July 2nd, 2012 by Abby Keane
Employment-Based Immigration: Second Preference EB2
Permanent residency in the United States may be obtained by one of five ways. Permanent residents have “Green Cards” as proof of their status and this allows them to live, work and study in the U.S. permanently. They can also travel in and out of the U.S. without restrictions. One of the ways that one can obtain an EB2 Green Card is through employment in the United States.
Every year, the United States makes about 140,000 immigrant visas available for foreign nationals and their spouses and children who seek to immigrate based on their job skills. With the right combination of skills, education, and/or work experience and are otherwise eligible, then they can apply for one of these employment-based (EB) visas. There are five (5) EB subcategories, called “preferences.” These preferences are:
- EB1, Priority Workers (including people of extraordinary ability, outstanding researchers and professors, and multinational executives and managers);
- EB2, Individuals Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability;
- EB3, Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other workers;
- EB4, Special Immigrants;
- EB5, Employment Creation: Reserved for Investors.
Employment-Based Immigration: Second Preference EB2 Green Card
A foreign national may be eligible for an employment-based, second preference visa if they are a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent, or a foreign national who has exceptional ability. A job offer and a labor certification are generally required in order to apply for an EB2 visa. This requirement can be waived if the foreign national demonstrates that granting an EB2 visa to that foreign national would be in the national interest of the United States.
Eligibility Requirement for EB2 Green Card Applicants
1) The job a foreign national applies for must requires an advanced degree. An advanced degree is defined as a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in the field. Documentation, such as an official academic record showing that a foreign national has a U.S. advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree, or an official academic record showing that they have a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree and letters from current or former employers showing that they have at least 5 years of progressive post-baccalaureate work experience in the specialty; OR
2) The foreign national is able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability “means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.” A foreign national must meet at least three of the criteria below in order to demonstrate exceptional ability.
Criteria for EB2 Green Card Applicants
- Official academic record showing that a foreign national has a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to their area of exceptional ability
- Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in their occupation
- A license to practice their profession or certification for their profession or occupation
- Evidence that a foreign national commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates their exceptional ability
- Membership in a professional association(s)
- Recognition for their achievements and significant contributions to their industry or field by their peers, government entities, professional or business organizations
Application Process for Obtaining an EB2 Green Card
Acquiring a Green Card through the EB-2 visa category is a two-step self-petitioning process, as seen in the graphic below. To qualify for an EB2 green card (visa), the employer must first file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. Second, once an EB2 green card (visa) is approved and a number is provided to the applicant, the applicant must either file Form I-485 to adjust status to lawful permanent resident, or apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy outside of the United States. The EB2 green card applicant (and he or her derivative family members) are granted conditional permanent resident Green Cards for a two year period upon the approval of the I-485 application or upon entry into the United States with an EB2 green card (immigrant visa).
Family of EB2 Green Card Holders
An EB2 green card holder’s spouse and children under the age of 18 may be admitted to the United States in E-21 and E-22 immigrant status, respectively. During the process when the EB-2 visa holder and their spouse are applying for permanent resident status, the spouse is eligible to file for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).