EB-2 Visa Application Process; Applying for EB-2 Advanced Degree and Exceptional Ability
The application process for EB-2 PERM visas includes three main steps that must be done by the employer and the applicant.
- Obtaining a PERM certification (a labor certification).
- Filing Form I-140.
- Attending the EB-2 visa interview and biometrics.
The two first steps are taken by the employer. Below, an overview of the labor certification process is given. Then, we will discuss the other steps in detail.
EB-2 Labor Certification Process
According to US immigration laws, obtaining a PERM is necessary for a US employer to ensure that there is no qualified US worker for the position that is offered to a foreigner.
To prove this, before applying for a PERM certification, the employer must
- get a prevailing wage determination from the Department of Labor. This is to specify what the average salary for that job position in that specific area is. And the employer must offer the same wage or higher for the position.
- conduct recruitment efforts to hire US workers. This process typically involves printing job advertisements in a newspaper and some other channels for a specified period of time.
At this point, if the employer could not find any US worker for the job position, they must prepare a report and documentation to show that they conducted a genuine attempt to hire American workers but they could not find a qualified person. In this report, they should include some details about the recruitment efforts, such as the number of applicants and why they were rejected.
After they gathered all the necessary documents and evidence, they can apply for the permanent labor certification by filing form ETA-9089 with the Department of Labor. For more information about the pre-filing steps and the labor certification process, read ‘General Instructions on How to Obtain a PERM’ and ‘Basic Labor Certification Process’.
This process can be complicated and take about a year. To avoid any more complications, it is highly recommended that an immigration attorney represents or assists the employer through these steps.
Applying for EB-2 Employment-Based Visas; Filing Form I-140
After the employer’s request for the labor certification is approved by the Department of Labor, the employer can apply for the EB-2 advanced degree or EB-2 exceptional ability on behalf of the foreign individual. These non-US citizen individuals might be present in the United States or another country.
To apply, the sponsoring employer has to file Form I-140 with the USCIS only within 180 days after receiving the PERM certification. To find out more about the information needed to fill out the form, read this instruction on filing Form I-140.
Along with the completed form, all the documentation and evidence needed to prove the eligibility of the foreign individual must be sent to the USCIS. Besides, the labor certification and proof that the employer will be able to pay the wage are needed to be mailed to the USCIS. You can find a list of filing addresses here.
By creating an account on the USCIS website, the employer can track the application process.
Consular Processing for EB-2 Visas
In some cases, the USCIS sends a notice to the applicant to attend an interview or a biometrics appointment. All the necessary information needed is provided in the notice, such as the time and place. For those applicants outside the United States, they are directed to contact the US embassy where they can attend.
Typically, the applicants are required to take some documents to the interview, otherwise, their case might not be approved or it might be delayed until they provide the required documents.
At the end of the process, the USCIS informs the applicants about their decision. If your EB-2 visa request is approved, then you can proceed to file for a green card.
Adjustment of Status for EB-2 Visas
Once you receive your EB-2 visa, if you are in the U.S., you can apply for your green card by filing Form I-485. Except for the completed form, some other documents are required, such as travel records, criminal records, a copy of your birth certificate, a report of the medical exam, etc.
If you are residing outside the United States, you can apply for your permanent residency by filing Form DS-260. This also needs some additional documents, like police certificates, criminal records, birth certificate, etc. In addition, there will be a medical exam and an interview.
Note: Before you apply to adjust your status, it is necessary to check the EB-2 visa bulletin to see if there are any green cards available for your category.