The EB-2 Green Card is one of the most desired visas and is reserved to applicants holding an advanced degree or its equivalent, or with exceptional ability in the science, arts, or business.
This category may include but is not limited to: architects, doctors, engineers, physicians, surgeons, lawyers and teachers of primary, secondary school or College.
An advanced degree is considered at least a Master's degree or, in some professions, a Bachelor's degree plus a minimum of five years' work experience.
Exceptional ability means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in science, arts, or business.
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you must meet at least three of the following criteria:
- Official academic record of a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a College, University, school, or other institution of learning relating to your area of exceptional ability;
- Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation;
- Possession of a professional license related to a particular area of exception ability;
- Evidence of the receipt of a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability;
- Membership in professional associations;
- Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations.
Applicants must have a permanent job offer from a U.S. employer who will act as the applicant's sponsor. The employer must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. There is a certification process to protect workers in the United States and the U.S. labor market by ensuring that foreign workers do not take job opportunities from them.
There are three types of EB-2 classifications:
- EB2-A – for professionals holding a master's, doctoral or professional degree and with a job offer from a U.S. company;
- EB2-B - for people with distinction or exceptional ability in the science, business or art, and with a job offer from a U.S. company;
- EB2-C or EB2-NIW (National Interest Waiver) granted to individuals with exceptional ability and whose employment will be in the interest of the United States.
Individuals seeking a National Interest Waiver are allowed to self-petition and they do not need an employer or a Labor Certification issued by the Department of Labor (DOL).
A National Interest Waiver is usually used to facvilitate the legal entry of researchers and practitioners who have not a job offer from a U.S. employer. The EB2-NIW is a very desirable option for Ph.D. students, scholars, researchers, and other advanced degree professionals and is also addressed to doctors who wish to work in certain under-served areas. Also, entrepreneurs that are either members of the professions, or have exceptional abilities, may qualify for a National Interest Waiver and self-petition for permanent residence.
The USCIS considers the following as evidence of "National Interest" of the United States:
- Improvement of the U.S. economy;
- Improvement of wages, working conditions of U.S. workers, education and training for children and under-qualified U.S. workers;
- Improvement of health care;
- providing affordable housing to young and old Americans in poverty
- improve the environment and make a more productive use of natural resources ;
- improve the international cultural understanding.
The USCIS does not offer the 15-day premium processing and reviews very carefully EB2-NIW petitions. The assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer is crucial for a successful outcome of your petition.
The spouse and children under the age of 18 of an EB-2 visa holder may be admitted in the United States in the E-21 and E-22 immigrant status, respectively. They may apply for permanent resident status (Green Card). The children are entitled to attend any public or private school in the U.S. and the spouse is eligible to file for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).