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EB-2 Visas

The second employment-based preference category (EB-2) permits foreign nationals with advanced degrees and foreign nationals of exceptional ability whose work is in the national interest to apply for permanent resident status. There are 40,000 visas available in this category annually, along with any unused visas from the EB-1 category.

  • Requirements

    For EB-2 classification, an immigrant petition (Form I-140) is filed with the appropriate U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) service center, along with a labor certification, or a request for precertification pursuant to Schedule A or a request for a national interest waiver. The Miscellaneous and Technical Immigration and Naturalization Amendments of 1991 exempt people with advanced degrees and those of exceptional ability from the labor certification requirement if their immigration is in the “national interest.” To apply for the national-interest waiver, an uncertified Form ETA-750B or Form ETA-9089 must be submitted in duplicate, as well as evidence that the waiver would be in the national interest.

  • Professionals with Advanced Degrees

    The regulations require those seeking classification as professionals with advanced degrees to have a degree above a bachelor’s or, in the alternative, a bachelor’s degree plus five years of “progressive” post baccalaureate work experience in a profession.

  • Exceptional Ability

    Exceptional-ability applicants must have an offer of employment and must be granted a labor certification. Alternatively, one may file an immigrant petition (Form I-140) with USCIS requesting a waiver of the labor certification by showing the applicant’s admission is in the national interest. The regulations require exceptional-ability applicants to present evidence of meeting three of six criteria (or that these criteria are inappropriate). The six criteria are:

    • An official academic record showing that the alien has a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to the area of exceptional ability;
    • Evidence in the form of letter(s) from current or former employer(s) showing that the alien has at least ten years of full-time experience in the occupation for which he or she is being sought;
    • A license to practice the profession or certification for a particular profession or occupation;
    • Evidence that the alien has commanded a salary, or other remuneration for services, which demonstrates exceptional ability;
    • Evidence of membership in professional associations; or
    • Evidence of recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by peers, governmental entities, or professional or business organizations. In addition to proving these criteria, testimony from prominent experts about the applicant is important for showing exceptional ability.

    In addition to proving these criteria, testimony from prominent experts about the applicant is important for showing exceptional ability.

  • Using Schedule A Precertification

    Professional nurses, physical therapists, and foreign nationals who are of “exceptional ability in the sciences or arts” may quality for preference sponsorship without a test of the labor market, i.e., a labor certification. The criteria for doing so are given on Schedule A in the DOL regulations.

  • National-Interest Waiver

    Both professionals with advanced degrees and people of exceptional ability may seek waivers of the job offer requirement – and thus, what amounts to a waiver of the labor certification requirement as well – if their immigration is deemed in the “national interest.”

    National-interest waiver applicants’ work histories, achievements, and contributions to their fields are usually unique. We will work with you to identify the evidence available to prove the case. Here are some suggestions for evidence to help to prove that a foreign national qualifies for a national interest waiver:

    • Endorsement letters from industry leaders
    • Endorsement letters from officials of government agencies such as the Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
    • Endorsement letters from professional trade associations
    • Endorsement letters from professors
    • The foreign national’s publications
    • The foreign national’s patents
    • Articles about the foreign national in major publications and other major media coverage
    • Lists of speaking engagements and conference presentations