There are various employment-based visas available for highly skilled foreign nationals. The San Jose immigration attorneys at the Law Office of Alison Yew have helped many non-U.S. citizens qualify for such visas, putting them on the road to permanent residency. If you hold an advanced degree or demonstrate exceptional ability in your chosen field, you may be eligible for an EB-2 visa.
What is an EB-2 visa?
The EB-2 visa, also known as a second preference immigration petition, is a pathway to permanent residency with two (2) categories. The first one is for professionals holding an advanced degree or its equivalent. The second is for individuals who, through their exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, are likely to substantially benefit the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the U.S.
Like other employment-based immigration visas, the EB-2 visa has its own set of stringent requirements for individuals who wish to apply. Through the years, our San Jose EB-2 visa lawyers have successfully represented clients, providing documentation of and proving their eligibility for this classification before the USCIS.
To qualify for an EB-2 visa, the following requirements must be met:
For Advanced Degree Professionals
You must have an advanced degree, beyond a bachelor’s degree, or have a bachelor’s degree plus five years or more of experience in your field of expertise. Additionally, you must have a job offer for a permanent full-time position that requires an advanced degree and possess the degree or its equivalent in education and work experience.
For Exceptional Ability Individuals
“Exceptional ability” means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the science, arts, or business. If you fall under this this sub-category, you must be able to provide evidence of three or more of the following:
- Official academic records showing you have a university degree related to their area of exceptional ability;
- Employment letters or certifications showing you have at least ten years of full-time experience in the occupation for which you are being sought;
- License to practice or certification for the profession or occupation;
- Evidence you have commanded high salary or remuneration for your services;
- Evidence of membership in professional associations; or
- Documentation of your significant contributions and achievements to the field, as well as recognition by peers, governmental entities, or professional or business organizations;
- If the above standards do not readily apply to the occupation, comparable evidence to establish the individual’s eligibility to the extent necessary.
How does one apply for an EB-2 visa?
To obtain an EB-2 visa, you must have a job offer for a permanent full-time position and an approved Labor Certification, unless you hold a National Interest Waiver (NIW). The NIW essentially allows you to apply for an immigration petition without a Labor Certification or job offer.
To start the process, your U.S. employer files a Labor Certification with the U.S. Department of Labor, confirming that they have attempted to recruit U.S. workers for the job opening, but found none who were willing and qualified. The Labor Certification must indicate that the position offered requires the education, training, or experience that you possess. (For details on the labor certification process, please see PERM/ Labor Certification.)
Once the Labor Certification is approved, the employer submits an immigrant visa petition (Form I-140) and other necessary documents to USCIS on your behalf. Depending on the visa preference category, your country of birth, and the fluctuations in visa demand, you may need to wait for an immigrant visa number to become current before you apply to adjust the status (if in the U.S.) or apply for an immigrant visa from a U.S. consulate abroad (called consular processing). In particular, in the EB-2 category, there is generally a wait time for those whose country of birth is China or India.
In such situations, you are assigned a priority date (the date the Labor Certification is filed) and must wait until your priority date is “current” before you can apply for an immigrant visa from abroad or adjustment of status.
If you are married or have children, your spouse and/ or children may accompany you and receive permanent resident status.
Why is a San Jose EB-2 visa attorney needed for the process?
Looking at the list of requirements and knowing you can provide all the necessary documents can make you (or your U.S. employer) feel complacent enough to want to do this on your own. But like all employment-based immigrant visa applications, the process doesn’t simply stop at submitting proofs of evidence.
In evaluating the evidence presented to them, USCIS applies a two-step approach by determining (1) whether objectively you meet the threshold requirements and (2) then whether the evidence submitted is sufficient to demonstrate that you meet the required high level of expertise. An EB-2 visa lawyer in San Jose can help you and your employer prepare all the forms and documents, as well as present the best case before the USCIS, to maximize your chances of obtaining the visa.
If you’re considering applying for an EB-2 visa, the San Jose immigration attorneys at the Law Office of Alison Yew have both the experience and the expertise to help you get where you need to be. Contact us today to receive a free case evaluation or for more information.