US EB2 Visa: Requirements, Processing Time & Priority Date

Employment-based immigrant visas, abbreviated as EBs, help you immigrate to the United States through a US employer who intends to hire you. In this way, you can live and work in the United States permanently. EB visas are divided into five categories, and each category is assigned to a group of people who meet specific requirements.
There are many benefits to getting this visa for you and your family, but keep in mind that 140,000 EB visas are issued each year. This means that not all eligible people can get a visa, and the processing time is a bit long.
In the following, our principal focus is on the US EB2 visa and discuss issues such as requirements of EB2 visa, the application process, costs, priority date, and so on.

 

What are the requirements for an EB2 visa?

Categories Descriptions Evidence
Advanced degree holders Applicants for this category must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree and must have five years of work experience in their field. Evidence, such as an official academic record confirming that you have a US high-level degree or a foreign equivalent qualification, or an official academic record proving that you have a US bachelor’s degree or an equivalent degree and letters from your previous or current employers determining that you have at least five years of work experience in the specialty.
People with exceptional abilities People applying for this category must have a special ability in science, art, or business. The level of ability of these people should be higher than ordinarily found in science, art, or business. You need to meet the requirements specified in the labor certificate as required.
You must meet at least three of the criteria listed below.
National Interest Waiver This group includes those who can prove that working in the United States is in the national interest. The national interest waivers are usually given those who have exceptional abilities or whose employment in the US has a significant impact on national interests. Those looking for a national interest waiver do not need an employer or sponsor. Therefore, they must apply directly to the USCIS for labor certification and submit Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. These individuals must not only provide evidence of advanced degrees and extraordinary ability but must also prove that they can meet the three criteria listed below.

As an EB2 visa applicant, you should consider the following:

  • You must provide an academic degree, diploma, or certificate issued by a college, school, institution, or university relating to your area of outstanding ability.
  • Providing a letter that shows your ten years of full-time experience in your profession is necessary.
  • You need to provide to practice your profession or certification for your profession.
  • You need to show that you have a high income in your previous job position because of your exceptional ability.
  • If you are a member of a professional association, provide related documents.
  • Evidence that you have won recognitions for your achievements and contribution in your field of expertise by your peers, government entities, professional, or business organizations.

Eligibility criteria for National Interest Waiver

Those wishing to apply for a national interest waiver must provide evidence that the applicant’s employment is in the interest of the US government.

Eligibility criteria for the employer

If you, as an employer, intend to hire a foreign employee on an EB2 visa, you should consider the following:

  • You have to prove that you have not been able to find a qualified American employee and therefore have to hire a foreign employee.
  • You must also show that you are in compliance with labor laws in terms of wages and working conditions and that the salary and benefits of a foreign worker will be equal to a US worker in a similar situation.
  • The company must be able to pay the offered salary. In other words, the employer must have financial stability.

If you want to qualify for an EB2 visa, the employer must submit the Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services orUSCIS. You do not need a sponsor or employer if you apply for a National Interest Waiver. Instead, you must file Form I-140 on your own behalf. Your employer must also be able to prove that he/she continuously pay the offered salary. To prove this, the employer can send items such as an annual report, federal income tax return, or audited financial statement.

 

How to apply for a US EB2 visa?

The EB2 visa is a type of employment-based immigrant visa. Therefore, the employer or sponsor must file a petition. If approved, the employer can then begin the visa application process:

Employer actions

1. Submit a petition to the DOL

The employer must first acquire a labor certification issued by the US Department of Labor or DOL. For this purpose, Form ETA 750 must be completed and submitted by the employer. Submitting this form proves that the employer could not find the intended worker among US citizens. Therefore, it is necessary to hire a foreign employee.

The US Department of Labor will take some time to process the application. If the labor certification is issued, the employer can submit its application to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS at the next step. Rejection of the application means that the employer is not allowed to hire a foreign worker.

2. Submit a petition to the USCIS

At this step, the employer must file a petition to the USCIS. Therefore, the employer must first complete Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. Form I-140 must then be submitted to the USCIS with the following documents:

  • Financial statements
  • Audits
  • Tax returns

Submitting these documents proves that the employer can afford to pay the offered salary continuously, and the company is financially stable.

The USCIS evaluates the request and notifies the employer of the result. If the appeal is approved, the file will be sent to the National Visa Center or NVC to be assigned the file number and invoice ID number. This information with instructions on applying for an EB2 visa will be sent to the applicant in his/her home country. However, you should note that the number of EB2 visas issued per year is limited, so this package will only be given to those whose priority date becomes current.

Employee actions

1. Complete Form DS-261

Form DS-260 or Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application is completed by the EB2 visa applicant and processed by the embassy where you are applying for the visa. Visit the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) for access to this form and how to complete it.

2. Perform medical examinations and vaccinations

The NVC package mentioned in the previous section provides information and requirements for medical examinations. At this step, you should see a certified physician to complete some forms and documents.

3. Prepare documents

After NVC has approved your form, you must submit the following documents:

  • A valid passport
  • Employment letter written by the US employer
  • The approved labor certification
  • Confirmation page of DS-261 Form
  • Medical examination documents signed by the authorized physician
  • Two photos
  • Academic degrees and resume
  • A letter written by previous employers
  • If you intend to apply for a National Interest Waiver, you must provide evidence that your work is in the national interest of the US.
  • Other documents

4. Participate in the interview

NVC will first check your documents and schedule an appointment at the embassy if you do not need to submit another document. The interview will be conducted at the US embassy. The consular officer will ask questions about the purpose of your trip to the United States. After the interview, a final decision is made on whether or not to grant a visa.

5. Get the NVC package and go to the US

If your visa application is approved, you will receive a package from NVC. You cannot open this package. Instead, you should take it with you to the United States and give it to the immigration officer. Ultimately, they decide whether you are allowed to enter the United States or not.

 

How much does it cost to get a US EB2 visa?

The employer must pay for application fees to the US Department of Labor and USCIS. Besides, expenses must be paid by the employee. The amount of these costs varies. But it can be said that you or your employer must pay for each of the following:
Costs to be paid by the employer:

  • Apply for a labor certification from the US Department of Labor
  • Filing Form I-140 to the USCIS

Costs to be paid by the employee:

  • Form DS-261 processing
  • Medical examinations
  • Translation of documents into English

 

How long does it take to process documents and issue a visa?

Since a limited number of EB2 visas are issued annually, the processing time for this visa is a bit long. On average, visa applicants have to wait for one to four years to be informed of their application outcome.

 

Can EB2 visa holders bring their family members to the United States?

Yes, as a US EB2 visa holder, you can bring your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to the United States. Your spouse must apply for an E-21 visa and an E-22 visa is for your children.

 

Let’s sum up …

In this blog, we tried to answer the questions that EB2 visa applicants will probably face when applying for a visa. In addition, on the Visa Library website, you can find out about other US visas as well as travel or immigration to other countries. If you have experience in obtaining a visa, share it with other readers and us through the comments section. Conveying your experiences will help other readers make better decisions.
Besides, we look forward to receiving your comments and questions and will respond as soon as possible.