The EB2 visa allows foreign nationals to live, work and take up as lawful permanent residence in the United States. Learn more about the requirements and process of getting this employment-based immigrant visa, also known as a green card.
Besides having exceptional qualifications in sciences, arts, or business, you also have to show at least ten years of full-time experience in your field. Your license will validate whether you are eligible for the visa or not. You can also include your family in this program.
What is an EB2 Visa?The EB2 visa is the second preference of the US employment-based immigration visas. You can be granted permanent residency and can work in the US with the EB2 immigrant visa, also known as the EB2 green card. The visa has 3 subcategories, which are as follows:
- EB-2A Visa – Advanced Degree
- EB-2B Visa – Exceptional Ability
- EB-2C Visa – National Interest Waiver
Who is eligible for the EB2 visa?You can apply for the EB2 visa if you have exceptional ability or an advanced degree in a profession. The basic eligibility criteria are different for the 3 subcategories.
For EB2A – Advanced DegreesYou must have one or more advanced degrees to apply for the EB2A visa. This could be a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. In addition, you also need at least 5 years of progressive work experience.
Required documents include:
- An official academic record showing an advanced degree from a US institution or its foreign equivalent.
- An official academic record showing a bachelor’s degree from a US institution or its foreign equivalent.
- Recommendation letters from current or former employers to prove your working experience.
- Master’s, Ph.D.
- Juris Doctor (J.D. or law degree)
- M.D. (medicine).
For EB2B – Exceptional AbilityThis subcategory requires exceptional ability in arts, sciences, or business. Exceptional ability implies having a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.
Your ability must be able to add both substantial merit and value to the US economy, educational or cultural interests, or welfare. A US job offer is also important for approval.
Required documents include:
- Proof of at least 10 years of full-time working experience.
- Official record of academic qualification – degree, diploma, or any other certificate of value.
- License or certification to practice your profession.
- Proof that you are recognized in your profession – awards and prizes.
- Proof that you’re a member of professional associations in your profession.
- Proof that you earn a moderate salary for your level of ability
- Any other comparable evidence of your exceptional ability.
For EB2C – National Interest WaiverThe EB2C subcategory lets you apply for an employment-based immigrant visa without having a US job offer. It also waives the requirement for Labour Certification. For this, you must prove beyond doubt that your extraordinary ability is in the nation’s (United States’) interest.
The usually required documents for the EB2C are the same as that of the EB2B. In addition, National Interest Waiver cases require that:
- The proposed endeavour is both worthwhile and significant in terms of national importance.
- The applicant is in a good position to move forward with the proposed endeavour.
- Waiving the conditions of a job offer, and hence the labour certification would benefit the United States.
What is the application process for the EB2 Visa?The EB2 visa application process is similar for the EB2A and EB2B but different for the EB2C. Applicants under the EB2A and EB2B categories must first obtain a permanent labor certification from the US Department of Labor. The application will be submitted by their employer. After going through the labor certification process, the employers can then proceed to submit a petition for the EB2 green card to the USCIS on behalf of the employees.
But for the national interest waiver (EB2C), applicants don’t need to obtain a labor certification. They can submit their EB2 green card petition directly to the USCIS. They can also self-file the petition, as they don’t need an employer to process the visa on their behalf.
The USCIS green card petition for all three categories is known as Form I-140 – Petition for Alien Worker.
Employer Petition (EB2A & EB2B)Your employer must enrol you in the Program Electronic Management Review (PERM) system. This will validate your labor certification. To successfully register you in the PERM system, they must prove that:
- The job is in a professional field
- The job is available to US workers
- No quailed US worker is available to fill the position, and a foreign worker is needed.
- The salary follows prevailing pay in the industry.
Your priority date becomes “current” once there’s an open spot in the visa bulletin. Next, you have to go for an interview and biometrics service if applicable.
Self-Petition (EB2C)The EB2C doesn’t require PERM enrolment. You can start with filing Form I-140. This form is available on the official USCIS website for you to download. Complete all sections and sign the form. File it according to the current address on the USCIS website.
Before filing, you must pay your filing fee. You’ll get a receipt notice from the USCIS to confirm that they received your petition. Afterwards, you wait for your interview date.
If you’re already in the US on a different visa, you have to file Form I-485 to adjust your status.
But if you are outside the US, you will need to undergo consular processing at a US embassy or consulate, where you will obtain an immigrant visa to travel to the US. Also, if you have family members to bring along, they will also need to obtain a visa through the same consular processing.