How to Apply for the EB-2 Visa
1. Introduction to the EB-2 Visa
The Employment-Based Second Preference Visa, known as the EB-2 Visa, caters to individuals with advanced degrees, exceptional abilities, or those qualifying for a National Interest Waiver (NIW). This guide outlines the steps to successfully apply for an EB-2 Visa.
2. Understanding the EB-2 Visa Categories
2.1 EB-2(A) – Advanced Degree Professionals
This category is for professionals with advanced degrees or their foreign equivalent, showcasing expertise in their field.
2.2 EB-2(B) – Individuals with Exceptional Ability
Individuals with exceptional ability in sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics can apply under this category.
2.3 EB-2(C) – National Interest Waiver (NIW)
3. Qualification Criteria for Each Category
3.1 EB-2(A) Criteria
Applicants must possess an advanced degree or equivalent, and their work must significantly contribute to their field.
3.2 EB-2(B) Criteria
Individuals must demonstrate exceptional ability through sustained recognition, achievements, and significant contributions in their respective fields.
3.3 EB-2(C) Criteria
NIW applicants must demonstrate that their work benefits the United States significantly and is in the national interest.
4. Labor Certification and Job Offer
For EB-2(A) and EB-2(B) categories, a labor certification and a permanent job offer are usually required unless the applicant qualifies for a National Interest Waiver (EB-2(C)).
5. Form I-140: Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker
File Form I-140 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), providing details about the job offer, labor certification (if applicable), and the applicant’s qualifications.
6. Priority Dates and Visa Bulletin
Monitor priority dates, as they determine when applicants can move forward in the immigration process. The Visa Bulletin provides information on visa availability.
7. Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status
After USCIS approves the Form I-140, applicants can choose either consular processing (if outside the U.S.) or adjustment of status (if in the U.S.) to complete the immigration process.
8. Employment Authorization for Spouses
Spouses of EB-2 Visa holders are eligible for employment authorization in the U.S., allowing them to work during the validity of the visa.
9. Maintaining Status and Potential Challenges
Maintaining status involves adhering to the terms of the visa and avoiding actions that could jeopardize it. Potential challenges, such as changes in employment, should be addressed with legal guidance.
10. Success Stories of EB-2 Visa Holders
Sharing success stories of individuals who have obtained EB-2 visas and made significant contributions in their fields can inspire and provide guidance for prospective applicants.
11. FAQs About Applying for the EB-2 Visa
11.1 Can I self-petition for an EB-2 visa?
Generally, no. Most EB-2 applicants require employer sponsorship. However, certain individuals with exceptional abilities may qualify for self-petitioning.
11.2 What is the difference between EB-2(A) and EB-2(B)?
EB-2(A) is for professionals with advanced degrees, while EB-2(B) is for individuals with exceptional ability in specific fields.
11.3 How does the National Interest Waiver (NIW) work?
The NIW allows qualified individuals to bypass the labor certification process by demonstrating that their work is in the national interest of the United States.
11.4 Is there an annual cap on EB-2 visas?
While there is no specific annual cap for EB-2 visas, applicants should monitor priority dates, as they may be affected by visa availability.
11.5 Can I change employers during the EB-2 process?
Changing employers during the EB-2 process is possible, but it requires filing a new Form I-140 petition.