Helping Advanced Degree Holders Immigrate to the United States
An advanced degree can open up many doors when it comes to employment. It can make you eligible for a wider variety of positions in your field, including those in management, and it shows that you’ve put in the time and effort to be well-respected in your industry. Having an advanced degree can also open up a path to immigration for those who want to come to the United States to work.
If you believe you meet the requirements for an EB-2 visa, contact the immigration attorneys at Badmus & Associates. We’ll schedule an appointment to help you understand what your potential employer needs to do to sponsor your immigration or whether you can submit a self-petition under the EB-2 National Interest Waiver.
What Is an EB-2 Visa?
An EB-2 visa is an employment-based visa that generally requires that a potential employer be willing to sponsor your immigration. This visa is specifically for those who have an advanced degree or meet the definition of having exceptional ability. Once you have a job offer, the employer fills out a Petition for Alien Worker form. In general, you do need a standing job offer to be able to get an EB-2 visa because of the requirement for the employer to sponsor you. However, there is one exception.
The EB-2 National Interest Waiver allows potential immigrants to fill out self-petitions so that they don’t need the employer sponsor. To do this, you must be able to show that your work is of national interest and that you have a clear plan for your work endeavors.
Who Is the EB-2 Visa For?
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office defines advanced degree as having at least a baccalaureate degree — or the foreign equivalent — and an additional 5 years of “post-baccalaureate, progressive work experience in the field.” In some industries, a doctoral degree is generally required as the accepted standard of advanced degree.
How Do You Prove Exceptional Ability?
If you don’t have an advanced degree but you meet the threshold for exceptional ability in the sciences, business, or arts, you may also be able to use this visa. Proving exceptional ability can be difficult because it is subjective, and what may be exceptional ability in one industry may not be in another. To help potential applicants better understand if this is an option, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has created a list of ways to prove exceptional ability. You must meet at least three of these criteria to be eligible:
- Official transcripts or other documentation showing that you have a degree, certificate, diploma, or other award from an institution of learning — the degree must be related to the area you are claiming exceptional ability in
- Letters from employers that show you have at least 10 years of experience working full time in your chosen career
- A professional license
- Professional association membership — this generally must not be an association you can pay to join
- Professional awards
- Evidence that the compensation you’ve earned in your field indicates that you have exceptional ability
This is a complex area of immigration law, and it’s always a good idea to talk to an attorney about what kind of evidence you need to have and what you can do to increase your chances of getting this visa approved.
How Do You Get a Labor Certification?
Employers who are filing a Petition for Alien Worker on behalf of a foreign national must first be granted a PERM labor certification by the U.S. Department of Labor. The point of this certification is to show that you adequately proved that hiring a foreign worker won’t keep U.S. citizens from being able to get a similar position.
To get a PERM labor certification, you will need to show that the job was made available to U.S. workers through a job posting, the compensation offered is on par with what’s expected in that field, the employer is willing and able to pay the stated compensation, and the job is classified as full time and permanent.
Who Can Come With the Employee on an EB-2 Visa?
The possibility of having to live separately from their families could keep potential employees from being willing to accept a job offer in the United States. However, with the EB-2 visa, the employee’s spouse and any unmarried children who are less than 21 years old are allowed to come with them. The spouse can come to the United States with an E-21 visa, and the children can come with an E-22 visa.
Can Someone Become a Citizen Through an EB-2 Visa?
Yes, the EB-2 visa does offer a path to citizenship. Once the visa petition is approved, the employee can file an application for a Green Card. Assuming that this is also approved, the employee can apply to be a naturalized citizen after 5 years have passed. If they are married to a U.S. citizen, this wait time is cut down to 3 years. There are also other requirements for citizenship, including being continually present in the United States for a specific period of time, being of good moral character, and being able to pass the English and civics tests. However, it’s not required that someone become a U.S. citizen, as the Green Card is permanent.
Whether you’re an employer who wants to bring a foreign national in to work for your institution or you’re considering filling out a self-petition with the National Interest Waiver, the EB-2 visa provides some options. Contact the team at Badmus & Associates at 214-393-4917 to schedule your first appointment and find out how you can benefit from knowledgeable legal representation and counsel during this process.