Implementing the best ideas for your business requires a diverse team composed of bright people. Finding the right employee may not always happen, and when that person is a foreign national, a U.S. employer might consider the EB-2 immigrant visa category for professionals with advanced degrees and individuals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. These two sub-categories of the EB-2 visa generally require a job offer and a labor certification, unless a person is deemed to be in the “national interest” and have that requirement waived by the USCIS. Below are the occupational categories and requirements, with links to our other pages featuring these topics:
Advanced Degree. The job you apply for must require an advanced degree and you must possess such a degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in the field). 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.
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.” You must meet at least three 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.
National Interest Waiver. Aliens seeking a national interest waiver are requesting that the Labor Certification be waived because it is in the interest of the United States. Though the jobs that qualify for a national interest waiver are not defined by statute, national interest waivers are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability (see above) and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the nation. Those seeking a national interest waiver may self-petition (they do not need an employer to sponsor them) and may file their labor certification directly with USCIS along with their Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. You must either meet at least three of the criteria required for Exceptional Ability persons OR as an Advance Degree professional, and then demonstrate that it is in the national interest that you work permanently in the United States.
Note: Except for National Interest Waivers, EB-2 petitions must generally be accompanied by an approved individual labor certification from the Department of Labor. In general, after the labor certification is approved, to qualify for an EB-2 visa, your employer must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.
Family of EB-2 Visa Holders
Your spouse and children under the age of 18 may be admitted to the United States in immigrant status. During the process where you and your spouse are applying for permanent resident status, your spouse is eligible to file for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).