The EB-2 visa is an employment-based immigrant visa category in the United States. It is designed for professionals with advanced degrees or individuals with exceptional abilities in their respective fields. The EB-2 visa is part of the Employment-Based Immigration, Second Preference (EB-2) category, which allocates immigrant visas to individuals with specific skills or qualifications.
There are three main subcategories within the EB-2 visa:
- EB-2(a): Advanced Degree Professionals – This subcategory is for foreign nationals who have an advanced degree (master’s degree or higher) or its equivalent, and whose employment in the United States requires their specific advanced degree. The job offer must be from a U.S. employer, and the employer must demonstrate that they were unable to find a qualified U.S. worker for the position.
- EB-2(b): Exceptional Ability Individuals – This subcategory is for foreign nationals with exceptional abilities in their respective fields, such as arts, sciences, business, education, or athletics. Exceptional ability is generally demonstrated by substantial achievements and recognition in the field. The applicant must have a job offer in the United States or show that their presence in the country would significantly benefit the U.S. national interest.
- EB-2(c): National Interest Waiver (NIW) – This subcategory allows certain foreign nationals to self-petition without a job offer or labor certification. They can seek a National Interest Waiver if their work is deemed to be in the national interest of the United States. The NIW is available to those who can demonstrate that their work has substantial merit and national importance and that it benefits the United States to waive the job offer and labor certification requirements.
To apply for an EB-2 visa, the foreign national typically requires a U.S. employer as a sponsor, unless they qualify for a National Interest Waiver. The process of obtaining an EB-2 visa can be complex and may involve labor certification and a PERM process (Program Electronic Review Management) if a job offer is required.
It’s important to note that the EB-2 visa category can be highly competitive, especially for the National Interest Waiver route. The information provided here is based on the regulations as of my last update in September 2021. As with all U.S. immigration matters, eligibility criteria and requirements are subject to change, so it’s advisable to refer to the official USCIS website or consult with an immigration attorney for the most up-to-date information on the EB-2 visa category.
How to apply for EB-2 visa?
Applying for an EB-2 visa involves several steps and requires careful preparation. The process can vary depending on whether you fall under the EB-2(a) category (Advanced Degree Professionals), EB-2(b) category (Exceptional Ability Individuals with a job offer), or the EB-2(c) category (National Interest Waiver). Here is a general overview of the application process:
Labor Certification (EB-2(a) and EB-2(b) Categories):
- If you are applying under the EB-2(a) or EB-2(b) category, the first step is for your U.S. employer to obtain a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The labor certification process involves showing that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the position you are being hired for. This process ensures that hiring a foreign worker will not negatively impact U.S. workers in the same field.
Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker:
- Once the labor certification is approved (if applicable), your U.S. employer files Form I-140 on your behalf. This form is the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker and is used to establish your eligibility as an EB-2 visa applicant. The form requires supporting documentation and evidence to demonstrate that you meet the eligibility requirements for the specific subcategory (EB-2(a), EB-2(b), or EB-2(c)).
National Interest Waiver Petition (EB-2(c) Category, if applicable):
- If you are applying under the EB-2(c) National Interest Waiver category, you may file a self-petition using Form I-140 without the need for a job offer or labor certification. You must demonstrate that your work is of national interest and that a waiver of the job offer and labor certification is in the best interest of the United States.
Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa Application:
- After Form I-140 is approved, you will be notified by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If you are outside the United States, you will need to go through consular processing at a U.S. embassy or consulate. You will need to file Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa Application, and submit the required documents to the National Visa Center (NVC).
Attend Visa Interview (Consular Processing):
- If you are outside the United States, you will be scheduled for an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. During the interview, you will need to present your supporting documents and demonstrate your eligibility for the EB-2 visa.
Adjustment of Status (if applying from within the U.S., if applicable):
- If you are already in the United States and eligible for adjustment of status, you may file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, instead of going through consular processing.
It’s important to note that the EB-2 visa process can be complex, and requirements may vary depending on the specific subcategory and the individual’s circumstances. Working with an experienced immigration attorney is highly recommended to ensure a smooth and successful application process. Additionally, the information provided here is based on the regulations as of my last update in September 2021. For the most current and accurate information, applicants should refer to the official USCIS website or consult with an immigration attorney.