Getting an immigrant visa or green card in the United States can be tricky. However, certain professionals and individuals can get the much-desired green card through various Visa options that the U.S. government offers. One such category of people who can avail of this opportunity is foreign nationals with advanced degrees or exceptional expertise in a specific field of study. These people can get an EB2 Visa for permanent residence.
Even if you get the hang of what an EB2 Visa is for, there are many sub-types and requirements to fulfill and evaluate. Contact Florida Immigration Law Counsel to get in touch with an expert. We have years of experience navigating red tape and effectively guiding our clients.
Read on to know what an EB2 Visa is and how you can get one if you’re eligible for it.
What is the EB-2 visa category?
The E.B. 2 Visa is given to people who hold an advanced degree or an equivalent to it or have extraordinary expertise in fields like business, science, arts, medicine, and athletics. The person who fits the bill can acquire a permanent residence or green card without much trouble. It came into power as a part of the new Immigration Act, 1990. There are three subcategories to the EB2 Visa; here are the eligibility requirements of each:
- EB-2A: This is for people holding advanced degrees or a foreign equivalent to them. It has to be a master’s degree, or an equivalent, or a bachelor’s degree, with an employment-based experience of at least five years. Though not every advanced educational degree would qualify under this green card visa. Thus, the individual must first confirm that their qualification meets the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) criteria.
- EB-2B: This is for professionals who have exceptional ability in the fields mentioned above. Here “exceptional” can be defined as performance notably above what is normally expected. For evidence, the applicant must meet 3 out of 7 USCIS criteria. This may include academic record history, license, professional association memberships, extraordinary salary, and more. The individual must be equipped to demonstrate their ability in their field of study.
- EB-2C: This is for the applicants of the National Interest Waiver. In this, the applicant can request the labor certification to be waived off in the larger interests of the United States. To that end, the individual would not require an employer and could self-petition since the labor certificate has been waived off. This Visa has many advantages but also puts the individual under much scrutiny. To ensure things run smoothly, people seeking this Visa are advised to hire a competent immigration attorney.
How can I apply for an EB-2 visa?
The EB-2 makes it mandatory for the petitioners to go through the PERM process, the labor certification process, and the application for the immigrant visa. The PERM process is an interaction between the U.S. employer and the Department of Labor after the former has selected an individual whom they deem fit to be hired based on their qualifications and eligibility. This step will allow the individual to obtain the labor certificate, which implies that there is employment-based work in the U.S. that no one else can perform. The fulfillment of this entire process may take some time, generally around 2 to 4 months. At this point, it will be advisable to hire a competent immigration attorney who knows the ins and outs of the process so everything is done without a hitch.
The second step is the immigrant petition which can take about 6-9 months. While the U.S. employer is usually the one to finish this step, for those who are self-petitioning under the ambit of NIW, the applicant can complete this step.
In the labor certification process, the authorities, specifically the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), will survey the market and ensure that there are no U.S. employees that are qualified for the position. However, the National Interest Waiver is exempted from this process.
The process of applying for an EB-2 Visa varies from type to type. You will be required to gather the following documents to get the ball rolling.
- Proof of full-time employment
- In the case of the National Interest Waiver, proof of the benefit or interest of the country
- Approved labor certification
- Academic transcripts and evidence that proves that you hold an advanced degree
- Letters and recommendations from the employer that proves significant progress has been made in the work experience of the petitioner in the specific field of study.
To begin the process of applying for EB-2 employment and Visa, you need to be employed in a U.S. firm on a full-time basis. You will then be required to file for labor certification and get it approved. Next, fill Form I 140, Petition for Immigrant Worker, and get it approved. The USCIS will then update you on a priority date. It is on this date that you could apply for your immigrant visa or apply for status adjustment. Certain foreign nationals, such as those from India or China, would have to wait longer than the standard period. Though, it would still be less than what you can expect from other kinds of permanent residency visas.
You will then be required to apply for adjustment of status or consular processing, whatever applies to your needs. Those applying for NIW must fill the Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, and provide proof of national interest. On average, it can take about 18 months for you to get your Visa from the day you apply for it. However, this duration can easily increase to years, depending on the country of your birth.
Family Visa for EB-2 Holders
The holders of an EB-2 can get green cards in the United States through two kinds of visas, the E-21, which applies to the spouse of the applicant, and E-22 which applies to their minor children. Once the spouse has triggered the process of requesting a green card in the country, they can also apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which will allow them to work in the United States legally. This is also a prime benefit of the EB-2 Visa; it makes it easier for the applicant’s family to get entry into the country too.
Benefits of EB-2 VIsa
- Permanent legal residency in the U.S.:
The United States green card is a much sought-after status as it comes with an array of benefits. An EB-2 can score you the residency.
- The process of completion is relatively quicker:
While some other kinds of green card Visas can take longer, even years, an EB-2 can be obtained in months, making it relatively quick to get.
- The family will be allowed to enter the U.S.:
The spouse and children of the applicant could not only enter the U.S. but also study and get employment-based work there.
An EB-2 Visa can be obtained easily when the eligible people apply for it. Though the duration of completion may look daunting from afar, when you compare it with the durations of some of the other permanent residency visa processes, you’d understand just how quickly you can get a green card this way. Moreover, there are a plethora of advantages of the EB2 Visa. You can read more about the eligibility criteria of each category under the EB2 Visa from official government websites. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services can offer invaluable insight too, or you can contact Florida Immigration Law Counsel for further direct assistance.