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In this article you have extensive information about the second preference category of the EB-2 visa and its three subcategories. 

This visa to the United States is one of the ways to obtain a Green Card through employment and become a permanent resident in the USA. Our renowned Los Angeles immigration lawyers are ready to help you through this process. Call our firm today for a personalized consultation about your case.

EB-2 visa subcategories

  1. Holders of an advanced degree.
  2. Candidates with exceptional ability. This is granted to candidates with exceptional ability without reaching the “extraordinary” level required by the EB-1 visa.
  3. Individuals who are going to do a job in the USA of national interest and that will bring good benefits to the country.

EB-2 visa eligibility requirements

Advanced degreeThe work to be done requires an advanced degree or the foreign equivalent (a baccalaureate or foreign equivalent degree plus 5 years of progressive post-baccalaureate work experience in the field). You must meet any other requirements specified in the labor certification, as applicable.Documentation, such as official academic records showing that the candidate holds a US advanced graduate degree or an equivalent foreign degree. Failing that, official academic records that demonstrate possession of a US baccalaureate degree, or the foreign equivalent. Also letters from former employers or from the current employer showing that the candidate has at least five years of progressive work experience in the specialty after receiving the baccalaureate.

If a doctoral degree is customarily required, the candidate must have a doctorate obtained in USA or an equivalent foreign degree.
Exceptional abilityThe candidate must be able to demonstrate some exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business. That is, a remarkable ability above the usual. You must also comply with the requirements that apply and are specified in the labor certification.At least 3 of the criteria included in “Criteria for Exceptional ability” must be met.
National interest waiverAlien candidates are hereby requesting that the labor certification be waived in the interest of the United States. Qualifying jobs are not defined by statute but are normally awarded to people with professions that require advanced graduate degrees or exceptional skills whose employment in the US benefits the country. These people do not need their employer to sponsor them. They can submit the petition themselves on their behalf to USCIS by filing their labor certification along with Form I-140.Evidence of and advanced degree or exceptional ability must be provided and 3 of the national interest waiver criteria must be met. The latter is done so that USCIS exempts you from a job offer and labor certification as it is in the national interest. 

Criteria for exceptional ability

  • Official academic records that prove to be the holder of a title, certificate, diploma, award or similar awarded by an institution. This institution may be a university, school, or other educational institution related to your field of exceptional ability.
  • Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in the profession.
  • A license or certificate that allows the candidate to practice his profession or occupation.
  • True evidence of having received a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrate exceptional ability.
  • Being a member of one or more professional associations.
  • Recognition by fellow professionals, government entities, professional or business organizations for remarkable contributions or achievements in their industry or field.
  • Other comparable samples of eligibility will also be accepted.

Criteria for waiver by national interest

  • The proposed job, in turn, has national importance and substantial merit. 
  • The candidate is well positioned to advance the proposed work; and
  • It would be in benefit of the US to exempt the candidate from the requirements of a job offer, therefore, from labor certification.

Note: Employment-based second preference EB-2 visa petitions generally must be accompanied by an application for PERM labor certification. This must be approved by the Department of Labor on form ETA 9089. However, the candidate may request exemption from this requirement in case of national interest.

With respect to aliens with exceptional ability who demonstrate international recognition or certain nurse practitioners and physical therapists, the employer may file the petition with USCIS with an uncertified ETA 9089 as Schedule A. For more information, visit Volume 6, Part E, Chapter 7 of the USCIS Policy Manual.

Process for Filing Form I-140

To qualify for an EB-2 visa the employer must:

  1. Review the instructions on the form;
  2. Complete, sign, and submit Form I-140;
  3. Pay the filing fee if applicable;
  4. You must also show ability to pay the offered salary as of the priority date. For this you can use an annual report, tax returns or an audited financial statement.
worker under eb-2 preference category

Can relatives of the EB-2 visa holder enter the USA?

If the I-140 form is approved, the spouse and children under the age of 21 may be eligible to enter the US under the E-21 and E-22 categories, respectively.

How long does it take to process the EB-2 visa?

On average, processing the I-140 form for EB-2 takes approximately 6 months. If the US government requires you to go through the PERM labor certification process, it may take longer, in some cases up to 2 years. 

The good news is that the EB-2 visa process can be expedited in approximately 15 days by submitting Form I-907, premium processing application, to USCIS.

What happens after the EB-2 is approved?

Once USCIS approves the petition, the alien employee must wait until their priority date is up to date and they can adjust status to become a lawful permanent resident.

This process can be done by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status if you are in the US. If you are outside the US, you can do so through consular processing at a consulate or American embassy.

How much does an EB-2 visa cost?

To apply for the EB-2 visa, you must submit the I-140 petition which has a fee of $700, in addition, you may have to pay a biometric fee of $85. Other costs include:

  • I-485 filing fee ranges from $750 to $1,140.
  • DS-260 filing fee is $230.
  • Affidavit of sponsorship has a cost of $88.

Note that:

  • When applying for this visa, the employer is responsible for paying the fees. Both USCIS, DOL and the US embassy will determine the final cost. 
  • The employer must pay the DOL labor certification fee and the USCIS Form I-140 filing fee.
  • The alien employee, for their part, must pay the fees for medical examinations and other costs incurred in obtaining supporting documents and translation into English.

Immigration lawyers to process the EB-2 visa

The law firm of Lluis Law is committed to working with all of our clients to achieve their immigration goals and dreams, whether for EB-2 or any other US procedure. We have over 50 years of combined experience in this type of process.

Applying for the EB-2 National Interest Waiver visa can provide a great opportunity for foreign nationals to live and work legally in the U.S. Plus, over time, you may become eligible for U.S. citizenship by naturalization.

Is key to follow the process correctly and be informed at the same time. To do this, do not hesitate to contact our lawyers specialized in all US immigration matters.