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EB2- Advanced Degree Professionals

There are three types of EB-2 Visas.

EB-2(A): This category is for foreign nationals professionals with an ‘advanced degrees’ (masters degree or higher) and with a job offer from a U.S. company

EB-2(B): This category is for foreign nationals with ‘exceptional ability’ in the sciences, business or arts and with a job offer from a U.S. company

EB-2(C): This category is for foreign nationals with exceptional ability, or an advanced degree, who can show that their activities will substantially benefit the U.S. national interest

Members of the professions holding advanced degrees or their equivalent

A petition for a foreign professional holding an advanced degree may be filed when the job requires an advanced degree (beyond the baccalaureate) and the alien possesses such a degree or the equivalent. The petition must include documentation, such as an official academic record showing that the alien has a U.S. advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree, or an official academic record showing that the alien has a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree and letters from current or former employers showing that the alien has at least 5 years of progressive post-baccalaureate experience in the specialty.

Exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business

This classification applies to those “who because of their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business will substantially benefit the national economy, cultural, or educational interests or welfare of the United States.” In order to receive this classification, the individual must provide documentation of three of the following:

1. An official academic record showing 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;
2. Letters documenting at least ten years of full-time experience in the occupation being sought;
3. A license to practice the profession or certification for a particular profession or occupation;
4. Evidence that the alien has commanded a salary or other remuneration for services which demonstrates exceptional ability;
5. Membership in professional associations;
6. Recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by peers, government entities, professional or business organizations.

If the above standards do not apply to the petitioner’s occupation, other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable.

National Interest Waiver

The National Interest Waiver (NIW) is for aliens of exceptional ability in sciences, arts or business and advanced degreed professionals (M.A., M.S., M.E., M.D. or Ph.D.). Ph.D. students also qualify. An alien may apply for permanent residence status (Green Card) and seek a waiver of the offer of employment by establishing that his or her admission to permanent residence would be in the national interest.

The national interest waiver is a good option for those who do not wish to wait several years for labor certification or those who do not wish to be tied to a specific employer during labor certification. The national interest waiver applicant sponsors him or herself and is not required to have a job. NIW applicants may make additional green card applications while their NIW petition is pending. Furthermore, if the NIW applicant is employed, the employer will not have knowledge of a pending NIW application.

The National Interest Waiver also applies to physicians. Physicians who agree to work full time in a designated health professional shortage area or in VA hospital and where a federal agency or State department of public health has determined that the physicians work is in the public interest for an aggregate of five years (not including time in J1 visa status) can obtain an NIW green card.

The National Interest Waiver or NIW is part of the second employment-based category (EB-2) for aliens of exceptional ability in sciences, arts or business and advanced degreed professionals. In order to be considered an alien of exceptional ability, the USCIS regulations require that at least three of the following types of evidence be established:

  • 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;
  • Evidence in the form of letters from current or former employers showing that the alien has at least ten years of full-time experience in the occupation for which he or she is sought;
  • A license to practice the profession or certification for a particular profession or occupation;
  • Evidence that the alien has commanded a salary, or other remuneration for services, which demonstrates exceptional ability;
  • Evidence of membership in professional associations;
  • Evidence of recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by peers, governmental entities, or professional or business associations.

Someone who meets three of these requirements or has an advanced degree and has a job offer from a U.S. employer can process a labor certification under the EB-2 category. However, someone who qualifies for the National Interest Waiver is deemed to be of such value to the United States that he/she is neither required to process a labor certification nor have a job offer.