Employers in California and around the country can petition for EB-2 employment-based visas when they wish to hire a foreign job candidate who possesses exceptional skills or an advanced degree. What sets this visa apart from other employment-based visas like the more common H-1B visa is that it provides permanent legal residence in the United States. Foreign individuals with skills in an important area that would benefit the United States can petition for an EB2 visa without a sponsor by seeking a National Interest Waiver.
EB-2 visa paperwork
Processing an EB-2 visa petition can take up to two years even when all of the proper paperwork is provided. The three forms that may be needed to complete the process are:
- Form 9089, which is called Application for Permanent Employment Certification
- Form I-140, which is called Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers
- Form I-485, which is called Application for Adjustment of Status
Form I-485 only has to be completed when a potential EB-2 visa recipient is already living in the United States, and Form 9089 does not have to be completed by petitioners who are seeking a National Interest waiver.
EB-2 visa eligibility
EB-2 visas are only granted to individuals who hold advanced degrees or possess exceptional abilities. The academic requirement is usually met by holding the foreign equivalent of a master’s degree or doctorate, but individuals with bachelor’s degrees may be granted EB-2 visas if they have at least five years of relevant work experience. Exceptional ability is more difficult to define. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services considers ability exceptional when it significantly exceeds the skills usually encountered in American workplaces.
EB-2 visas are sought after because they provide permanent legal residence in the United States, which means holders are not tied to particular jobs or employers. An H-1B visa holder must leave the United States if they lose their job unless their new employer petitions for another H-1B visa on their behalf, but an EB-2 visa holder can change jobs when ever they wish just like a U.S. citizen or green card holder.