If you are a foreign national who is seeking entry into the United States, you have likely reviewed a number of potential visa options while searching for the one that best suits your situation. If you possess an advanced degree or can demonstrate exceptional ability in your field of expertise, you may be eligible for an EB-2 visa that can put you on the path to securing a green card and legal permanent residence in the US.
Knowing how to properly approach the visa application process can improve your process. For those seeking an EB-2 visa, be sure to learn all you can before you start your process. Working with a qualified immigration law attorney can lead to a better process as well. So, what is there to learn about EB-2 visas?
Who Is Eligible For An EB-2 Visa?
An EB-2 visa is available for foreign nationals who can demonstrate advanced knowledge or skill in their field of work. Typically, this is proven through the possession of an advanced degree, a certification that is widely acknowledged as demonstrative of skill, or other proof of exceptional ability. Some visas are also granted to those who can prove that the job they will perform is in the national interest of the United States.
The EB-2 Visa Subcategories
All of the above types of applicants may submit a petition for an EB-2; however, the EB-2 visa is broken into a number of categories based upon what kind of evidence you provide or task you intend to perform. This may seem like an unnecessarily complex way to handle visa applications, but it helps to ensure that petitions are reviewed appropriately.
EB-2A: Advanced Degree
If you have an advanced degree (or a foreign equivalent) and can prove that the work that you are coming to do also requires an advanced degree, you may qualify for an EB-2A. An advanced degree is considered a minimum of a master’s degree or a bachelors plus at least five years of increasing experience.
EB-2B: Exceptional Ability
Those who would instead like to prove their high level of skill via documentation of their abilities can do so through an EB-2B for workers of exceptional ability. Those who plan to work in the sciences, arts, or in business must prove that they possess a degree of expertise that exceeds what is typically found in these fields. This may be done in a number of ways, such as through the earning of large grants or awards or by patented contributions to the field.
EB-2C: National Interest Waiver
Workers who do not fit cleanly into the first two categories may be able to apply for an EB-2C if they can prove that the job they are entering the US to perform is for the national benefit of the United States. Applicants for an EB-2C must already have a job offer; most commonly, those fitting into this category include certain types of entrepreneurs and doctors or researchers who agree to work in areas where there is a shortage of professionals.
How To Apply For An EB-2 Visa
The application process for an EB-2 visa can be broken into a series of sections. Those filing for EB-2A or 2B must have their employer file an I-140 on their behalf, and they must also complete an individual labor certification form. Filers for EB-2C national interest waiver positions may file on their own behalf.
Once the I-140 is approved, the later part of the process requires a Form I-485 to be filed. This is what secures the green card for legal permanent residence in the United States.
What Are The Requirements?
Requirements for an EB-2 visa vary depending upon the category. 2A and 2B applicants are not permitted to file on their own behalf; their employer must do so for them. Similarly, applicants in any category must be able to demonstrate a sufficient level of skill, whether that is through advanced degrees exceptional ability, or the ability to fulfill nation-critical positions in the United States. Without sufficient proof, the petition is likely to be denied.
The Processing Timeline
Processing of an EB-2 can vary widely in its time frame, from approximately a year or less, to more than five years. This depends upon a number of factors, such as in which country you were born and how many applicants are ahead of you in your category. The government only offers a determined number of visas each year.
Benefits Of Hiring An Employment Law Attorney
An employment law attorney or immigration lawyer can make the process of applying for an EB-2 visa much more simple. Because most applicants must rely on their employer to file on their behalf, having a skilled middleman to liaise between the applicant, the employer and USCIS can be invaluable. Experienced lawyers can ensure that you compile a comprehensive petition that provides all the necessary evidence and can guide your employer through their part of the process.
Reach Out To An Experienced Immigration Law Firm
If you’re searching for information or starting your EB-2 visa process, consider working with a qualified immigration attorney. The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge, PLLC would be happy to assist you in pursuing an EB-2 visa. Reach out to speak with a skilled immigration attorney to discuss your situation. You can contact us by phone at (703) 273-5500 or by requesting a consultation online.