The United States has long been a magnet for talented individuals seeking opportunities to contribute their skills and expertise to the country’s growth and development. One of the pathways for highly skilled foreign nationals to obtain a green card is through the EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW).
EB2 (employment-based visa) is allocated to the individual who works in the country and contributes to the benefit of it. After qualifying for EB-2, the individual becomes a permanent resident of the United States.
This specialized category allows individuals to bypass the cumbersome labor certification process and self-petition for permanent residency. In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about the EB-2 NIW, from eligibility requirements to the application process.
What is an EB2 Visa?
The EB-2 visa or employment bases-2 visa is designed for individuals with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities in their respective fields. This category requires a labor certification, which involves a rigorous process of proving that no qualified U.S. worker is available for the position.
However, the National Interest Waiver allows foreign nationals to bypass this requirement if they can demonstrate that their work is in the interest of the United States and would significantly benefit the nation.
There are three categories of EB2 including:
EB-2A (Advanced Degree Professionals)
This subcategory is for foreign nationals who possess a degree of masters, or they can show exceptional ability in their field. Applicants must have completed a master’s degree or higher from an accredited U.S. institution or a foreign equivalent degree. Or else a person should have a bachelor’s degree with five years of professional experience.
EB-2C National Interest Waiver (NIW)
The National Interest Waiver (NIW) allows eligible foreign nationals to bypass the labor certification requirement and self-petition for an EB-2 visa. To qualify for the EB-2 NIW, applicants must demonstrate exceptional ability and that their work is in the national interest of the United States. The NIW is particularly attractive to those whose work directly benefits the country in areas like healthcare, education, scientific research, and national security.
EB-2B Exceptional Ability Workers
This subcategory is designed for foreign nationals who possess exceptional ability in their profession, which sets them apart from others in the same field. Applicants must demonstrate exceptional ability through a combination of skills, experience, and achievements significantly above the ordinary standard in their area.
What are the eligibility criteria for an EB-2 Visa?
To be eligible for an EB-2 visa, applicants must meet specific criteria to establish their qualifications. For Advanced Degree Professionals, evidence of a Master’s degree or higher, a job offer from a U.S. employer, and proof that the job requires an advanced degree are essential.
For those applying under the Exceptional Ability category, showcasing exceptional expertise in their respective field is crucial. This can be demonstrated through accomplishments like patents, professional licenses, or testimonials from renowned experts in the relevant industry.
Advantages of the EB-2 Visa
The EB-2 visa offers numerous advantages to both the applicants and the United States. For the skilled professionals seeking opportunities, it provides a direct path to work and lives in the United States, fostering personal and career growth in a thriving environment.
For the United States, the EB-2 visa program is an avenue to attract some of the brightest talents from around the world. These skilled immigrants contribute to various sectors, including technology, medicine, engineering, and research, thus enriching American industries and bolstering the country’s global competitiveness.
What are the fees for EB-2 Visa?
Form I-140 filing cost
The current filing fee for Form I-140 is typically several hundred dollars. The employer pays this fee or the petitioner on behalf of the applicant.
Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing fee
If the applicant is already in the United States and eligible to adjust status to a permanent resident, they need to pay a filing fee for Form I-485. If the applicant is outside the United States and needs to undergo consular processing, they will need to pay a fee for immigrant visa processing.
Premium Processing (optional)
In some cases, employers may choose to expedite the processing of Form I-140 by opting for premium processing. As of my last update, this option requires an additional fee (over $1,000), and USCIS would adjudicate the petition within 15 calendar days.
The Bottom line
The EB-2 visa opens doors to exceptional opportunities for skilled foreign workers and serves as a stepping stone towards achieving personal and professional excellence in the United States. By welcoming talented individuals from diverse backgrounds, the EB-2 program strengthens the nation’s workforce and facilitates innovation across various industries.
As the world continues to evolve, the EB-2 visa remains a beacon of hope for talented professionals seeking to make their mark on the global stage and contribute to the growth and prosperity of the United States. Aspiring applicants can navigate the process with confidence by understanding the intricacies of this immigration program. They set themselves on a path toward a promising and fulfilling future in the land of opportunities.