Employment Based (EB) visas afford the opportunity for foreign national professionals to apply for permanent residency, work in the United States, and offers a path to U.S. citizenship. There are 5 preference categories under the EB classification. One such category is the EB-2 preference category.
Qualifying the Foreign National for the EB-2 Visa
There are two ways to qualify for the EB-2. The first is by holding an advanced degree such as a Ph.D., a Juris Doctor, or a Master’s degree. A foreign national can also qualify as having an advanced degree by possessing a Bachelor’s degree and at least 5 years of post-baccalaureate professional experience. Possessing a Bachelor’s degree and at least 5 years of post-baccalaureate professional experience is considered equivalent to a Master’s degree for EB-2 qualification purposes.
The second method of qualifying for the EB-2 visa is by possessing exceptional ability in their professional field. Under this option, the foreign national must demonstrate an exceptional ability in the arts, business, or sciences. The applicant generally must possess at least three of the following criteria:
- Official academic records showing that you have received 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 from current or former employers demonstrating at minimum 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation;
- A license to practice your profession or certification for your profession or occupation;
- Evidence that your salary or other remuneration for services reflects your exceptional ability;
- Proof of membership in a professional association(s);
- Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations;
- Similar evidence of eligibility is also acceptable, such as letters from other professionals who have relied on the individual’s work.
The Petitioning Employer generally must obtain a Permanent Labor Certification and demonstrate the ability to pay the prevailing wage for the position. There are 2 categories of labor certifications.
The first is the General Permanent Labor Certification. This requires that the Employer apply for a Permanent Labor Certification from the Department of Labor.
The second is the Schedule A Blanket Labor Certification. This certification covers professionals with demonstrated exceptional ability.
Alternative to Labor Certification
There is one alternative to the Labor Certification. The National Interest Waiver makes the job offer and labor certification requirement obsolete. The Foreign National can petition for themself to be admitted for permanent residency. However, it must be in the national interest to do so.
“In the national interest” is not statutorily defined, but United States Customs and Immigration Services uses three factors to determine if the individual qualifies for the National Interest Waiver.
1) The individual’s work must be of substantial merit and national significance;
2) The individual must be able to do the work that is of national interest to the United States; and
3) It must benefit the United States to waive the job offer and labor certification requirements.
Contact us to see if you may qualify for the EB-2 or another visa.