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What is Required For EB-2 Preference Category?

College cap and degree

Under U.S. immigration laws, there are employment-based visas available for nonresidents with extraordinary abilities. "Extraordinary abilities" is a very broad category that includes business, the arts, athletics, sciences, and much more. The most commonly used categories are the EB-1 and EB-2 visa categories. The EB-1 is for the most exceptional people, usually requiring an advanced degree (like a Ph.D.) if the extraordinary ability is based on education/research. Importantly, the EB-1 does not require an employer sponsor.

The EB-2 is also for those with extraordinary abilities. However, this preference category is narrower. For example, most EB-2 visas are awarded to academics and scientific researchers. That being said, EB-2 visas are somewhat "easier" to obtain since a Master's level degree (or even a bachelor's level degree) can be sufficient. An EB-2, does require an employment sponsor (unless the applicant can obtain a national interest waiver, as discussed below). Here are the basic requirements for obtaining an EB-2 preference visa.

As noted, for most EB-2 visa applicants, there must be an employer sponsor. That is, generally, there must be a "job offer." And, like other categories of work visas, the employer files a petition on behalf of the applicant. This is a Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers).

As part of the petition, it must be demonstrated that the foreign national has an "advanced degree" OR "exceptional ability." The USCIS defines an "advanced degree" as, at minimum, "a bachelor’s degree plus five years of progressive work experience in the field." To demonstrate the advanced degree requirement, the applicant must provide "acceptable documentation," which includes:

  • An official academic record showing possession of a U.S. advanced degree (or a foreign equivalent degree); or
  • An official academic record showing possession of a U.S. bachelor’s degree (or a foreign equivalent degree) and letters from current or former employers showing at least five years of progressive work experience in your field after the earned bachelor’s degree.

See here.

Alternatively, an EB-2 Petition must demonstrate that the foreign national has "exceptional ability." This is defined as “... a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.” Evaluation of exceptional ability also focuses on whether the applicant's skills "... will greatly benefit the U.S. economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare in the future."

Waiver of "Job Offer" Requirement: National Interest Waiver

As noted, there is a method of having the "job offer" waived. Under these cases, the foreign national files his or her own application for an EB-2 visa. This is generally called the "National Interest Waiver." Again, the applicant can apply on the basis of an advanced degree or the basis of exceptional ability. Some requirements for obtaining this waiver are:

  • The proposed work has “substantial merit” and “national importance”
  • The applicant is “well positioned” to achieve the goals in the proposed work
  • That it would be "beneficial" to the U.S. to waive the normal requirements of a job offer and labor certification

Contact Yekrangi & Associates Today

For more information, contact the Orange County Immigration Attorneys at Yekrangi & Associates today. You are not alone, and we will fight for you. Yekrangi & Associates works to meet a higher standard. Our first goal is your satisfaction. Contact us at (949) 478-4963 to schedule a consultation or complete our convenient “Get Your Consultation” form here. We are located in Irvine, California.


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