E2 Visa for Persons of Exceptional Ability or Holding Advanced Degrees

Employment Second Preference (E2): Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees and Persons of Exceptional Ability


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 a foreign national who has exceptional ability.

Applicants for the EB-2 green card are categorized as either “Professionals Holding Advanced Degrees” or “Persons of Exceptional Ability.”   You must have a sponsoring employer and your employer must file a Petition for Alien Worker for you.  Employment-based, second-preference petitions must generally be accompanied by an approved individual Labor Certification Application from the Department of Labor.   For more information on Labor Certifications, please read more here.  [LINK TO LCA]

Am I eligible for an EB-2 green card based on my education or abilities?


An EB-2 green card requires that you have a high level of education or specialized and exceptional ability.  A professional holding an advanced degree generally has a degree beyond a baccalaureate degree, or a baccalaureate degree and at least five years progressive experience in the profession.  A person with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business is an individual with exceptional ability whose degree of expertise is significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.  Our experienced U.S. immigration attorneys can provide a FREE consultation to help you assess whether an EB-2 is the right choice for you.  [LINK TO CONTACT JCS]


More detailed information on the occupational categories and requirements is listed below:

EB-2 Based on Master's Degree or Foreign Equivalent

Your employer will need to demonstrate that they need an individual with an advanced degree in the position and that you have that degree. The qualifying degree may be an advanced degree (master's or doctorate) earned in the United States or its foreign equivalent.


EB-2 Based on BS Degree Equivalent Plus 5 Years of Experience

Although you still need a sponsoring employer, you may not need an advanced degree if you have a B.A. or B.S. “followed by at least five years of progressive experience in the specialty” which USCIS considers to be the equivalent to a master’s degree. The “progressive” aspect of the experience means that there must have been progressive increases in the level of responsibility that you exerted, the complexity of the tasks taken on, and the knowledge gained in that position over the course of the five years.


EB-2 Based on Exceptional Ability

EB-2 is also granted to individuals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business, who will substantially benefit the national economy, cultural or educational interests, or welfare of the United States.


What is required of my employer?


To submit an EB-2 application, a job offer is required and the U.S. employer must file an Immigrant petition for Alien Worker, on behalf of the applicant.  The applicant must also have a labor certification approved by the Department of Labor.

Are there any exemptions to the LCA and employer petition?


Applicants may apply for an exemption from the job offer and labor certification if the exemption would be in the national interest.  This waiver is known as a National Interest Waiver.   In this case, the applicant may self-petition by filing the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker along with evidence of the national interest.


Family of EB-2 Visa Holders

Your spouse and children under the age of 18 may be admitted to the United States in E-21 and E-22 immigrant status, respectively. During the process where you and your spouse are applying for permanent resident status (status as a green card holder), your spouse is eligible to file for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

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