The second preference category for employment-based immigration includes the Advanced Degree and Exceptional Ability visas.
Under the Advanced Degree category, the intended job must require a U.S. advanced degree (or its foreign equivalent) and the alien must possess such a degree. In the alternative, an alien may be able to satisfy the advanced degree requirement if he or she has a U.S. baccalaureate degree (or foreign equivalent) plus five (5) years of progressive work experience in the field.
It is important to understand that the mere possession of either an advanced degree or a bachelor’s degree plus five years of progressive experience does not mean that the alien automatically qualifies for an Advanced Degree visa. Many other factors are involved, as well as additional requirements from the Department of Labor.
Under this category, the alien must prove a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business. Evidence must include at least three of the following:
- Official academic record showing that the alien 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 the alien’s occupation;
- A license to practice the profession or certification for the profession or occupation;
- Evidence that the alien has commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates exceptional ability;
- The alien’s membership in professional association(s);
- Recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the industry or field by the alien’s peers, government entities, professional or business organizations; and
- Any other comparable evidence of eligibility.
Please keep in mind that the EB-2 Exceptional Ability visa is not the same as the EB-1 Extraordinary Ability visa, which has different requirements and is more difficult to prove.
For both of the above EB-2 visa categories, the alien must be sponsored by a petitioning U.S. employer. Moreover, that U.S. employer must complete the labor certification process. This process must prove two things: (1) there are not sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, qualified and available to accept the job opportunity in the area of intended employment; and (2) employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
In certain limited circumstances, applicants are not required to perform the labor certification process. These include:
- National Interest Waiver applicants
- Certain qualified physical therapists and professional nurses (as defined by the Department of Labor)
- Aliens of Exceptional Ability in the sciences or arts (as defined by the Department of Labor)
- Certain qualified graduates of foreign medical schools.
If you are interested in pursuing an EB-2 visa, it is strongly advised to seek counsel from an immigration attorney experienced in handling these petitions. If you have any questions about EB-2 visas or the employment-based immigration process in general, we at Donati Law would be honored to assist you.