What is the EB-2 Visa? Step-by-Step Guide
The EB-2 Visa, part of the Employment-Based Second Preference category, is a pathway for foreign nationals with advanced degrees, exceptional abilities, or those contributing significantly to the national interest to obtain permanent residency in the United States. Here’s a comprehensive step-by-step guide to understanding and navigating the EB-2 Visa process.
1. Introduction to EB-2 Visa
The EB-2 Visa is designed for individuals with specific qualifications, including advanced degrees, exceptional abilities, or those whose work significantly benefits the United States.
2. Categories of EB-2 Visas
2.1 EB-2A Visa (Individuals with Exceptional Ability)
This category is for individuals with exceptional abilities in their field, such as the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.
2.2 EB-2B Visa (Advanced Degree Professionals)
For professionals with advanced degrees (master’s degree or higher) or equivalent qualifications, relevant to their field of employment.
2.3 National Interest Waiver (NIW)
A unique category allowing individuals to bypass the labor certification process by demonstrating their work is of national interest to the United States.
3. Qualification Criteria for Each Category
3.1 EB-2A Criteria
Criteria for EB-2A include providing evidence of sustained national or international acclaim, recognition of achievements, and significant contributions to the field.
3.2 EB-2B Criteria
EB-2B applicants must possess an advanced degree or its equivalent and demonstrate that their employment requires such qualifications.
3.3 National Interest Waiver Criteria
Applicants for the National Interest Waiver must prove that their work is of substantial intrinsic merit and national importance, benefiting the United States.
4. Application Process
4.1 Labor Certification and Job Offer
For EB-2A and EB-2B, a labor certification and a job offer from a U.S. employer are required. This involves demonstrating the unavailability of qualified U.S. workers for the position.
4.2 Form I-140: Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker
The application process begins with the submission of Form I-140, the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, filed by the sponsoring employer or the applicant in some cases.
4.3 National Interest Waiver Application Process
For the National Interest Waiver, applicants can directly file Form I-140 without the need for a labor certification. They must demonstrate the national importance of their work.
5. Supporting Documents
A comprehensive set of supporting documents is crucial for each category, including evidence of exceptional abilities, advanced degrees, and the national interest for the waiver category.
6. Priority Dates and Visa Bulletin
The availability of immigrant visas is subject to annual numerical limits. Applicants should monitor priority dates and the Visa Bulletin to understand when they can proceed with the next steps.
7. Benefits of EB-2 Visa
Benefits include the opportunity for a faster green card process, the ability to include qualifying family members, and the potential for a National Interest Waiver.
8. Challenges and How to Overcome Them
Challenges may include meeting specific criteria and providing substantial documentation. Legal guidance and thorough preparation can help overcome these challenges.
9. Success Stories
Exploring success stories of individuals who have obtained EB-2 Visas can provide inspiration and insights into the possibilities that come with advanced degrees, exceptional abilities, or contributions to national interest.
10. FAQs About EB-2 Visa
10.1 Can I apply for an EB-2 Visa without a job offer?
No, except for the National Interest Waiver category, both EB-2A and EB-2B require a job offer from a U.S. employer.
10.2 How long does it take to get an EB-2 Visa?
Processing times vary, and it depends on factors such as the category, country of origin, and demand for visas.
10.3 What is the difference between EB-2A and EB-2B?
EB-2A is for individuals with exceptional abilities, while EB-2B is for those with advanced degrees or their equivalent.
10.4 What is the National Interest Waiver, and who qualifies for it?
The National Interest Waiver allows individuals to bypass the labor certification process if they can demonstrate their work is of national interest to the U.S.
10.5 Can family members accompany EB-2 Visa holders?
Yes, qualifying family members, including spouses and unmarried children under 21, can be included in the application.