The EB-2 visa, which provides immigration to the United States based on employment, may be awarded to individuals with exceptional ability or those with an advanced degree in a specific profession. An immigration lawyer can help to determine the qualifications and consequently help to obtain the EB-2 visa.
Eligibility for the EB-2 Visa
There two specific criteria a potential applicant must meet to be eligible for the EB-2 visa.
An applicant must hold
- an advanced degree that is higher than a bachelor’s degree. It could be a master degree, for example; or
- a bachelor’s degree plus five years of work experience in the specific field.
The following documentation is required if the petition is based on the advanced degree category:
- An official academic record showing that you have earned a United States advanced degree or foreign equivalent
- An official academic record that shows that you hold a United States bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent degree
- Official letters from your employers that prove you have had at least five years of experience in your field or specialty since receiving your bachelor’s degree
If a petition is based on the exceptional ability in the arts, business or sciences rather than advanced degree as discussed above, this exceptional ability of the foreign professional can be proven by the following:
- An official academic record showing that you have a degree, certificate or diploma from a school, college, university or other educational institute that relates to your specific area of expertise
- Letters from your former employer(s) that prove you have had at least 10 years of experience in your profession
- A license or certification to practice your chosen profession
- Evidence that you have earned a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrate your exceptional ability
- A membership to a professional association
- Recognition for your achievements and other contributions to your field from peers, business organizations or others in your chosen field
- Other types of evidence of your eligibility.
It is important to keep in mind that no less than three items from the above list of evidence must be submitted in order to qualify under the exceptional ability criteria.
Special Challenges When Employer Seeks Labor Certification
EB-2 immigration program requires sponsorship of the US-based employer (unless applying for National Interest Waiver). When an employer plans to sponsor an EB-2 immigrant, first they must assess the market and keep all records of their actions. Employers must be very careful when listing the minimum requirements for the position. They are required to clearly state that those minimum requirements include a master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in addition to five years of work experience. For example, if the employer states that the minimum requirement is for the applicant to hold one of those degrees but have only two years of work experience in their chosen field, it would not be enough for the applicant to meet approval for the EB-2 visa.
This employment-based petition can submitted only with an approved individual labor certification. Accordingly, the Department of Labor must be contacted first. The process may be complicated and time-consuming. Usually all applicants need qualified legal services of an experienced immigration lawyer.
Lastly, if you have a family, your spouse and any children younger than 21 years can be included in your immigration petition and, in case of approval, receive a permanent resident status in the US with all benefits, such as employment authorization, unlimited travel, health insurance, participation in various state residential programs. Ask your immigration attorney for more information.