What is an EB-2 Visa?

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The Employment-Based Second Preference (EB-2) Visa stands as a gateway to the United States for professionals possessing advanced degrees or exceptional abilities in their fields. It is meticulously crafted to benefit those who demonstrate remarkable expertise and contribute significantly to their professional domains. The EB-2 visa broadly encapsulates two primary categories: individuals holding advanced degrees (Master’s or higher) or those equipped with a Bachelor’s degree and five years of progressive work experience, and the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW), which notably exempts applicants from the conventional Permanent Labor Certification (PERM) requirement. Let’s clarify the intricacies of the EB-2 visa, shedding light on the eligibility criteria, detailed application process, and the various subcategories encompassed within it. Tailored for both seasoned professionals and burgeoning talents, this comprehensive guide serves as a critical tool in unraveling the complexities of the EB-2 visa pathway, providing you with essential insights to navigate your path to fulfilling the American dream.

Who Can Apply for an EB-2 Visa?

The EB-2 visa is designed for individuals who demonstrate exceptional talent in the sciences, arts, or business sectors, or those who hold an advanced educational degree. Eligibility for this visa requires either a Master’s degree or higher, or a Bachelor’s degree complemented by at least five years of progressively responsible work experience in the relevant field. Additionally, the EB-2 visa encompasses the National Interest Waiver (NIW), which allows certain qualified professionals to bypass the standard PERM labor certification process. To qualify as having exceptional ability, candidates must exhibit proficiency significantly above the norm in their respective fields. Eligibility criteria include holding an academic degree or equivalent from a recognized institution, a record of significant contributions and achievements in their area of expertise, and possession of necessary professional licenses or certifications.


Exploring the possibility of an EB-2 Visa? Let Agarwal Law Group guide you through the complexities. Contact us for a consultation and take the first step towards your immigration solution.

Visa Sub-Categories

The EB-2 visa encompasses subcategories that cater to specific professional qualifications and circumstances. These subcategories offer various pathways for eligible individuals to obtain U.S. residency based on their unique skills and contributions.


Related: How To Get a Green Card in the USA Without Marriage


EB-2 Advanced Degree or Bachelor’s and 5 Years

For those applying under the EB-2 Advanced Degree category, it is crucial to provide evidence such as diplomas or official academic records verifying the possession of an advanced degree. If claiming eligibility based on a Bachelor’s degree and five years of progressive work experience, applicants must furnish detailed employment letters and other relevant documents to substantiate their claim. Applicants for the EB-2 visa category must navigate the Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) process, unless they qualify for a national interest waiver.  This involves a series of steps to ensure that the employment of a foreign national does not negatively impact the U.S. labor market by demonstrating that there are no U.S. workers available for the job.  Key aspects of this process include obtaining a prevailing wage determination from the Department of Labor to align the offered wage with industry standards in the specific region.

Additionally, the PERM process includes extensive advertising and recruitment efforts to demonstrate that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the role before proceeding to file the labor certification. PERM advertising and recruitment are critical steps to demonstrate that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the job, involving specific advertising requirements and recruitment efforts. Finally, filing the PERM labor certification with the DOL is a meticulous process, requiring careful documentation and adherence to regulatory criteria, ultimately leading to the crucial step of proving the necessity of hiring a foreign national for the specific role.


Related: The US Naturalization Process: Everything You Need To Know


National Interest Waiver

The National Interest Waiver (NIW), a key component of the EB-2 visa category, offers a unique path for professionals with exceptional abilities or advanced degrees, particularly in STEM fields, to obtain U.S. residency without a job offer or labor certification. Under this waiver, applicants can self-petition using Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, thereby representing themselves in the immigration process. To qualify, they must provide substantial evidence such as advanced degree certificates, proof of exceptional ability, and endorsements from relevant governmental or quasi-governmental entities. The evidence should demonstrate that their work has substantial merit, national importance, and that waiving the job offer would benefit the U.S. The process timeline for NIW varies, depending on individual case specifics and current USCIS processing times. This self-petition option under the NIW not only simplifies the application process but also accelerates the path to U.S. residency for highly skilled professionals.

How to Apply for an EB-2 Visa

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Applying for Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing

Embarking on the journey to U.S. permanent residency via the EB-2 visa involves choosing between two distinct paths: Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing. For those already in the U.S., Adjustment of Status offers a convenient way to transition to permanent residency without leaving American soil. On the flip side, Consular Processing is the go-to option for individuals applying from outside the U.S. This route involves submitting your application through a U.S. consulate in your home country, making it a practical choice for those not currently residing in the United States. Both pathways begin with determining the basis for immigration, such as through family, employment, or special categories, followed by filing the appropriate immigrant petition (Form I-130 for family-based, I-140 for employment-based, or other forms for special categories).


The process involves several steps, including waiting for a decision on the petition and, for Consular Processing, coordination with the National Visa Center (NVC) for visa application fees and documentation. After approval, the applicant either adjusts status in the U.S. or attends an interview at a U.S. consulate. Ultimately, both Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing culminate in the issuance of a green card, symbolizing the individual’s status as a lawful permanent resident. This thorough process is crafted to meet all legal requisites, facilitating a seamless transition to residency in the U.S. while adhering to the established immigration laws.

Choosing the Right Visa for You

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Selecting the appropriate visa option can resemble negotiating a challenging maze, particularly in light of the abundance of options and the nuanced aspects of immigration law in the United States. Going it alone may result in needless complications like application mistakes or misinterpretations of the law. This is where an experienced immigration lawyer’s knowledge and experience come in quite handy. Seeking legal advice from an experienced attorney can have a profound impact. They can offer tailored advice, help you pinpoint the most appropriate visa category for your needs, and steer you through the application process with ease and efficiency, significantly boosting your chances of a successful outcome.


Navigating the intricacies of the EB-2 visa process demands comprehensive understanding and careful planning. This is where Agarwal Law Group shines, offering specialized expertise in U.S. immigration law. Our seasoned team is committed to providing personalized solutions that cater to your unique needs. For professional assistance with your EB-2 visa application, reach out to Agarwal Law Group. Our dedicated attorneys are here to guide you every step of the way, ensuring your path to achieving the American dream is smooth and successful. Don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with us and start your journey with the confidence and clarity you deserve.


Considering an EB-2 Visa for your U.S. immigration journey? Agarwal Law Group offers expert advice tailored to your needs. Reach out to us for a consultation and navigate the process with confidence.

10.0Pratibha Kanive Agarwal
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