How To Get an EB-2 Green Card (Advanced Degree or Exceptional Ability)

Todd Eric Gallinger

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Immigration Attorney

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Posted almost 4 years ago. 1 helpful vote



How To Get an EB-2 Green Card

The second preference category of employment-based immigration is members of a profession holding advanced degrees or their equivalent and for aliens who because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business will substantially benefit the national economy, cultural, or educational interests or welfare of the United States. All petitions filed in the EB-2 category require a permanent, full-time job offer and a labor certification, there are no exceptions. Each year the second preference is allotted about 40,000 visas, plus any that remain from the preference category. Because the EB-2 visa is not backlogged for most countries, it is a very desirable green card to apply for, if one qualifies.


Who is considered a member of a profession with an advanced degree by the USCIS?

The USCIS considers aliens with a degree higher than or bachelors degree (i.e. masters and up) or an alien with a bachelors degree and five years of progressive work experience in the relevant field to qualify. But if the job requires a PhD or other doctorate, then the individual cannot qualify with any amount of work experience, they must have the doctoral degree.


Who is considered to have exception ability by the USCIS?

The USCIS considers an alien to have exception ability in the sciences, art, or business if they have a level of expertise not ordinarily seen in the field. This can be demonstrated by the applicant possessing any three of the following: Degree in the related field Evidence of at least 10 years of experience A professional license (law, medical, etc.) Proof of a higher than average salary in the field Membership in professional organizations Awards or recognition for achievements If the applicant cannot demonstrate at least three of the above, they are able to apply using comparable proof. This could include an endorsement for experts in the field, publications made, or other evidence that the alien might have.


Application Procedures in the EB-2 category:

A Form I-140 (Petition for Alien Worker) must be filed with the USCIS Regional Service Center that serves the area of intended employment. Before the Form I-140 can be filed with the USCIS in the EB-2 category, the alien must first obtain a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. A labor certification is a test of the U.S. labor market to determine whether qualified U.S. workers are available and willing to fill the job in question. The alien does not have to be employed when labor certification is filed. A job offer is sufficient. Please see the section entitled Labor Certification for more information.


Application Procedures in the EB-2 category:

Upon approval of a labor certification application, the alien may file the Form I-140 (also called the Immigrant Visa Petition) with USCIS. The Immigrant Visa Petition packet must be accompanied by evidence that the Petitioner has the ability to pay the proffered salary from the time the labor certification was filed until present and evidence that the alien meets the minimum requirements for the job opportunity. Once the I-140 immigrant visa petition is approved, the alien and his/her spouse and children under 21 years of age may apply for their immigrant visas either through adjustment of status in the United States or through consular processing at a U.S. Consulate outside of the United States.

Additional Resources

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

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Immigrant visas

Immigrant visas can lead to permanent residence in the US, but they require being sponsored by either a family member or employer.

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