EB-2 Immigrant Visas

EB-2 visas are reserved for applicants in the Advanced Degree and Exceptional Ability categories.

Advanced Degree

Under the EB-2 Advanced Degree category, the applicant must prove that intended job requires a U.S. advanced degree (or its foreign equivalent) and that the applicant possesses such a degree.  Alternatively, the applicant may be able to qualify under the Advanced Degree category by showing he or she has a U.S. baccalaureate degree (or foreign equivalent) plus five years of progressive work experience in the field. 

A critical component to understanding this category: the mere possession of either an advanced degree or a baccalaureate degree plus five years of progressive experience does not necessarily mean that the applicant will automatically qualify for an Advanced Degree visa.  Many other factors and requirements are involved, as well as certain criteria controlled by the Department of Labor.

Exceptional Ability

Under the EB-2 Exceptional Ability category, the alien must prove a degree of expertise "significantly above that ordinarily encountered" in the sciences, arts, or business. Evidence must include at least three of the following:

  • An official academic record showing that the alien has a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to  the area of exceptional ability.
  • Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in the alien’s occupation.
  • A license to practice the profession or certification for the profession or occupation.
  • Evidence that the alien has commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates exceptional ability.
  • The alien’s membership in professional association(s).
  • Recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by the alien’s peers, government entities, professional or business organizations.
  • Any other comparable evidence of eligibility.

Although similarly named, the EB-2 Exceptional Ability visa is different than the EB-1 Extraordinary Ability visa.

Labor Certification requirement

For the EB-2 visa categories, the applicant must be sponsored by a petitioning U.S. employer.  Moreover, that U.S. employer must complete a processed called "labor certification." This process must prove two things:  (1) there are not sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, qualified and available to accept the job opportunity in the area of intended employment; and (2) employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. In certain limited circumstances, applicants are not required to perform the labor certification process. These include:

  • National Interest Waiver applicants
  • Certain qualified physical therapists and professional nurses (as defined by the Department of Labor)
  • Aliens of Exceptional Ability in the sciences or arts (as defined by the Department of Labor)
  • Certain qualified graduates of foreign medical schools.