EB visas or Green Cards are categories of immigrant visas in the US which relate to employment-based (EB) permanent residency. There are 5 tiers of EB visa: EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-4 and EB-5. In this article we’ll discuss the requirements and benefits of an EB-2 Green Card, but for context we’ll also explain what the top 3 tiers broadly mean.
The EB-1 is the top tier first-preference visa. It applies to applicants who are:
- a) of ‘extraordinary ability’ in business, science, the arts, education or athletics. This is very high level – for example Olympic level athletes or Pulitzer Prize-winning authors.
- b) outstanding professors and researchers
- c) multinational managers or executives
The EB-3 visa is for skilled workers and professionals.
‘Skilled workers’ count as people who have jobs that require a minimum of 2 years’ experience or training, and ‘professionals’ are people whose job requires a degree or equivalent.
What Is An EB-2 Green Card?
An EB-2 is a category of immigrant visa in the US which relates to employment-based (EB) permanent residency and has requirements that sit between those of EB-1 (top-tier) and EB-3 (third tier).
How Do You Qualify For An EB-2 Green Card?
You may be eligible for an EB-2 Green Card if you are in a profession that requires an advanced degree or its equivalent, or if you’re a foreign national with exceptional ability.
According to USCIS, ‘exceptional ability’ refers to a level of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business. Criteria include:
- evidence of a degree, diploma or certificate from an academic institution
- documents to demonstrate at least a decade of full-time experience in your profession
- evidence that you have been paid for services that demonstrate your exceptional ability
- membership of a professional association related to your profession
- recognition or awards form peers, professionals organizations and others in your industry
What Is The EB-2 Visa Processing Time?
The steps involved in the application process are
- Complete form I-140 (the immigrant petition for alien workers)
- Permanent labor certification
- Green Card interview
The time to process your EB-2 application depends on the number of applicants each year. There’s an annual limit of 40,000 and the EB-2 Visa Bulletin gives updates about the number of visas that are available to each country.
Processing time is normally within six months but it can take up to two years to receive permanent labor certification. This can be reduced if your employer is willing to pay for a premium processing service.
What Are The Benefits of An EB-2 Visa?
- You can earn permanent residency in the US with an EB-2 visa. This also means easier travel, stability in your immigration status and school tuition. If your aim is for US citizenship, permanent residency is a good step on that path.
- It is a relatively fast process at an average of 6 months for approval.
- Your spouse and children under 21 years of age are eligible to be admitted to the US under E-21 and E-22 status respectively.
What Is A National Interest Waiver?
A national interest waiver (NIW) is a way of obtaining permanent residence in the US – a Green Card – without an employer as a sponsor.
It acts as a subset of the EB-2 visa. In order to go down this route you’ll need to prove that the work you can offer is of benefit to the US.
It is called a ‘waiver’ because, as we have seen, the normal process for an EB-2 visa involves your employer’s sponsorship. With the national interest waiver, USCIS is essentially saying that the work offered by the applicant is so essential to the US that there is no need to offer it to an American worker.
At USIMPR we work with experts in immigration who have handled numerous cases. Our job is to help you and your family to live, work or start a business in the US.
If you need any support, advice or assistance when it comes to immigration matters, please get in touch with our specialists who will be more than happy to help move your application forward.