What Is an EB-2 Immigrant Visa?
The EB-2 employment based immigrant visa allows foreign nationals holding an advanced degree to obtain permanent residency in the U.S. The foreign national must be:
- A member of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent; or
- Has exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business and will substantially benefit the national economy, cultural, or educational interests or welfare of the U.S.
Who qualifies for an EB-2 immigrant visa?
Foreign nationals can qualify under any of the three categories under the EB-2 employment based immigrant visa:
- EB-2(A) – Advanced Degree. This category is for foreign national professionals with an ‘advanced degree’ (masters degree or higher) and with a job offer from a U.S. company. An ‘advanced degree professional’ is an individual working in a job requiring at least a U.S. masters degree or a U.S. bachelors degree with five years of progressive experience.
- EB-2(B) – Exceptional Ability. This category is for foreign nationals with ‘exceptional ability’ in the sciences, business or arts and with a job offer from a U.S. company.
- EB-2(C) – National Interest Waiver (NIW). This category is for foreign nationals with exceptional ability, or an advanced degree, who can show that their activities will substantially benefit the U.S. national interest.
What are the benefits of applying under this visa category?
- Live permanently in the United States.
- A labor certification is not required. (Only in NIW cases.)
- Work in the U.S.
- Travel freely in and out of the U.S.
- Apply for dependent visas for your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years.
What is a labor certification?
A “labor certification” is a document issued by the U.S. Department of Labor certifying that the employer has failed to find qualified U.S. workers for the job opening after testing the U.S. job market. An employer has to follow very specific recruitment steps before it can file a labor certification application. The application is filed under the online Program Electronic Review Management system (PERM).
The standards used in making labor certification determinations are based on:
- Whether there are sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified and available to fill the position opening;
- Whether the employment of the alien will have an adverse effect on the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed; and
- Whether the employer has met the procedural requirements of the regulations.
How can an attorney help in this process?
The EB-2 visa category is a highly complex, multi-phase process. In the recruitment and labor certification phase, the rules relating to setting job requirements, advertising specifications, and application completion are voluminous and very exacting. The DOL is unforgiving of mistakes. Employers are very restricted in what they can require of potential applicants. An immigration attorney with substantial experience in PERM and I-140 petitions can help avoid the many costly pitfalls and help you sail through the EB-2 process.