Professionals with advanced degrees or those with exceptional ability may qualify for an EB-2 second preference employment-based immigrant visa to the United States. An immigrant visa allows the holder to obtain a green card to live and work indefinitely in the U.S. Spouses and children may also receive these immigrant visas.
Applicants and employers often find it helpful to work with an experienced EB-2 visa lawyer when applying for a visa or petitioning on behalf of a prospective employee. Immigrant visas are issued in a limited number, so it is essential to establish qualifications to be eligible for the desirable second preference category. A knowledgeable immigration lawyer can assist with a petition or application or investigate to resolve any problems that arise during the process.
The U.S. government is only allowed to issue a certain number of permanent immigrant visas each year, and they are often issued in order of preference. The Department of State updates the visa bulletin every month. There are five preference categories of employment-based (EB) visas. Workers in the first preference categories are those of rare ability and acclaim, such as Olympic medalists and Pulitzer prize winners.
Next in desirability is the second preference employment-based visas issued to individuals with exceptional ability or advanced degrees. Workers may also qualify for this category if their job is eligible for a national interest waiver.
To qualify under this sub-category, an applicant must have a job offer for a position that requires an advanced degree or the equivalent. A bachelor’s degree may qualify if the applicant has at least five years of qualifying work experience in the field.
Therefore, the visa applicant must provide evidence of academic degrees and progressive post-baccalaureate work experience. An EB-2 visa lawyer can help prepare and present evidence to demonstrate that work experience or academic credits meet the requirements.
Applicants seeking to qualify for a second preference employment-based visa on the grounds of exceptional ability in the fields of the arts, sciences, or business will need to show that they can satisfy three of the seven criteria listed by USCIS. These criteria include:
The agency considers someone to have the exceptional ability if they demonstrate “a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.” The same criteria that apply to workers seeking to qualify for an EB-2 visa based on exceptional ability also apply to workers seeing a national interest waiver. In addition, these applicants must demonstrate that an immigrant visa is in the national interest of the U.S. If they prove that employment in the U.S. would be of great benefit to the country, they may not need labor certification or a qualifying job offer.
In most cases, to obtain an employment-based visa, an applicant must have a job offer from an employer who has received certification from the U.S. Department of Labor, showing why it is necessary to hire a foreign worker for the position. These requirements are waived for employees who can show that they have exceptional ability and skills that qualify them for a national interest waiver.
The process of applying for a visa is complex, and applicants need to demonstrate that they satisfy the proper criteria for the visa category and sub-category of eligibility. An EB-2 visa lawyer can assist at any stage in the process. Call today to discuss your options.
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