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 if you are a foreign national who has exceptional ability.

Employment-based, second-preference petitions must generally be accompanied by an approved individual labor certification from the Department of Labor. To qualify for an EB-2 visa, your employer must file a Petition for Alien Worker with USCIS.


Advanced Degree:

The job you apply for must require an advanced degree and you must possess such a degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years of progressive work experience in the field);

Documentation, such as an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree, or an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree and letters from current or former employers showing that you have at least 5 years of progressive post-baccalaureate work experience in the specialty.

Exceptional Ability:

You must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability “means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business”;

You must meet at least three of the criteria below.

National Interest Waiver:

Aliens seeking a national interest waiver are requesting that the Labor Certification be waived because it is in the interest of the United States. National interest waivers are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the national interest; 

Those seeking a national interest waiver may self-petition (they do not need an employer to sponsor them) and may file their labor certification directly with USCIS along with their Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker;

Applicant must meet at least three of the criteria below and demonstrate that it is in the national interest that you work permanently in the United States.

Criteria of Eligibility:

  • Official academic record showing that applicant 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;
  • Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in particular occupation;
  • A license to practice the profession or certification for the profession or occupation;
  • Evidence that applicant has commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates his/her exceptional ability;
  • Membership in a professional association(s);
  • Recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by the peers, government entities, professional or business organizations;
  • Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable.

Dependents: spouse and children under the age of 21 of EB-2 status holders may be admitted to the United States in E-21 and E-22 immigrant status, respectively. During the process where an applicant and his/her spouse are applying for permanent resident status (status as a green card holder), the spouse is eligible to file for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).