The EB-2 Visa is an immigrant visa preference category for United States employment-based permanent residency, created by the Immigration Act of 1990. Like the EB-5 Visa, this type of visa is highly desirable because it can offer a relatively fast-paced route to becoming a legal permanent resident in the United States, or, basically, being a granted a green card. This post is meant for audience members to better understand who might qualify for an EB-2 Visa in the United States, and the process for filing this application, and some of the unpredictabilities that may accrue in the process.
First off, it’s important to know that the EB-2 Visa is not for everyone. As such, here is a brief list of the professions of which individuals have historically been granted this type of visa in America. They include:
- Business managers
- Educators (those with Advanced degrees themselves and are now part of academia)
- Individuals with a bachelor's degree plus five years of progressive work experience in their field.
For those who have other questions about what might constitute “exceptional ability,” it’s a good idea to check on the USCIS website under this Visa Category description. The agency also mentions that a professional must:
“show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, which will greatly benefit the U.S. economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare in the future. Exceptional ability means, “a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.”
Process and Informal Guide
In order to be considered for an EB-2 Visa and after one has met the eligibility requirements, the next thing to do is to go onto the USCIS website, relocate to Forms and find the I-140 Form PDF. Forms can be completed online. It is a good idea to make sure your employer will be filing the I-140, as they will be petitioning on your behalf. The form is 9 pages in length and the filing fee can be paid by your employer as well, but they will need to receive notice about your filing and will need to send the fee to an appropriate USCIS lockbox or pay via credit card. The fee is 700 dollars.
However, there are exceptions to having your employer file, and this is in the case that an applicant is trying to receive a National Interest Waiver (NIW). In the case that an individual wants to receive an NIW, they need to first establish that their employment, “will greatly benefit the United States. In such cases, an individual will also need the following documents:
- Form I-140 (completed by themselves)
- Evidence of their advanced degree (diploma/transcript)
- Letters of recommendation
- Affidavit from leaders in their field
- Evidence of achievements, mentions, and recognition (publications)
Physicians, for example, often qualify for PNIW—Physician National Interest Waiver, especially if they are leaders in a specialized field of medicine and looking to do cutting research that is dependent on them staying in the United States.
At this point, once an EB-2 visa is approved and a visa number is provided to the applicant, the applicant can either file their Form I-485 Adjustment of Status to become an LPR, or if they are abroad, can come to the U.S. at which point they will need an immigrant visa once they reach a port of entry.
The EB-2 green card applicant (and their immediate close family) who are already in the U.S. will be granted a conditional two-year green card upon approval of their I-485.