The EB2 Visa (greencard program) is designed for companies interested in hiring foreign workers for their business. It is limited, however, to highly-skilled, foreign workers with exceptional ability or advanced degrees.
Categories of EB-2 Visa
The EB-2 visa is split into three categories:
- EB-2(a): Foreign workers who have a degree beyond a U.S. bachelor’s degree (Master’s or Doctorate) or its foreign equivalent, or a bachelor’s degree and at least 5 years of work experience in the field.
- EB2(b): Foreign workers who have a specialized degree and hold a significant competence in either art, business, or science.
- EB2(c): Foreign workers seeking to have the Foreign Labor Certification Process waived because it is in the national interest of the United States to do so.
Requirements for Applicants with Advanced Degrees
This application is dependent upon a job offer by a US employer in need of an employee with an advanced degree. As such, the employer must go through the Foreign Labor Certification process with the US Department of Labor. The application must include evidence that foreign employee has an American advanced degree or a foreign equivalent. If the individual has only a baccalaureate degree, the petition must also include letters from current or former employers stating that the employees has at least 5 years of post-baccalaureate experience in their area of specialty.
<H2>Requirements for Applicants with Exceptional Ability or National Interest Waiver</h2>
Individuals seeking an EB-2 visa under subsection (b) (“Exceptional Ability”) must hold a specialized degree and hold significant competence in either art, business, or science. This category of visa also begins with a labor certification through the US Department of Labor.
The National Interest Waiver (NIW) is similar to the Exceptional Ability application, except that it does not require certification from the US Department of Labor. It applies to individuals with exceptional ability in the arts, science, or business or individuals with advanced degrees. The idea is that the individual’s ability and potential contribution to the United State is of such national importance that it does not require a job offer. Cutting out the labor certification can take years off of the application process. Also, it keeps the applicant from being tied to an employer. It also does not prevent the applicant from making other visa applications while applying for the NIW.
Applicants for an EB-2 green card under EB-2(b) Exceptional Ability or EB-2(c) National Interest Waiver most provide documentation from three of the following areas:
- Official academic record of a degree relating to the field of exceptional ability.
- Documentation of at least 10 years of work experience in the field.
- Professional license or certification
- A salary that indicates the person has exceptional ability in the field.
- Be a member of related professional associations.
- Peer, government, professional or business organization recognition of achievements in the field.
- Any other comparable evidence of exceptional ability.
The USCIG may accept comparable evidence for eligibility.
Process for Applying for EB-2 Visa
The process for applying for applying for the EB-2 visa requires multiple steps involving the applicant and the employer (if a non-NIW application).
First, the employer must undertake the Permanent Labor Certification process with the US Department of Labor. This is done through the Program Electronic Management Review (PERM) System. The employer must certify that the job posting is open and available to a qualifying type of industry professional, the job is also available to US workers, the employer is unable to fill the position and must look to a foreign worker, and the pay for the position as at the industry prevailing rate. The DoL requires the worker to undertake recruiting in the US to determine if there are qualified US workers who could fill the job. Trying to cheat in this manner can cause an audit by the DoL. If the DoL grants the labor certification request, it will issue a PERM form.
The employer must then file form I-140 — the EB-2 Visa petition. This begins the waiting period. The next step can only begin once the EB-2 applicant reaches her priority date. The priority date is established by the applicants country on the time of filing of the I-140 application. Some countries have an immediate priority date once the EB-2 application is filed. Other countries have multi-year waits for their priority date. This is the case in countries such as China and India.
The final step occurs when the priority date is reached. The applicant, if outside of the US, will be interviewed at a US Consulate in her country. If the applicant is already in the country on a different visa, the applicant can simply file and Adjustment of Status Form (I-485). During the interview process, a consular officer will ask question bout the employer, occupation, and prospective move the US. If the officer clears the applicant, you will receive a stamp on your passport that allows you to travel to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. Applicants already in the US will go to a USCIS Application Support Center for security processing. In some cases, this process may involve an interview.
How Long Does the Entire Process Take?
The total process is very long. The labor certification process alone takes from 8 months to two years.
Once these PERM Labor Certification is issued, the employer files the I-140. The USCIS center generally takes about 6 months (depending on the country of origin) to process the I-140, unless the employer pays $1,225 to shorten the processing time to 15 days.
Once the petition is approved, the employee must wait for her priority date. This can be immediate or take several years. Once current, the employee will submit the I-485, which takes about 6 months (depending on the USCIS service center) to process.
As you can see, the EB-2 application process is long and demanding. Let a immigration attorney at LawTrades provide you the advice and services you need to effectively navigate this process.