However, the process of obtaining a green card can be complex and overwhelming. One of the pathways to permanent residency in the U.S. is through the EB2 visa.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore what the EB2 visa entails, who is eligible to apply, the criteria for approval, associated fees, processing times, and more.
Table of contents
What is an EB2 Visa?
The EB2 Visa, also known as the EB2 Green Card, is designed for individuals who possess an advanced degree or its equivalent, or those who can demonstrate exceptional ability in their respective fields. It falls under the category of Advanced Degree Permanent Residence or Employment-Based “Exceptional” Ability. This visa offers a viable route to reside in the United States while pursuing employment and supporting oneself or one’s family.
To determine eligibility for the EB2 visa, applicants must meet specific requirements. There are three main routes to qualify for the EB2 visa:
Applicants must hold an advanced degree or its equivalent. This could include a baccalaureate degree accompanied by five years of progressive experience in the relevant field.
Apart from an advanced degree, applicants must demonstrate exceptional ability in fields such as medicine, business, athletics, sciences, or arts. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has set seven criteria, of which the applicant must meet at least three. These criteria include professional licenses, a high salary, recognition in the field, academic records, professional association memberships, letters of recommendation attesting to the beneficiary’s experience, and other comparable evidence.
National Interest Waiver (NIW):
The NIW is an exception to the labor certification requirement. If an applicant’s presence in the U.S. is in the best interest of the country, they may seek a waiver, bypassing the need for a job offer. The NIW cases can be complex, and it is advisable to consult an experienced immigration lawyer when applying through this route.
EB2 Visa Criteria
To be eligible for an EB2 visa, applicants must fulfill the following criteria:
Membership in a professional association.
Possession of a professional license or a profession/occupation certification.
Letters documenting at least ten years of full-time experience in the relevant field.
Official records of academic experiences, such as certificates, diplomas, degrees, or similar credentials from recognized educational institutions.
Proof of receiving a salary or remuneration indicating exceptional ability.
Recognition of achievements or significant contributions by professional or business organizations, peers, or government entities.
Any other evidence demonstrating comparable eligibility.
EB2 Visa National Interest Waiver (NIW) Criteria
For applicants considering the NIW route, the following criteria must be met:
The applicant holds a position that allows them to advance the proposed endeavor.
The proposed endeavor holds substantial merit and importance to the nation.
Waiving the job offer requirement would benefit the United States.
In general, employment-based second preference petitions should include an Application for Permanent Employment Certification from the Department of Labor. However, an NIW petition allows individuals to file Form I-140 on their own behalf. The employer should demonstrate the ability to sustain the offered salary from the priority date onwards.
Family of EB2 Visa Holders
One of the benefits of the EB2 visa is that if an applicant’s I-140 petition is approved, their spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old may apply for U.S. admission under the E-21 and E-22 immigrant status.
EB2 Visa Fees
Navigating the financial aspects of the EB2 visa application is an essential part of the process. Understanding the various fees involved will help you plan your budget and ensure you meet the necessary financial obligations. Here are the key fees associated with the EB2 visa:
I-140 Filing Fee:
The filing fee for Form I-140, which is the Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, is currently set at $700. This fee must be paid by the employer or the applicant, depending on who is filing the petition.
As part of the application process, applicants are required to undergo biometrics collection, which involves fingerprinting and taking a photograph. The biometrics fee is $85 per applicant and helps cover the costs associated with this step.
I-485 Filing Fee:
Form I-485, the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status is used to apply for a green card. The filing fee for the I-485 form varies based on the age of the applicant. For applicants under the age of 14, the fee is $750, while applicants aged 14 to 78 pay $1,140. Applicants aged 79 or older are exempt from this fee.
DS-260 Filing Fee:
If you are applying for an immigrant visa through consular processing, you will need to submit Form DS-260, the Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application. The filing fee for the DS-260 form is $230.
Affidavit of Support Fee:
The Affidavit of Support is a document that demonstrates the financial support provided by a sponsor for the intending immigrant. There is an $88 fee associated with filing this document.
It’s important to note that these fees are subject to change, so it’s recommended to check the official USCIS website or consult with an immigration attorney for the most up-to-date information.
In addition to the above fees, there may be other costs involved in the EB2 visa application process. These can include fees for obtaining supporting documents, translations, and any additional legal or consultation fees if you choose to work with an immigration attorney. It’s crucial to consider these costs when planning your immigration journey.
It’s important to ensure that you have the necessary financial resources to cover these fees and associated expenses. Proper financial planning will help avoid any delays or complications during the application process. Consulting with an immigration attorney or financial advisor can provide valuable guidance on managing the financial aspects of your EB2 visa application.
Remember, investing in your future through the EB2 visa process can open doors to new opportunities and a brighter future in the United States. By understanding and preparing for the required fees, you are taking a significant step forward in your immigration journey.
EB2 Visa Processing Time
The processing time for an EB2 visa application varies for each case. On average, it takes approximately 18 months to complete the process. However, in some cases, the processing time can extend to several years, depending on the applicant’s country of origin.
The EB2 visa provides a favorable pathway to residency in the United States for individuals with advanced degrees or exceptional abilities. While it offers numerous benefits, navigating the application process can be complex.
It is highly recommended to engage the services of an experienced immigration attorney to ensure a smooth and successful application. By gathering the required documents and understanding the eligibility criteria, you can increase your chances of obtaining an EB2 visa and embarking on a new chapter in the United States.