As you know, if a company is looking to hire foreign workers for its business, you should know that every year the United States allows a fixed number of green cards for foreign workers who are needed by U.S. businesses to fill vacancies under this visa category. This process is complex and riddled with particularities, so today we’re here to discuss this powerful immigration option for people with exceptional ability or advanced degrees so you can obtain a U.S. green card (permanent residence) based on having a job offer from a U.S. company. So in this video, we will talk about the EB-2 category for employment-based green cards.
The EB-2 category is the second preference of the U.S. employment-based immigrant visas. Through this category, you can be granted permanent residency and can live and work in the U.S. The EB-2 category has 3 subcategories, which are as follows:
⦁ EB-2A Visa – Advanced Degree
⦁ EB-2B Visa – Exceptional Ability
⦁ EB-2C Visa – National Interest Waiver
Though each of these three categories has its own specific requirements, they all require expertise in associated fields.
Who is eligible for the EB-2 visa?
You can apply for the EB-2 visa if you have exceptional ability or an advanced degree in a profession. The basic eligibility criteria are different for the 3 subcategories.
1. Advanced Degree – Foreign workers with a degree beyond a U.S. bachelor’s degree, such as a bachelor’s degree plus 5 years of work experience in the field, Master’s or Doctorate degree, or its foreign equivalent. The U.S. Department of Labor must approve workers in the Labor’s Foreign Labor Certification Process.
2. Exceptional Ability – Foreign workers who have a degree and hold significant competence in one of the following areas: art, business, or science. The U.S. Department of Labor must approve workers in the Labor’s Foreign Labor Certification Process.
3. National Interest Waiver – 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. Unlike the other EB-2 green card categories, these workers do not need an employer sponsor and my self-petition for an EB-2 visa.
Other EB-2 Requirements:
Immigrants seeking an EB-2 green card under the Exceptional Ability subcategory of the National Interest Waiver categories must additionally meet at least three of the following requirements:
⦁ The 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 indicates that the person has exceptional ability in the field.
⦁ Be a member of related professional associations.
⦁ Peer or government recognition of achievements in the field.
⦁ Any other comparable evidence of exceptional ability.
To successfully receive an EB-2 green card, applicants and their employers must follow a three-step process. The first step is for the employer who wishes to hire a foreign worker to file with the US Department of Labor for Permanent Labor Certification using the Program Electronic Management Review (PERM) System.
This requires the employer to certify that a job opening is available in a specified professional field, that the job is also available to U.S. workers, that a foreign worker is needed, and that the pay for the job is at a prevailing industry rate.
Your employer will need to undergo an extensive recruiting process to ensure no qualified American workers are available to take the position. Going through this process correctly is key, as raising suspicion may trigger an audit from the Department of Labor, which could delay your processing time for up to a year and a half.
If all requirements are met, the Department of Labor will issue a PERM certification, which is necessary to proceed to the next step. Please note that EB-2 green card applicants seeking a National Interest Waiver (NIW) may skip this first step.
After the PERM certification is received, the employer wishing to sponsor a foreign worker for an EB-2 green card must complete and file form I-140. After the petition is received and approved, the applicant must wait for his or her EB-2 priority date to be eligible to proceed to the next step. The priority date depends on when the application is received by USCIS.
How Long Will the Total Process Take?
The total processing time varies tremendously depending on your country of origin and the service center that processes your I-140. On average, however, the petition takes over six months to process.
If you are required to get a PERM Labor Certification, that could take over a year. To ensure the best chance to avoid triggering an audit, work alongside an immigration attorney.
If over six months is too long to wait for your I-140, you may want to consider opting for the premium processing service. This optional feature is offered by the USCIS and shortens your petition processing time from over six months to 15 calendar days for a fee of $2,500.
Once your petition is approved, you will need to wait until your priority date is current. For most countries, the date will be current as soon as the petition is approved. However, the dates may not be current for several years for nationals of India and China due to the large backlog. The only way to expedite this process is to port your green card petition from EB-2 to EB-1, which is no easy task. But don’t worry, I talk about this is another video.
After your priority date is current, you can submit your I-485 if you are inside the U.S.
How to Prepare for Your EB-2 Green Card Interview
If you are outside of the U.S., you will be required to undergo an interview. It is essential to prepare for the interview before the actual date. The following must be done before the interview date:
1. A Medical Examination and Vaccination
A medical examination is mandatory for all U.S. visa applications to prove that the applicant is healthy enough to enter the U.S. Proof of vaccinations for certain illnesses is mandatory as well. A licensed doctor should do the medical examination. You’ll get all information about where to do your examination and the necessary vaccinations from the National Visa Center (NVC).
You can contact the embassy or the USCIS on how to locate an authorized physician nearest to you. After the exam, the doctor may give you an envelope containing the exam results or send it directly to the embassy. If the envelope is given to you, do not open it, you must bring it to the interview sealed, or mail it to USCIS if you are applying within the U.S.
2. Gather the Required Documents
You will need to be sure that you have all the required documents and that they correspond with the answers you’ve entered into your petition and every other form you have submitted. Also, if you’ve changed your address since you began the process or changed your marital status, you will need to notify the immigration office.
Guidelines and the required documents may vary among different embassies. It is essential to review the instruction page of the embassy you are applying through to be sure of the specific items required of you. For example, many embassies do not allow visa applicants to bring cell phones to the interview.
EB-2 Visa Interview
The embassy of the immigration office in charge of your case will notify you when and where to appear for your EB-2 visa interview. It is important to prepare for the interview by gathering all the necessary documents ahead of time.
During the interview, an officer will typically ask you questions about your qualifications, job history, background, and other details relating to your application. Your answers must align with the information you submitted in your application forms. If you’re filing for family members, they too must attend the interview if within the age range of 14 to 79.
After your Interview
The embassy/consulate will either approve or deny your immigrant visa application. If approved, the embassy will stamp your passport with the EB-2 visa stamp. If denied, you can reapply at a later.
As I promised, here’s some bonus information that you may not know about:
As the interview begins, the officer will go through your file and begin to ask you questions about your documents and forms. This is to ensure that your answers match the information on your application.
The questions are asked on a case-by-case basis and will mostly be about your biographic information, your job, your qualifications, or your employer. Some of the usual EB-2 visa questions you can expect include:
⦁ The organization you are going to work for
⦁ Your qualification, training, and past job experience in your career
⦁ Whether you are still going to have the same job, salary, and roles as mentioned in your I-140 or if there have been any changes
⦁ Your admissibilities, such as previous arrest, conviction, immigration violations, or misrepresentations
I hope you found this video helpful. Subscribe if this content or information helps you in any way, comment below if you want me to talk about something in specific, and share this resource because you never know who needs answers to these questions. Additionally, if you have any specific questions about this video as they pertain to your unique circumstances, please schedule a consultation with us at the link below. I’ll see you in the next video.