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The EB-2 visa is one of the most popular visas for foreign citizens, since it opens the path to permanent residence in the United States.

Our experienced New Jersey immigration lawyers have over 10 years advising foreign citizens in the processing of any type of American visa. Contact our firm today by phone, email or by booking an appointment at our offices, located in Ridgewood and Newark.

The EB-2 Visa In Detail In 2024

In this article we will explain in detail everything you need to know about the second preference category of the EB-2 visa. If you are eligible for this visa, you could get a Green Card and become a permanent resident in the US and after a few years, you could even become a US citizen.

What Is The EB-2 Visa In The USA?

It is an immigrant visa for the United States that grants non-US citizens lawful permanent residence based on employment. 

The visa has 3 subcategories of eligibility:

  1. Advanced degree.
  2. Exceptional ability.
  3. National interest waiver.

The “exceptional ability” category is not the same as the “extraordinary ability” that the EB-1 visa requires .

how to get a job in the united states while being illegal

This is an employment-based visa, but if you are undocumented or illegal in the US you may be interested in learning how to get a job while being illegal to help you work your way towards legalization in the country.

EB-2 Visa Benefits

  • You can obtain lawful permanent residence in the US.
  • The process is usually relatively quick.
  • Your spouse and dependent children are eligible to come to the US.

Requirements To Apply For The EB-2 Visa

In most cases, the EB-2 visa requires a job offer for a specific position from a US employer and the PERM labor certificate. If the individual applies for and submits a national interest waiver he may be exempt from these two requirements.

Advanced degree 

  • The job you apply for requires an advanced degree or its foreign equivalent (a baccalaureate or foreign equivalent with more than 5 years of post-baccalaureate, progressive work experience in the field). In addition, you must meet any other requirements detailed in the labor certification.
  • Submit the following documentation:
    • Official academic records showing that you have a US advanced degree, or a foreign equivalent degree.
    • If you do not have them, you may submit an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree. Additionally, you must have letters from your former employers showing at least 5 years of progressive post-baccalaureate work experience in the specialty.
  • If a doctoral degree is customary required, you must have a doctorate from the US or an equivalent foreign doctorate.
us eb-2 visa

Exceptional ability

  • You must be able to show that you have exceptional ability in the arts, business or sciences. Exceptional ability is understood as a degree of expertise significantly above the ordinary encountered in those fields. Likewise, you must comply with any other requirement specified in the labor certification.
  • You must meet at least 3 of the criteria mentioned below in the blog.

National Interest Waiver:

This subcategory is for foreigners who request to waive the labor certification for national interest. For it:

  • Qualifying jobs are not defined by statute, but are generally awarded to individuals in professions that require graduate degrees or have exceptional ability, whose employment in the US benefits the country.
  • Under a national interest waiver, aliens may file Form I-140 , Petition for Alien Worker, with USCIS themselves along with certain portions of the labor certificate.
  • You must meet at least 3 points of the elegibility criteria for the National Interest Waiver.

Eligibility Criteria For The EB-2 Visa

Exceptional ability:

  • You have official academic records evidencing that you hold a degree, certificate, diploma, or similar award from a university, college, school, or other institution related to the field in which you have exceptional ability.
  • Membership of one or more professional associations.
  • You have letters showing that you have at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation.
  • You have a license to practice your profession or a certification of your occupation or profession.
  • Evidence that you have received remuneration or salary for your services that demonstrate your exceptional ability.
  • Being recognized for your achievements and contributions in your field by government entities, professional organizations, businesses or by your colleagues in the profession.
  • Other similar evidence of elegibility will also be accepted.
second preference eb-2 visa in the usa

Waiver for national interest:

  • The proposed endeavor is of national importance and substantial merit.
  • You are well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor.
  • Waiving the requirements of a job offer and labor certification will be to the benefit of the US.

EB-2 visa applications generally must be accompanied by Department of Labor (DOL) approved PERM labor certification on ETA Form 9089. This requirement may be waived through the national interest waiver petition.

For aliens with exceptional ability who demonstrate international recognition, certain nurse practitioners, and physical therapists, the employer may petition USCIS with an uncertified ETA 9089. For further information, visit Volume 6, Part E, Chapter 7 of the USCIS Policy Manual.

How To Get An EB-2 Visa?

To obtain the EB-2 visa, the US employer must file Form I-140 with USCIS. Unless you have qualified under the national interest exemption and are self-petitioning.

The employer must demonstrate its continuing ability to pay you the offered wage as of the priority date. To do this, the employer may use an audited financial statement, tax returns, or annual report.

What Happens After The EB-2 Visa Is Approved?

Once the EB-2 visa is approved by USCIS, the foreigner must wait until the priority date is up to date in order to adjust their status in the US through Form I-485, application for permanent residence registration or adjust status and become a lawful permanent resident.

what is consular processing

If they are abroad, aliens can complete the consular process at the US embassy or consulate in their country of origin.

Can Family Members Of EB-2 Visa Holders Accompany Them?

If the I-140 petition is approved, spouses and children under the age of 21 may be eligible to enter the US under E-21 immigrant status for spouses and E-22 immigrant status for children.

What Is The Cost Of The EB-2 Visa?

The cost of the EB-2 visa is as follows:

  • I-140 petition filing fee: $700.
  • I-480 petition filing fee: Between $750 and $1,140.
  • If applicable, biometric fee: $85.
  • If you are outside the US, you must pay the DS-260 filing fee, which is $230. Additionally, you may be required to pay an $88 supporting affidavit fee.
  • If you request premium processing through Form I-907, the cost of filing would be $2,500.

It is important to clarify that the I-140 petition and all costs related to the PERM Labor Certification must be paid by the US employer. However, the non-US worker or their employer may pay the I-485 petition fee.

The biometric fees and the DS-260 must be paid by the foreign worker.

What Is The EB-2 Visa Processing Time?

The EB-2 visa processing time can take between 7 to 9 months on average. However, this depends on the workload of the officials to process the visas.

Despite this time frame, it is possible to expedite the process through Form I-907, Premium Processing Application to reduce the time frame.

How Can The Attorneys At Curbelo Law Help With The EB-2 Visa?

If you are interested in obtaining the EB-2 visa, you should make sure you hire an immigration attorney who is an expert in these visas. Curbelo Law has extensive experience in helping non-US citizens who wish to apply for an immigrant or non-immigrant visa.

Our lawyer Carolina Curbelo will be with you guiding your steps throughout the process. Call us or schedule a consultation to speak with our attorney.