EB-2 is an immigrant visa preference category for United States employment-based permanent residency, created by the Immigration Act of 1990. The category includes “members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent”, and “individuals who because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business will substantially benefit prospectively the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the United States, and whose services in the sciences, arts, professions, or business are sought by an employer in the United States”. Applicants (with the exception of applicants applying for an exemption known as National Interest Waiver) must generally have an approved labor certification, a job offer, and their employer must have filed an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140) with the USCIS.
A Beneficiary’s degree must be from an accredited university in order for the Beneficiary to be considered eligible for a Green Card under EB-2 classification. Evidence such as SEVIS certification or state board approval, which confirm that the university is a legitimate educational institution, is not sufficient to show accreditation for Green Card purposes.
USCIS clarified what is considered to be equivalent to a U.S. Master’s Degree for Employment-Based Category 2. Each petition and its supporting documentation are examined on a case-by-case basis and degree equivalencies are based on the evidence presented with the individual case. However, the below is provided as a general outline:
1. U.S. Master’s Degree – As long as it is in the field required, no additional document is required.
2. Four-year Bachelor’s Degree + two-year Master’s Degree (India) – With degrees in the same or related fields, this will generally be considered the equivalent to a U.S. Master’s Degree and no additional document is required.
3. Three-year Bachelor’s Degree + three-year Master’s Degree (India) – With degrees in the same or related fields, this will generally be equivalent to a U.S. Master’s Degree and no additional document is required.
4. Three-year Bachelor’s Degree + one-year postgraduate diploma + two-year Master’s Degree (India) with degrees in the same or similar field – This would generally be considered the equivalent of a Bachelor’s Degree plus one additional year of education. Therefore, the beneficiary would also need to have five years’ progressive experience. If the postgraduate diploma is determined to be progressive postgraduate education that is a continuation of the three-year Bachelor’s Degree, it is possible that this would be considered the equivalent to a U.S. Master’s Degree and there would be no need to establish five years’ progressive experience.
5. Three-year Bachelor’s Degree + two-year Master’s Degree (India) – Generally, this would be the equivalent of a Bachelor’s Degree + one year and would require five years’ progressive experience to qualify under the 2nd preference (EB-2) category.
6. Three-year Bachelor’s Degree + two-year Master’s Degree (India) + five years’ progressive, post-Master’s Degree experience – Generally, the educational degrees would be determined to be the equivalent of a U.S. Bachelor’s + one year and the beneficiary would meet the statutory requirement.
7. Three-year Bachelor’s Degree + two-year Master’s Degree + one-year postgraduate diploma (India) – Generally, this would be the equivalent of a Bachelor’s Degree + one year and would require five years’ progressive experience to qualify under the 2nd preference category (EB-2). If the postgraduate diploma is determined to be progressive postgraduate education that is a continuation of the three-year Bachelor’s Degree or the two-year Master’s Degree, it is possible that this would be considered the equivalent to a U.S. Master’s Degree, and there would be no need to establish five years’ progressive experience.
The petition must include documentation, such as an official academic record showing that the alien has a U.S. advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree, or an official academic record showing that the alien has a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree and letters from current or former employers showing that the alien has at least five years of progressive post-baccalaureate experience in the specialty. The post-baccalaureate experience should reflect increasing or advancing levels of responsibility and knowledge in the specialty. The profession should be an occupation for which a baccalaureate degree or its foreign equivalent is the minimum requirement for the entry in the field.
Both the EB2A and EB2B visas require an employer sponsor to submit your application. You can submit your own petition for the EB2C visa and can skip this step. However, if you are applying for an EB2A or EB2B visa, your sponsor must fill out a PERM labor certification.
The purpose of the PERM labor certification is to protect US workers and the US job market. You must have an approved PERM labor certification before you can submit any other documents. This is done by submitting Form ETA 9089 to the Department of Labor.
You can avoid the need for PERM labor certification through EB-2 only if you are applying for a National Interest Waiver.
A National Interest Waiver (NIW) petition falls in the employment-based, second-preference (EB-2) immigration category. For most EB-2 applications, petitioners need a permanent job offer and an approved labor certification. However, an NIW requests these requirements be waived for the sake of the “national interest of the United States,” thus allowing an applicant to apply for this status without a labor certification or a job offer from a U.S. employer.
In order to be qualify for an NIW petition, a beneficiary or applicant must have an “advanced degree” or “exceptional ability” in the sciences, arts, or business. The beneficiary must also persuasively demonstrate that his or her proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance; that he or she is well-positioned to advance this endeavor; and that it would therefore be beneficial to the United States to waive the standard requirements of a job offer and labor certification. While each NIW case is adjudicated on its individual merits, the burden of proof is always on the applicant or beneficiary to establish that exemption from labor certification will be in the national interest of the U.S.
Even if the beneficiary has no employer, he or she may file an NIW petition on behalf of him- or herself. Alternatively, a U.S. employer can file an NIW petition on behalf of an alien. Additionally, the beneficiary can file other immigration petitions under appropriate or related categories, such as an EB-1A petition, while an NIW petition is pending.
No, the Department of State does not impose any restrictions on the number of times you may travel in and out of the U.S.
Yes, upon approval of your Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, your spouse and children under 21 years of age may apply for immigrant visas through Adjustment of Status in the U.S. or through consular processing at a U.S. consulate outside the U.S.
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 about six months to process.
If you are required to get a PERM Labor Certification, then that could take anywhere from eight months to two years depending on whether or not your employer is audited after the recruitment process.
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 about six months to 15 calendar days for a fee of $1,440.
If your Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker is denied, you may file Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal along with the required fee at the appropriate USCIS Regional Service Center within 33 days of receiving the denial.
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