EB-2 Visa Classification for Advanced Degrees

The EB-2 visa classification is for those who have advanced degrees and those who have exceptional ability. According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, “you may be eligible for an employment-based, second preference visa if you are a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent, or a foreign national who has exceptional ability.” Additionally, persons who are trying to get a National Interest Waiver will fall into this category.

Eligibility Criteria for the EB-2 Visa

There are three subcategories of eligibility criteria for the EB-2 visa. These are:

  • Possessing an Advanced Degree: Immigrants must apply for a job that requires an advanced degree and must possess that degree. The application must be supported with additional evidence, including an official academic record showing the immigrant has earned their degree.
  • Possessing Exceptional Ability: The immigrant must show exceptional ability in business, science, or the arts. Immigrants must also meet at least three (3) of the Qualification Criteria for Individuals of Exceptional Ability listed below.
  • Possessing a National Interest Waiver: The immigrant must have exceptional ability and prove that employment in the US would greatly benefit the nation. Note that immigrants seeking a national interest waiver can self-petition (requires a labor certification and Form I-140 filed with the USCIS). The immigrant must provide evidence of an advanced labor degree or exceptional ability AND meet all three national interest waiver criteria noted below.

Qualification Criteria for Individuals of Exceptional Ability

Those who want to qualify for an EB-2 visa will need to meet at least three of the following criteria:

  • Letters that document a minimum of 10 years of full-time experience in the applicant’s occupation
  • License or certification to practice in the chosen profession
  • Official academic records to provide that the applicant has a certificate, degree, diploma, or a similar award from a learning institution related to the applicant’s area of exceptional ability
  • Professional association membership(s)
  • Evidence that the applicant can command a salary for services demonstrating an exceptional ability
  • Evidence showing recognition by peers, professional organizations, business organizations, or the government for contributions and achievements in the applicant’s field

Qualification Criteria for National Interest Waivers

  • The proposed endeavor must have both merit and national importance.
  • The immigrant must be well-positioned to advance the endeavor.
  • Waiving the job offer requirements and labor certification must be to the benefit of the United States.

Note that immigrants pursuing a national interest waiver may also request a waiver for the Application for Permanent Employment Certification from the Department of Labor on ETA Form 9089.

Family and the EB-2 Visa

The family members of an immigrant eligible for an EB-2 visa are derivative beneficiaries of the visa. This includes the spouse, as well as children who are under 21 years of age and unmarried.