contrary to the national interest to require a Labor Certification.

The NIW is available to those who have exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. To qualify for the NIW, you must show that you have a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in your field.

In conclusion, the Labor Certification requirement is an important step in the process of obtaining an EB-2 visa. If you can show that your work is in the national interest, you may be able to obtain a waiver of the Labor Certification requirement.

Fees Involved

When applying for an EB-2 visa, there are several fees that you will need to pay. These fees can add up quickly, so it is important to be aware of them before you begin the application process.

Filing Fee

The filing fee for an EB-2 visa is $1,140. This fee is non-refundable and must be paid when you submit your application. You can pay this fee by check, money order, or credit card.

Fees

In addition to the filing fee, there are several other fees that you may need to pay when applying for an EB-2 visa. These fees include:

  • Visa application fee: $325
  • Immigrant fee: $220
  • Premium processing fee: $1,440 (optional)

The visa application fee is paid at the U.S. embassy or consulate when you attend your visa interview. The immigrant fee is paid after your visa is approved and before you travel to the United States.

The premium processing fee is optional and allows you to have your application processed within 15 calendar days. If you choose to pay this fee, you should include a separate check or money order with your application.

It is important to note that these fees are subject to change, so be sure to check the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for the most up-to-date information.

Overall, the fees involved with applying for an EB-2 visa can be significant. However, if you are able to secure this type of visa, it can provide you with many benefits, including the ability to work and live in the United States permanently.

Green Card and Permanent Residency

If you are an EB-2 visa holder, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency in the United States. Permanent residency, also known as a green card, is a document that allows you to live and work in the United States permanently. There are two ways to apply for permanent residency: Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing.

Adjustment of Status

If you are already in the United States on a valid nonimmigrant visa, you may be eligible to apply for Adjustment of Status. This means that you can apply for permanent residency without leaving the United States. To apply for Adjustment of Status, you will need to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Once you file Form I-485, you will need to attend a biometrics appointment, where USCIS will take your fingerprints, photograph, and signature. You may also need to attend an interview with USCIS to determine your eligibility for permanent residency. If your application is approved, you will receive a green card in the mail.

Consular Processing

If you are not currently in the United States, or if you are not eligible for Adjustment of Status, you may need to apply for permanent residency through Consular Processing. This means that you will need to apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country.

To apply for an immigrant visa, you will need to file Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa Electronic Application, with the Department of State. You will also need to attend an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country to determine your eligibility for permanent residency. If your application is approved, you will receive an immigrant visa, which allows you to enter the United States and receive your green card.

Overall, applying for permanent residency can be a complex process. It is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to ensure that you are eligible and that your application is complete and accurate.

Additional Information

Family and EB-2 Visa

If you are applying for an EB-2 visa, you can bring your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to the United States on an E-21 and E-22 immigrant status, respectively. Your family members can also apply for work authorization in the United States. However, keep in mind that your family members’ immigration status is contingent on your own status. If your EB-2 visa application is denied, your family members’ applications will be denied as well.

Comparison with Other EB Visas

Compared to other employment-based visas, the EB-2 visa has certain advantages and disadvantages. Here is a brief comparison of the EB-2 visa with other EB visas:

Visa CategoryAdvantagesDisadvantages
EB-1Higher priority, no labor certification requiredMore difficult to qualify for
EB-3Lower educational and work experience requirementsLonger waiting times
EB-4No labor certification required for certain applicantsLimited to certain categories of workers
EB-5Offers a path to permanent residency for investorsRequires a significant investment

Overall, the EB-2 visa is a good choice for highly skilled workers who have a master’s degree or higher, or who have exceptional ability in their field. However, it is important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the EB-2 visa against other employment-based visas to determine which one is right for you.

Remember, the EB-2 visa is a preference immigrant visa, which means that it has a limited number of visas available each year. This can lead to longer waiting times for approval. It is important to stay up-to-date on the latest visa bulletin to determine when your priority date becomes current.

In conclusion, the EB-2 visa is a great option for highly skilled workers who meet the requirements. However, it is important to consider all of your options and consult with an immigration attorney to determine the best course of action for your individual situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between EB-1 and EB-2 visas?

EB-1 visas are reserved for individuals with extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business, and athletics, as well as for outstanding professors and researchers and multinational executives and managers. EB-2 visas are for individuals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.

What are the requirements for an EB-2 visa?

To qualify for an EB-2 visa, you must have an advanced degree or its equivalent or demonstrate exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. You must also have a job offer from a U.S. employer and obtain a labor certification from the Department of Labor.

How long does it take to process an EB-2 NIW application?

The processing time for an EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) application varies depending on the workload of the USCIS and the complexity of your case. Generally, it takes between 6 to 12 months to process an EB-2 NIW application.

What is the EB-2 visa bulletin?

The EB-2 visa bulletin is a monthly publication by the U.S. Department of State that shows the availability of immigrant visas in the EB-2 category for each country. It is used to determine when an individual can file their adjustment of status application or when they can attend their immigrant visa interview.

What is the EB-2 processing time by country?

The EB-2 processing time by country varies depending on the workload of the USCIS and the embassy or consulate in your country. Some countries have longer processing times than others due to high demand or security concerns.

Does an EB-2 visa lead to a green card?

Yes, an EB-2 visa can lead to a green card. Once you have been granted an EB-2 visa, you can apply for a green card through adjustment of status if you are already in the U.S. or through consular processing if you are outside the U.S.

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